“Underground” is a visual research project that takes up and engages in such topics as women’s contribution to the Polish mining industry, the process of transitioning away from coal production, and the resulting cultural transformations in the Upper Silesian Coal Basin region in Poland – the largest coal basin in Europe.
By confronting the individual histories and experiences of her protagonists with the structural changes introduced in the region in the wake of Poland’s accession to the European Union to drive development, Abrahamik manages to extract the challenges crucial not only to this industrial region in Europe, connected to the opposing reasons of economic policy and the need to counter climate change, the impending global energy crisis and the necessity to migrate to cleaner/greener energy sources.
As Poland continues to diversify the economy and establish employment alternatives to coal, this project captures the existing architecture of coal mines as objects transformed into cultural infrastructure and foregrounds the formation of contemporary female identity within heavy industry in Poland.
“Underground” is a continuation of Marzena Abrahamik’s earlier projects exploring the postmodern fragmentation of female identity, anchored in historical experience. The project examines how women miners can be represented as subjects, defying the binary system of representation while refusing to focus on their physical abilities.
“Underground” examines the ongoing and complex changes around national and local identity in Poland and examines how women within Silesian heavy industry can re-imagine themselves within a community that may no longer be anchored by the coal mining culture.
curators: Ewa Ciechanowska, Krzysztof Pijarski
artist: Marzena Abrahamik
Curatorial tour: 22.06 17:00