Monika Drożyńska | Latte Capitalizm: Letters as a Source of Resistance

Monika Drożyńska | Latte Capitalizm: Letters as a Source of Resistance

Latte Capitalizm: Letters as a Source of Resistance | Installation ViewPress Release | KoKo Press Release | Calendar

April 13 – May 24, 2024

Opening Reception: Saturday, April 13th, 7-9pm
Artist Talk: Sunday, April 14th, 11am-1pm
Guided Tour: Thursday, April 18th, 6-8pm
*cOM | Limit is the limit: projectarians against lat(t)e capitalizm: Sunday, April 28th, 11am-1pm
Family Sunday: May 19th, 3-5pm
Field Trips: May 13 – 17th

Open Source Gallery is pleased to present Latte Capitalizm: Letters as a Source of Resistance, a project by Monika Drożyńska.

For many years, Drożyńska has used hand embroidery on fabric as historical, political, and social commentary exploring feminist, ecological, economic, and migratory and refugee issues in Europe. Her work deconstructs and expands the boundaries of words and language by creating inter-language bridges between seemingly unconnected grammars.

Drożyńska’s ongoing research is concentrated on migratory movements and the resulting linguistic multiculturalism. Utilizing letters, words, and slogans from various languages including Russian, Polish, and Ukrainian, Drożyńska’s embroideries speak to the politics of identity, memory, power structures, and various forms of resistance. Her works often utilize phonetically similar words that are found in more than one language and banned letters as discursive ornaments, political symbols which stitch cloth into historical-political-mystical essays.

The phrase Latte Capitalizm combines Polish post-war historical orthography with a contemporary Russian pro-war propaganda symbol to transform the term “late capitalism.” Following the Yalta Conference in 1945, the north-eastern parts of modern Poland, which had been German before the war, came under the jurisdiction of the USSR. A rumor spread in the region that Russians would exterminate those with double letters in their surnames, which they considered to be a signifier of aristocracy, so many people removed a letter and later were not permitted to restore it. The “Z” in “Capitalizm” refers to the Z painted on Russian military vehicles involved in the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, which has become a pro-invasion symbol in Russia and has been critically referred to as a “zwaztika” by opponents. The resulting term, Latte Capitalizm, highlights late capitalism’s return to privilege, elitism of the aristocracy, and unethical actions, all hiding behind a pint of soy latte.

For her exhibition at Open Source, Drożyńska has created a series of embroideries that utilize languages such as English, Afrikaans, Georgian, Hebrew, Morse code, and Braille and incorporate iconography taken from sign language, road and evacuation signs, prison tattoos, and constellations. Through this collage of languages and symbols, Drożyńska creates new hybrids of abstract symbolic structures which resist the hierarchies and one-dimensionality that normative language produces.

Monika Drożyńska, b. 1979 Poland is a visual artist, embroiderer, and activist, who is interested in language, which she explores using hand embroidery on fabric. She has pioneered embroidery techniques in contemporary art and textiles in public space. Drożyńska received a PhD from the Academy of Fine Arts Krakow Poland. She has collaborated with the Zachęta National Gallery of Art, the Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, the Contemporary Museum in Wroclaw, Mumok in Vienna, the Ludwig Museum in Budapest, Bozar in Brussels, Sotheby’s in Tel Aviv. She has works in the collection of Bunkier Sztuki, National Museum in Krakow, Mocak Museum of Contemporary Art in Cracow, National Museum in Kiev, Lentos in Austria.