The artwork is an outcome of my reflection on hospitality in the context of contemporary events. It is a reaction to the situation where my truths, rules of conduct and universal values clash with the present-day reality.
I wonder what hospitality means today. I wish that the old proverb “A guest in the house, the God Himself in the house” reminded people how the host may receive the newcomers. Even if we are not religiously inclined, we could find kindness and openness in our hearts. If “proverbs are peoples’ wisdom”, one should bear in mind that “travel broadens the mind”, and, as a result, we sometimes transform from hosts into guests.
I believe that religion is a personal affair, and one’s religious practice is something intimate. For this reason I don’t want the civil servants of the secular state to put the motto “God Honour Homeland” into my passport, around the photograph of my face. I don’t want an official document to be the carrier of a worldview – both due to a forced identification of my image with a specific ideology, and out of respect for the rights of all citizens. Also, because the French Revolution’s slogans are closer to my heart: freedom, equality, fraternity, which, in terms of meaning, converge into the word “solidarity”, in my view.
We are all migrants to a degree. History has severely tried the Polish, and many families can tell a wanderer’s story. Such a reflection can help us perceive people running from poverty and violence in a more emphatetic way, and change our attitude toward all the “others”: minorities, the weak, the ill, the excluded.
Our planet came into being billions years ago and – compared to an average length of human life – the presence of each of us on the Earth seems to be momentary. Saying “our” about the planet is also contradictory to the ecological thought claiming that “we don’t inherit the Earth from our parents, but borrow it from our children”. We are all guests here, and in the context of the approaching climate catastrophe, no one can tell how long our “visit” will last.
For this reason, the intervention in the urban space aims to recall the original meaning of the concept of hospitality and show it in the contemporary context. Through my interference with the word, I want to show that even its small alteration, a pause when pronouncing it, or a space between letters resulting from hesitation, changes its semantics and results in a message of an opposite meaning.
Grzegorz Bibro, MFA, graduated from Faculty of Visual Communication (diploma in Photography) of University of the Arts in Poznań in 2015. He works with his body using it both as a tool and the main theme of his works. Belief is his other area of interest, as well as the relationship between religion and body. He uses new media in his artistic practice – he creates photographs, objects and video art which often bears a relation to performance.
His most recognisable project, realised as performances based on body, focuses on his relationship with his father. The project, developed since 2012, was presented at his solo exhibition at Galeria Klubovna in Brno (CZ) in 2017. The seven years of joint actions were summed up in the self-published artbook “Me and the Father”, which premiered at Ostrov Books during Poznań Art Week 2018. The artist is also known for his neon objects and site-specific light installations relating to the body.
He lives and works in Poznań.