It is unusual for collections’ exhibitions to be a call for action. Called ‘earth-moving’ by the press, ‘US OR CHAOS’, currently on show at BPS22 in Charleroi, Belgium, tests this ground. Largely comprising works from a/political collaborations with acclaimed international artists and works from their historical collection, it looks at citizens subjugated by the state. It exposes the repressive measures currently 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 up from below. Using the example of ‘US OR CHAOS’, this seminar will address the challenges of presenting art as socially relevant and alive.
Becky Haghpanah-Shirwan co-founded a/political in 2013, a non-profit organisation based in London and Maubourguet. Working as Director, she has created an international collection of socio-political art and produced a series of large-scale projects, world-wide. She has curated museum exhibitions and contributed writings and interviews to Elephant Magazine. She graduated from The Courtauld Institute in 2008, completing an MPhil in 2010. Previous positions were held at Sotheby’s with collaborations including Haunch of Venison and Orel Art, London.
Dr Sylwia Serafinowicz is a Curator at a/political and a regular contributor to Artforum magazine. She has curated numerous museum shows, including Wild at Heart (2018), Shikeith: This Was His Body/ His Body Finally His (2017), Ewa Axelrad: Shtamah (2017) and Labor Relations (2016) and collaborated on public programmes and exhibitions with institutions in the UK and abroad. Between 2014 and 2017, she was a Collections Curator at the Wroclaw Contemporary Museum, Poland. She received her PhD in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute in 2015, previously graduating with an MA in History of Art from the University of Warsaw in 2009. She is a member of AICA UK.