On January 2, 2022, Adam Kozicki was arrested by plain-clothes police. While in custody, dangerous and immoral decisions were made by authorities so that his own body could be weaponized against him. The conditions that he was subject to inspired a state of mental and physical instability that lasted long after his detention. As bell hooks reminds us, safety is a relation, and it is also a privilege, one which is often, and callously, denied to those deemed criminal, regardless of culpability or charge.
The works included in Nigdy nie będziesz szła sama (You will never walk alone) were painted in the wake of Kozicki’s arrest. They are depictions of the tyrannical vines that sink runners under our skin, dividing the layers of kinship until we becomes Other. While disorientation and isolation inhibits the ability to resist, testimony is the ammunition by which this stage is inverted and power is reclaimed.
The systems that we live by in Western-oriented, capitalist regimes are essentially always constructed on racist, classist, colonial ideologies. While actually serving only a narrow portion of the population, they are structurally designed to disenfranchise the rest. And because institutional power is not inalienable, it is necessary to break down bonds of community and promote estrangement, because as we well know, fear and confusion aid in maintaining control. While oftentimes these inequities play out from behind institutional walls, a more conspicuous intersection between bodies, the State, and institutional violence, is the domain of public space. While in theory it is unrestricted, in reality it often functions to maintain sovereignty, both through lack of access and the politicization of architecture and objects, like the monument, which tend to be protected more so than the flesh and blood by which they are constructed. But negotiating this presents citizens with a dilemma: opposition poses material risk and silence is complicity. As Paul B. Preciado notes in reference to the excessive defense of parochial monuments, we suffer not from a forgetting of normative history but instead from a systematic erasure of the history of oppression and resistance.
And so it comes as no surprise that when one has experienced institutional transgression and speaks out against such infractions they are made a pariah. Re-criminalized to preserve the imaginary line between wrong and right. The accusation against Kozicki is the consequence of opposition, and has left him with a new relation to his own privilege and mortality. Borrowed from the women’s movement, which most notably adopted this expression in 2020, Nigdy nie będziesz szła sama is a call for solidarity against any number of State-sanctioned human rights violations, from lack of access to abortion to pushbacks at the Belarusian border to generalized excessive force and abuse of power.
We can observe in these works a devastatingly inverted world where the defense of ideology surpasses the protection of bodies. It is a place where compassion is a luxury, a reward reserved only for the deserving, the least offensive of offenders. With only the latitude of one voice, these works are a rumination on collective emancipation from displacement and alienation, a lamentation for those who are made to suffer at the hands of the State.
 Kaba, M. (Guest). (2023, January 18). Being Seen, Episode 28, Safety [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from chrt.fm/track/8BE4CC/traffic.megaphone.fm/HRYC2581508613.mp3?updated=1638884445.
 Preciado, P. B. (2020, November 1). Paul B. Preciado’s year in Review. The online edition of Artforum International Magazine. Retrieved 2023, from www.artforum.com/print/202009/when-statues-fall-84375
You will never walk alone
28.02 – 3.03.2023
Curator: Katie Zazenski