To what extent is art political in the era when politics – understood as a possibility to introduce changes in the existing order – has disappeared from the horizon?

Political art has become a topical issue. So has talking about the “socially engaged”, “critical” or “feminist” art – in galleries and museums different political projects are being reviewed. Declarations of engagement are no longer a reason to be ashamed. Increasingly often they become a magnet for public.

This situation is somehow paradoxical. More and more political art comments the world dubbed as “post-political” – that is the one in which real changes have become increasingly difficult. The world, where – as Chantal Mouffe writes it – the political struggle between Right & Left has been replaced by a technocratic rhetoric of conflict between Right & Wrong. We are not watching the clash of ideas any longer, but rather “competitive” economic models and twin strategies resulting from them.

What role does art have to play in such circumstances? In artists’ declarations and curators’ texts we can read about the power of art and its political ambitions, however theoreticians of democracy writing on the same subject talk rather about powerlessness and stagnation. Because if we were to understand politics as a sphere of intervention in the social order, then the art mostly preserves this order instead of undermining it.

In this situation a truly political art is possible in a perspective of a radical breakup with elitism, the traditional triad curator-artist-audience and dependency upon the institution of power. But are we ready for this?