Current and announcment

‘Underground. Subterra incognita

Since the Industrial Revolution, the modern world has existed thanks to a close relationship with what lies beneath the earth – for several thousand years, and particularly intensively since the late 18th century, we have been exploiting not only its surface, but what hides deep beneath us. Underground, mine shafts and corridors form the hidden foundation of our reality, a foundation that is as real as it is phantasmatic, populated by the bodies of miners, but also of supernatural beings, sometimes friendly, but much more often threatening.

For more than two centuries, the history of the region has been based on a close relationship with the underground. The extraction of coal, as well as iron ore, zinc and lead, and deposits of sand and stone, forced many layers of the underground to become visible, to come to the surface. With this exhibition we want to show the experience of deep time – the experience of the distant past circulating between the knowledge of geologists and the fantasy of miners, especially today, when coal mining is coming to an end, our underground needs to be reconsidered.

With this exhibition, we would like to make the underground a space that is as familiar as it is familiarised – present in the cultural consciousness, but at the same time pushed out of it. Showing in one place various aspects of the underground, especially those related to coal mining, will hopefully help to develop self-reflection on the specific experience of the region, which for many decades has built its identity on its wealth, and today is struggling with the long-term effects of exploitation.

The ‘Underground. Subterra incognita’ exhibition is an important contribution by a consortium of universities to the creation of Katowice as the capital of science. It has been prepared by a united scientific force – the Academy of Fine Arts and the University of Silesia. With this exhibition, we want to initiate a laboratory of the region’s environmental knowledge. This new idea, initiated by the work on changing thinking about the Rawa river, flowing through the centre of Katowice, is to develop into a systematic collaboration between universities on the degradation of the post-industrial region’s environment and ways of saving it. In creating this laboratory, we firmly believe in the healing power of science, culture and art, which can have an intense and inspiring effect on society, politics and its transformation.

Rafał Bujnowski, Arkadiusz Gola, Grzegorz Hańderek, Ludwik Holesz, Iwona Jelonek, Szymon Kobylarz, Bogdan Kosak, Michał Łuczak, Justyna Mędrala, Piotr Muschalik, Dominik Ritszel, Zbigniew Rogalski, Michał Smandek, Erwin Sówka, Paweł Szeibel, Andrzej Tobis, Bogdan Topor, Ireneusz Walczak, Joanna Zdzienicka-Obałek

Curatorial Team
Marta Tomczok, Paweł Tomczok, Paweł Szeibel, Grzegorz Hańderek

Visual Identity
Anna Kopaczewska

The vernissage will begin at 6 pm on 17 February 2023.
The exhibition will run until 26 March 2023.