Family Module, Goshka Macuga
In 1968 the Argentine artist Oscar Bony had a family pose as a ´living sculpture´ on a pedestal. With the performance, entitled La Familia Obrero (the working-class family), the family earned more than their monthly social security benefit. Entirely in the spirit of May ´68, Bony was criticising the double standards of a government which claimed to value the family as the cornerstone of society, yet did nothing to help the working-class poor.
Fifty years later, La Familia Obrero inspired Goshka Macuga to a similar examination. On the basis of a photo of Bony´s performance, she made a monumental sculpture in concrete, floating between figuration and brutalist abstraction. The life-size model for this sculpture was originally produced for an exhibition in Warsaw. In this context, she commented on the efforts of right-wing groups in Macuga´s homeland of Poland to popularise Christian and traditional family values and ban any form of diversity from society.
It is these groups which today govern in Poland and actively attack the right to abortion, members of the LHBTQIAP+ community or critical artists. Family Module protests the erasure of vested human rights in favour of a single model for society: the family. In broad-minded societies the idea of the family has been expanded to embrace many forms of family that are not heteronormative, represented in this image.
In Nieuwpoort the monument receives an extra layer of significance. On the market square a commemorative plaque pays tribute to Jeanne Panne and other women who were accused of witchcraft in the seventeenth century. These were above all women who did not accept the role that the patriarchy had in store for them: that of a good housewife raising children. The image emphasises the permanent threat of a return to an oppressive traditional concept of the family.
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