Editor: Christopher George
Between 22.09.2018 - 06.01.2019 a/political will present US OR CHAOS at BPS22, Charleroi;
an exhibition that spans the entire museum.
US OR CHAOS looks at citizens subjugated by the state. It exposes the repressive measures used to degrade and dehumanise agitators, who reject the rule of law through individual acts of resistance and extreme self-sacrifice. These moments of disobedience become political instruments, exposing the covert apparatus of power. Positioned side-by-side, they warn of chaos – a new radical system rising from beneath.
In 2014, as part of the series ‘We Protect You From Yourselves’ Democracia produced twenty-one portraits of the police photographed during anti-austerity demonstrations in Madrid. As a consequence of Spain’s new legislation internationally known as the ‘gag law’, they were prosecuted under Article 40 of the Organic Law 15/1999 for the Protection of Personal Data. The charges were dropped after months of court appearanc- es. More recently, in 2017 Petr Pavlensky was arrested under ARTICLE 322-6 of the French penal code for his action of setting fire to the Banque de France against the bankers who ‘have taken the place of monarchs’.
Pavlensky remains in solitary confinement in Fleury- Mérogis prison with no trial date. In both cases, tech-niques of intimidation, prosecution and imprisonment expose the state’s disproportionate use of aggression to maintain control.
The social contract between the state and its cit- izens is preserved by a strategy of fear. In an in- terview with Democracia, an anonymous riot policeman threatened, “It’s either us or chaos”. Refusing to comply, Petr Davydtchenko relocated to rural France to live exclusively off animals killed by human neg- ligence on the road. Scavenging off waste - disre- garded carcasses - to retain autonomy, his sustaina- ble existence demonstrates Thoreau’s desire to ‘refuse allegiance to the state, to withdraw and stand aloof from it effectually.’
Largely comprising of works from political collaborations with acclaimed international artists such as David Brognon & Stephanie Rollin, who's works have prolific interpretations of social unease. Along with works from other artists historical collection, the exhibition shows that acts of disobedience have consequences, but are necessary to subvert the balance of power. In Black Flag, Santiago Sierra plants the anarchist flag on the geographic north and south poles. Leaving them in situ, the symbolic gesture reclaims the globe on behalf of the people, shifting power away from the government and into the hands of the active citizens. It speaks of a new world, where chaos presides over order.
Boulevard Solvay 22, 6000 Charleroi, Belgium
Museum opening hours
Tuesday to Sunday 10am – 6pm
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