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Cologne: Janek Simon

November 3, 2018 - December 2, 2018

janek simon

Janek Simon, 1985 © Janek Simon



Poland in the 1980s was a country that colonised itself by gradually and unofficially replacing the Communist ideology with a capitalistic one – while still in the garb of socialism and long before the official economic shift. The exhibition 1985 by JANEK SIMON in kjubh Kunstverein looks at this period as reflected in lifestyle magazines, smuggling routes and computer tech, and thus shows how popular culture in Eastern Europe became a vehicle of ideological change.

The exhibition is at once a pop cultural archive, a collection of everyday items and a presentation of artistic installations and objects. One main focus is on archived issues of the Polish magazine Pan – an erotic magazine for men that was published in the 1980s and 1990s by RSW Ruch, the official publishing house of the Communist party. Embedded among photos of barely clad models and articles on pop music and fashion were reports on Wall Street, information on technical innovations like computers, cash machines or cordless phones, and general praise for the bounty of capitalistic progress. At the same time, the magazine included lengthy interviews with functionaries of the Communist party, in which they presented themselves as the face of the future.

The exhibition 1985 is part of the international research project Perverse Decolonization and takes place in the context of the final symposium of this project.

Janek Simon (* 1977 in Kraków) is a multimedia artist based in Warsaw. Simon’s works are inspired by his travels, science history and the history of political ideas; he also deals with practical and ethical aspects of DIY culture. Janek Simon has been represented in various solo and group exhibitions in Poland as well as internationally.

Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation