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On 3 June at 7 pm the opening gala of The Polish Art Now exhibition at the Satchi Gallery in London, presented by Abbey House, will feature the performance The Dance of Jane McCrea presented by Iza Szostak, Loic Bertrand andJakub Słomkowski. The performance draws inspiration from John Vanderlyn’s 1804 painting The Death of Jane McCrea. Commissioned by diplomat and poet Joel Barlow, who sided with the Patriots during the American Revolutionary War, the painting was a propaganda tool. The circumstances in which Jane McCrea died are still not fully known today: it is even not certain if she was indeed killed by Native Americans or the British. Painters, writers and politicians were quick to turn this instance of the war’s many atrocities into the epitome of British cruelty represented by the vision of natives murdering a white woman. In the vision, Native Americans were used for ideological and political purposes. The Dance of Jane McCreais commentary on how art may become a tool for propaganda and how the significance of an artwork changes depending on the place and circumstances in which it is displayed. In 1804 the painting was exhibited at the Louvre, now it finds its way to the Satchi Gallery in the form of a collage, a concoction of different scenes. The form strips the painting of its original meaning and gives it a new one, which is then deconstructed. In a specific play, a scene may be interpreted as a dance of different, often contradictory, ideas, whose meaning changes depending on the formal solutions used.

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