Markus Öhrn, Karol Radziszewski

Markus Öhrn and Karol Radziszewski present a brutal lesson in a little-known history. "Fag Fighters" they take over the language of hatred for their own use.

Premiere: 07.11.2023 Main Hall Adults only Induction loop Play duration: 2 hours 10 minutes with a break

Markus Öhrn and Karol Radziszewski present a brutal lesson in a little-known history. "Fag Fighters" they take over the language of hatred for their own use.

Premiere: 07.11.2023 Main Hall Adults only Induction loop Play duration: 2 hours 10 minutes with a break

Markus Öhrn and Karol Radziszewski present a brutal lesson in a little-known history. "Fobia" is a convergence of two different artistic practices. Markus Öhrn employs an exaggerated, sharp, almost cartoonish visual language, while Karol Radziszewski employs a research-based and documentary approach, focusing on Poland's non-heteronormative, untold history. The performance, in typical Markus Öhrn fashion, is constructed in three episodes. The "Fag Fighters," a pink gay commando from Radziszewski's ongoing project since 2007, confront members of a family, as well as representatives from the worlds of business and art.

"Fobia" serves as an ironic critique of society. The creators examine the issue of violence and stigmatizing stereotypes surrounding LGBTQ+ individuals, with the "Fag Fighters" they take over the language of hatred for their own use. The creators' critical examination of these three domains: family, business, and culture, serves as a pretext to delve into the exploitation of minority groups, driven by the desire to build their own symbolic capital, amass wealth, or strengthen authority. One of the themes explored is the so-called "pinkwashing," for example, when international corporations, capitalizing on excessive consumerism, promote their brands by simulating support for LGBTQ+ individuals.

So, what is homophobia then? Is it only explicit violence and hatred expressed directly, or could it be a hidden element in integration scenarios written by heteronormative individuals? Markus Öhrn and Karol Radziszewski take us on a rollercoaster ride through stereotypes, apparent tolerance, alleged acceptance, and some of our most deeply held, supposedly righteous beliefs.

Fag Fighters (2007-ongoing)
Fag Fighters are a fictional urban guerrilla unit, a „fag-gang” operating at the margins of mainstream society, marking their territory with graffiti signatures and committing acts of violence, including sexual violence. The Fag Fighters identification mark are their pink balaclavas. From the video Fag Fighters: Prologue we learn that the balaclavas have been made by Karol Radziszewski’s grandmother. Poland’s right wing perceives the gay community as a deadly threat for social order. Radziszewski intercepts and amplifies the stereotype-based conservative discourse and transforms it into an asocial, anarchic, subversive fantasy. He also fabricates evidence of the unit’s activity—graffiti, footprints, amateur pictures taken by the gang members. The border between drama and simulation is blurred; fiction appears disturbingly realistic.

The video Fag Fighters: Prologue can be seen as a bridge spanning the two realities that Radziszewski introduces into the field of his art: the family and the gay subculture. Both of these social spaces belong to the realm of the artist’s private life and yet they seem to be worlds apart; they are two opposite poles of Radziszewski’s identity. And yet the extremities unexpectedly meet in Fag Fighters: Prologue. The video shows the artist’s grandmother making pink balaclavas on an old-fashioned sewing machine. The caps will become an attribute of the Fag Fighters—a squad of gay anarchists invented by Radziszewski.

(from the curatorial text by Stach Szablowski / "I Always Wanted" exhibition catalogue published by CCA Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, 2007)



Concept: Markus Öhrn, Karol Radziszewski
Direction: Markus Öhrn Script: Markus Öhrn, Karol Radziszewski
Set Design/Costumes: Markus Öhrn, Karol Radziszewski
Collaborative Set and Costume Design: Saskia Hellmann
Images: Karol Radziszewski
Music: Michał Pepol, Bartek Wąsik
Masks: Makode Linde
Makeup: Monika Kaleta
Cast: Wojciech Kalarus, Ewelina Pankowska, Piotr Polak, Magdalena Popławska, Jan Sobolewski Stage Manager: Łukasz Jóźków
Assistant Directors: Anna Lewandowska, Angelika Mizińska
Producers: Anna Skała, Angelika Mizińska
Poster Design: Karol Radziszewski
Program Design: Renata Motyka
Translation of poems and songs into English: Marek Kaźmierski
English Text Editing: Dominika Gajewska
Subtitles Preparation and Implementation: Zofia Szymanowska

and  team of Nowy Teatr


Markus Öhrn (b. 1972, Sweden) Markus Öhrn is a Swedish visual artist and theater director lives and works in Stocksbo in Sweden. He graduated from the Masters of Fine Arts programme at Konstfack in Stockholm in 2008. Markus Öhrn works with performance, video and sound installations. He is also a popular mentor for younger artists and teaches at different universities in Europe and in 2018 he was guest professor at the Applied Theater Studies in Giessen. Markus’s trilogy: "Contes d’amour" (2010), "We Love Africa and Africa Loves Us" (2012), and "Bis zum Tod" (2014) works has been presented both in Sweden and internationally in places like Theatertreffen,Wiener Festwochen, Festival d Avignon, Volksbühne-am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Museum of Modern Art, Haus der KUlturen der Welt and at Dramaten in Stockholm where he created the 12 part performance “The Unknown” in 2022.  With “ 3 episodes of life” that premiered at Wiener Festwochen 2019 Markus won the Nestroy Prize. Also „Sonata Widm” (2017) and „3 episodes of family life„ were played at Nowy Teatr (2021). His performances spark controversies and heated discussions about the boundaries of contemporary theater.

Karol Radziszewski (b. 1980, Poland) works with film, photography, painting, installations and creates interdisciplinary projects. His archive-based methodology, crosses multiple cultural, historical, religious, social and gender references. Since 2005 he is publisher and editor-in-chief of DIK Fagazine, and has founded the Queer Archives Institute in 2015.

His work has been presented in institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; New Museum, New York; VideoBrasil, Sao Paulo; Tokyo Photographic Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana; Wroclaw Contemporary Museum and Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz. He has participated in several international biennales including PERFORMA 13, New York; 7th Göteborg Biennial; 4th Prague Biennial and 15th WRO Media Art Biennale.

His films have been screened at the T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival, Wroclaw (2014, 2012); Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival, Warsaw (2019, 2013); BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival (2014) and International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (2011); among others.

In 2021, The Power of Secrets book dedicated to Radziszewski’s archival practice was published by Sternberg Press.



Content warnings: vulgar language, violence, sexual violence, blood

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