Introduction / A/Political
“Have the courage to step out from the crowd and grow tall in the Shit.”
Between 22.09.2018 – 06.01.2019 a/political presented US OR CHAOS at BPS22, Charleroi; an exhibition that spanned the entire museum.
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 appearances. 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’. At the time of writing, Pavlensky remains in solitary confinement in Fleury-Mérogis prison with no trial date. In both cases, techniques of intimidation, prosecution and imprisonment expose the state’s disproportionate use of aggression to maintain control.
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.
Largely comprising of works from a/political collaborations with acclaimed international artists and works from their historical collection, the exhibition shows that acts of disobedience have consequences, but are necessary to subvert the balance of power.