Political tensions simmer behind Poland’s Venice Biennale entry

Painter replaced as country’s representative by centrist coalition is showing his work under the banner ‘Polonia Uncensored’

In a world beset by culture wars – not to mention full-scale wars – it is no surprise that political tensions seethe beneath the surface of the Venice Biennale, a global art event.

Take Poland. Its national pavilion this year hosts work by a collective, Open Group, from neighbouring Ukraine. But the artists were a last-minute replacements for a painter, Ignacy Czwartos, who was selected to represent his country under Poland’s previous, right-wing government – and then deselected in December by the incoming centrist coalition.