Orange Alternative  

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"During the 1980s, behind the Iron Curtain, Surrealism entered Polish politics with an underground artistic opposition movement known as the Orange Alternative. The Orange Alternative was created in 1981 by Waldemar Fydrych (alias 'Major'), a graduate of history and art history at the University of Wrocław. They used Surrealist symbolism and terminology in their large scale happenings organized in the major Polish cities during the Jaruzelski regime, and painted Surrealist graffiti on spots covering up anti-regime slogans. Major himself was the author of a "Manifesto of Socialist Surrealism". In this manifesto, he stated that the socialist (communist) system had become so Surrealistic that it could be seen as an expression of art itself." --Sholem Stein

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Orange Alternative (Pomarańczowa Alternatywa) is a name for an Polish underground protest movement which was started and led by Waldemar Fydrych (sometimes misspelled as Frydrych), then commonly known as Major (Commander of the Festung Breslau), in Wrocław in 1983. Its main purpose was to protest peacefull by using elements of the absurd and nonsensical. By doing this, Orange Alternative participants could not be arrested by the police for opposition to the communist regime. It organized happenings and painted ridiculous graffiti on walls. It was the most picturesque element of Polish opposition against communism. Among other things they organized happenings which demanded "Freedom for Santa Claus" and painted big orange smiling dwarfs on buildings. It suspended activity in 1989, but reactivated in 2001 to organize the action Vote for dwarfs: Only dwarfs can save the country!.

Some utterances ascribed to Waldemar Fydrych:

In Poland there are only three places when you can feel free: In churches, but only for the meditations, in prisons, but not everyone can go to prison, and on the streets: they are the freest places.
The Western World will find out much more about the situation in Poland from hearing that I was put to jail for giving tampons to a woman, than from reading the books and articles written by other people from the opposition.
Can you treat a police officer seriously, when he is asking you the question: "Why did you participate in an illegal meeting of dwarfs?"

Orange Alternative movement may also have inspired and influenced the Pora and the so called Orange Revolution movement in Ukraine, which was in turn supported by Poland.

Major Fydrych and a group of students participated in the Orange Revolution through happenings in Poland and Ukraine.

See also

Poland, Polish avant-garde , Polish counterculture




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Orange Alternative" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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