Peter Johansson. Diagnosis: Patriotism and Nationalism
Meet the artist session

Zachęta / multimedia room (entrance from Burschego street)
free entry



The seesion is held on the occasion of the exhibition of Peter Johansson, one of the best known Swedish artists. For 30 years he has been dealing in his work with issues of national identity and nationalism. Creating sculptures, objects, photographs, installations and performative projects he deconstructs clichés, often using strategies of provocation and expressive post-modernist aesthetics on the borderline of good taste, but usually full of humour.

The ‘national therapy’ he recommends, pertains to all of us. Specialists representing various domains of humanities will discuss how the concepts of national identity and nationalism arose, what histories stand behind them and why certain images have become symbols of particular countries. They speakers include: philosophers Andrzej Leder and Katarzyna Kasia, art historian Morgan Labar, curator of Peter Johansson’s exhibition at the Swedish Institute in Paris Marion Alluchon, curator of the exhibition at the Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko Eulalia Domanowska, and the artist himself.


1. Marion Alluchon – Thérapie nationale, or the different images of Sweden

Marion Alluchon is an art historian specialized in modern and contemporary art, author of a PhD concerning the recognition of naïve art in France and in the United States (1886-1948). She also is a project leader at the Institut Suédois in Paris since 2009 and is specially in charge of contemporary art, design, craft and fashion. She curated "Thérapie nationale", a season devoted to the different images of Sweden.

2. Andrzej Leder – Some Remarks on the Polish Nationalism

Andrzej Leder, philosopher, born in 1960, habilitated doctor, professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology Polish Academy of Sciences, also practices psychotherapy. He published philosophical treatise Nauka Freuda w epoce ‘Sein und Zeit’, the work on the Polish history Prześniona rewolucja, ćwiczenie z logiki historycznej, dissertations about philosophical ideas in the 20th century Europe: Rysa na tafli. Teoria w polu psychoanalitycznym, and Był kiedyś postmodernism, as well as in English The Changing Guise of Myths and in German Wachtraum. Die Revolution 1939-1956 und Ihre Folge. He lectures at the School for Social Research IFiS PAN. He lives in Warsaw.

3. Morgan Labar – Peter Johansson. Politics of the Sausage

Morgan Labar is a Paris-based art historian. A former "élève" from the École normale supérieure, he holds a PhD from the Sorbonne and is a specialist of contemporary art, the history of laughter and comic artistic practices. He regularly publishes in academia (Ridiculosa, Histoire de l’art, Sociétés & Représentations) as well as art criticism journals (Art press). He has been invited to present lectures in venues such as the National Fine Arts Academy in Paris (Ensba), UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal) or University of Southern California (Los Angeles). He has lived in New York, where he taught French at Columbia University, Berlin and in New Caledonia. Morgan Labar has been Terra Foundation for American Art Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art (INHA) and currently holds a teaching position at the École normale supérieure in Paris. His forthcoming book-length study examines stupidity as an artistic practice since the 1980s and will come out at the Presses du réel in 2021.

4. Eulalia Domanowska and Katarzyna Kasia talk to Peter Johansson

Eulalia Domanowska – art historian, critic of art, curator of over 100 exhibitions in Poland and Europe, academic lecturer, from 2016 to 2019 director of the Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko. Member of organizations AICA and IKT (Association of Curators of Contemporary Art). Chief editor of the Sculpture Quarterly ’Orońsko’ in the years 2016-2019. Initiator and organizer of the international conference ’Sculpture Today’ since 2016. 2001-2006 studies in the scope of Swedish language, Swedish art, museology, ethnology and gender studies at the University in Umea in Sweden. At present, art specialist at the University of Technology in Białystok. Her interests involve modern and contemporary art, art in the public space, art in landscape and sculpture parks.

Katarzyna Kasia: philosopher, graduate of the Faculty of Philosophy and Sociology, Warsaw University, holder of stipend of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Italy and the Kościuszko Foundation, visiting scholar at Princeton University. Lecturer of the Faculty of Management of Visual Culture, Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Author of works in the field of aesthetics Rzemiosło formowania. Luigiego Pareysona estetyka formatywności, translator of texts by Italian philosophers (Pareyson, Vattimo, etc.).

Peter Johansson is one of the most recognizable and acclaimed Swedish artists. He studied among others at the prestigious academies in Stockholm Konstfack (University of Applied Arts and Design and Royal Academy of Fine Arts). Since 1993 he has been practicing sculpture, installation, design, performance art and theatre, as well as made projects in the public space. His individual exhibitions have been shown in the best art centres in Scandinavia and the world, e.g. at Moderna Museet and Kulturhuset in Stockholm, Wewerka Pavilion in Münster (Germany), Cable Project in Helsinki, Kunsthall in Lund, Kunstmuseum Malmö, Watari Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, Kunstsenter in Bergen (Norway); he has taken part in several hundred group exhibitions, inter alia Rauma Biennale 1998, Stenersenmuseet in Oslo, National Gallery in Bangkok or Biennale of Art in Argentina.

Since 2004 he has been collaborating with Barbro Westling, a Swedish set designer. For several years this artistic duo have been designing the famous arrangements for the Book Fair in Göteborg. Born in central Sweden, the artist refers to folk art and his country’s identity, creating contemporary projects of universal significance. With visionary power, he combines various ideas, materials and their functions. He published a series of books documenting his projects examining the concept of ‘folk character’ used in the context of everyday life, especially in the Dalarna region. Dala horses, sausage from Falun, flowery ornaments, folk costumes but also the culture of sauna or sacred architecture are the key motifs of his art. Peter Johansson wittily analyzes architectural, decorative and cultural  forms revealing their ideological social constructions. The author often collaborates with other specialists, performing the role of project leader. Speaking about the transformation of Scandinavian society, the artist studies the issue of identity, national romanticism form the turn of the centuries and the impact of modernism on these transformations. The slogan of Italian conceptual artist, Giuseppe Chiari – ‘art is simple’ – could characterize Peter Johansson’s work, whose work displays a great sense of humour and self-ridicule.

Co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage
The event is organized by Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko
The event is co-organized by Zachęta – National Gallery of Art

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