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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » July 4, 2014
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Art Versus Consumption
July 4, 2014   
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The Slow Future exhibition at the Ujazdowski Castle Center for Contemporary Art explores whether anti-capitalist movements can inspire artists and focuses on the relationship between art and ecology, recycling and minimalism.

Slow Future is a follow-up to the Emergency Pavilion. Rebuilding Utopia exhibition that was on show at the recent Venice Biennale. The new exhibition focuses on so-called degrowth, a political, economic and social movement proposing that the paradigm of economic growth should be replaced with a focus on pursuing an optimal quality of life within the natural limitations of the environment. Advocates of degrowth, sometimes referred to as degrowthists, question the overarching importance attributed to material goods and encourage alternative models of trade such as bartering, cooperatives, co-ownership and community exchange. Supporters of degrowth argue that excessive consumption lies at the root of long-term social inequalities and causes irreversible environmental damage.

Degrowthists claim that downscaled consumption will not necessarily lead to sacrifices and lower living standards, arguing that society needs to make more extensive use of alternative resource management methods, for example by recycling, promoting environmentally friendly transportation and converting vacant buildings into apartments. They also believe local organizations should have their say in decisions concerning public space. Such ideas tend to gain popularity during times of economic crisis and inspire artists around the world.

Almost 20 artists are featured in the Slow Future exhibition, with only one artist from Poland, Aleksandra Wasilkowska. The exhibition is curated by Jota Castro, an artist and activist born in Lima, Peru, in 1965. In the 1990s, Castro quit his job as an EU and UN diplomat to become a full-time artist. In his work he exposes the mechanisms that govern contemporary consumerism, exploring social affairs in the context of sustainable development and alternative models of trade. Castro has been the curator of a number of other exhibitions, including Fear Society/Pabellón de la Urgencia (2009) and the aforementioned Emergency Pavilion. Rebuilding Utopia (2013) at the Venice Biennale. He lives and works in Brussels and Dublin.

Until Sept. 14
Ujazdowski Castle Center for Contemporary Art
2 Jazdów St., Warsaw
www.csw.art.pl; www.facebook.com/cswzu
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