Aleka Polis: Cleaning (for) Democracy

The text refers to Aleka Polis’ artistic action titled Rosa Rotes Städtchen, carried out in Polish public galleries since January 2016 and consisting of cleaning the galleries. Remaining after each action are the rags used to clean the floor, stamped and signed by the gallery directors, providing a visible sign of work which usually remains invisible. The author describes the artist’s action in the context of similar activities in the history of feminist art, and then analyzes them in the context of their sexual, social, institutional and political connotations. This leads to the raising of such issues as poverty among women and the invisibility of women’s work. In the conclusion, a question is raised about the significance of this event in the context of the contemporary political situation in Poland.