Poland North to South. Part 1

‘Vodka Train’

So here I am is Gdansk – part of northern Poland’s industrial tri-city. Place where some of the raddest outdoor art has been created. Where also the Second World War started in 1939 and where the first independent trade union called Solidarnosc (Solidarity) gave kick start to abolishing communism in this part of the world. In the centre of everything was the Gdansk Shipyard and now only what’s left of it. Formerly one of the biggest industrial sites this type in Europe is now a massive cemetery of deteriorating factories and a ghost town of rusty cranes. It’s also a colony for creative talents and a secret rendezvous spot for artists.

gdansk-shipyard-001

Gdansk Shipyard

More of Gdansk Shipyard

More of Gdansk Shipyard

A building of a former factory training centre is now the home to Wyspa (The Island) Art Institute. It’s an initiative run by Grzegorz Klaman. On Friday 4 June 2010 the artist presented some of his works to the sounds of Gypsy Pill – a DJ and performance collective that will make you pull your eyelids over your forehead. These guys really complimented the art show and entertained the crowd like they’d done it before. The space itself is quite unique. Peeling off wall paint and faded rectangles where blackboards used to hang remind that this once was a school. It’s not just about some beers and wine while you check out the show. They had a proper bar with food there (weird food). The party lasted the whole night!!!

Gipsy Pill

Gipsy Pill

Hot chick is eating fish jelly in the busy bar

Hot chick is eating fish jelly in the busy bar

Now, the exhibition was decent although initially I didn’t get this impression. The feeling had to sink in. Overall this vernissage – as they often refer to show opening nights here – was far beyond my expectations. They really want make things big here. It’s not just about some free drinks and music. It’s to do with creating an atmosphere where the art scene can mingle. Well alright, it is pretty much about getting insanely pissed on vodka and quality beer too but you get my vibe, eh?

Political Things exhibition by Grzegorz Kleman

Political Things exhibition by Grzegorz Klaman

Let’s go back to the rock. M-city, who was my main contact here, took a good care of me showing some awesome pieces around the area. Rail track between Gdansk and Gdynia is a heavily bombed wallspace that stretches the finest graff for miles. Roughly halfway between Sopot and Gdynia is the legendary Online shop supplying cans, mags and fashion. What’s really different about it is that’s located in an old railway building (looks like a former train station). Whole trains run around here quite frequently although not as much as they used to.

On-Line Shop

On-Line Shop

 tuse + us, railway line, Wrzeszcz

tuse + us, railway line, Wrzeszcz

Zaspa is a district of Gdansk where people reside in grey blocks of flats. Rather sad and boring reminder of the communist past and poor design decisions. Some folks from the local Fine Arts Academy came up with an idea to turn the place into a massive mural space. There are insanely rad pieces here my favourite being m-city’s Blimp and A Devil by Ozmo. Piotr Szwabe’s Walesa Portrait isn’t too bad either. There are some really bad ones too. I’m not showing those as you brain could start leaking slowly through the ears.

m-city

m-city

Ozmo

Ozmo

Piotr Szwabe

Piotr Szwabe

Now, watch this space as I’ve interviewed m-city talking about his art in front of a camera. We will be printing the extended version in the next edition of VNA.

I’m now sitting on a train to Cracow. It’s an 8 hour ride. It’s packed as fuck. No seats available but 3 girls who I’m sharing the corridor floor with are cracking open a bottle of vodka. Couldn’t expect less of this journey. Let’s see what happens in Cracow.

Read Part 2 on Cracow here and Part 3 on Warsaw here