Hall 90B,Gdansk shipyard, Poland
Gdansk shipyard is important in both Polish and European history. This is where the labour organisation Solidarity was formed in 1980, which added the first important blow to the communist system. In 2000 the shipyard went bankrupt, several buildings were torn down. The area is now waiting for some major museum buildings to be built. But some activity remain. Some ships are still repaired, some workshops are running, security guards drive around in the large area, and there is a very interesting art institution, the Wyspa Institute of Art.
The exhibition "Alternativa" consist of two parts: "Estrangement" is arranged in the Wyspa building. The "Labour&Leisure" exhibition is the inauguration of a new exhibition space in a large hall.
Jadwiga Sawicka - Pray
In the entrance staircase to Hall 90B, this giant rosary chain with flashing beads saying "pray" in Polish, is what welcomes you to the exhibition.
Zbigniew Kosycarz - Employees of the Gdansk Shipyard looking at the Solar Eclipse
The key piece of the exhibition. In this photo from 1966 I see people on the border between labour and leisure. These are workers taking some time off to see the solar eclipse. In their working clothes and using welding glass for protecting the eyes, they are spending their working time at private doings for a short moment.
Mariusz Waras - Transformer
The main attraction in the large hall. A giant transformer robot is resting. On a video screen beside it there is an animation of a ship entering Gdansk shipyard, transforming itself into a robot, and breaking its way into the building, where it takes a rest. Massive, impressive and puzzling. The proud ship industry of Gdansk is now in hibernation.
You may have seen some of Waras' fantastic murals from his m-city project. A closer look at the installation here.
Dominika Skutnik - Chrysalis
A beautiful ribbon sculpture lit by the changing sunset rays through the windows.
Hiwa K - Gdansk/shipyard
A video and a photo of Hiwa K balancing a long pole, navigating by the mirrors mounted on the pole, through Gdansk shipyard.
cubicles by Anna Reinert
The majority of the artworks are videos. Many were shown in cubicles like this.
Ines Moreira - petit CABANON
A movable sculpture, a building made of cardboard boxes.
Grzegorz Klaman - Worker-Nobody
From old wardrobe lockers from the shipyard, the former workers tell their stories. A very beautiful and respectful piece of art
Pilvi Takala - The Trainee
The artist started as a trainee in a large firm, but spent each day at different spots, the library, the elevator, just standing there, staring into the air. The employers start getting nervous about this strange woman, sending emails to her boss asking if she could be removed.
Julita Wojcik - Idyll
A woman in communist time clothes is relaxing in the grass in front of an abandoned factory complex.
Joanna Malinowska - In Practice
The installation show videos of different types of homework that different people did for the artist in exchange for academic services like lessons in philosophy.
The opening also contained a performance concert by Anna Szwajgier, Worka Wollny and former workers of the shipyard. The typical working environment was turned into rythm and moods. Hammers, footsteps, whistling and welding machines turned into percussion. A worthy opening of the new exhibition space, linking the past to the future.
I am impressed by the scope, the size and the professional level of these exhibitions curated by Aneta Szylak & Hiwa K. It is a fantastic surprise to find this in an abandoned shipyard. Gdansk is a candidate of becoming European Cultural Capital in 2016, and this event is one of many showing the potential of Gdansk. The giant murals of Monumental Art is another event. This shows that Gdansk is a strong candidate, and I look forward to visiting the city as cultural capital in 2016.