Saturday, 14 May 2011

Week one of residency

So it’s been a busy time for Post Industrial Revolution.  Roma and I embarked on the first of two-scheduled trips to Poland last week, initiating the second part of the project. We set off a little under the weather but powered through.  After a day of re -familiarising myself with Wyspa, Modelarnia and the shipyard,  as well as discussing practicalities with Marta and Roma we were good to go.

Two of the four British artists, Aliceson and Matt arrived bright and early Friday morning.  We then embarked on a busy day, dropping off artists baggage at the accommodation, beach frolics, and a spot of lunch followed by a trip to Wyspa.

                                                        Monument at Westerplatte

The following day we got all touristy and jumped aboard a ferry to Westerplatte, historically significant as the location were Germany invaded Poland on 1st September 1939, initiating the Second World War.  We visited a monument dedicated to the 182 Polish Solders who lost their lives defending the city, keeping the Nazi’s at bay for a staggering 7 days.   The ferry trip offered fantastic views of the shipyard from the water showing just how vast the Gdansk shipyard really is.  The afternoon was spent exploring the shipyard on foot, the highlight being Aliceson’s discovery of a huge polystyrene cube!  We are hoping to borrow or possibility rent this object for the exhibition.  After talking to Marta I discovered that scrap or discarded object in the shipyard can be borrowed or rented rather then taken.  I rather like this idea of loaning found materials.  Different parts of the shipyard are owned by different companies or individuals, so it’s just a case of finding out who owns the polystyrene.  The day was rounded of with dinner, an opportunity for the artists to meet different members of the Wyspa team and indulge in some tasty polish delicacies.

                                           Matt and Aliceson surveying the cube

                                                        Exploring the shipyard

Sunday involved an epic journey to a town called Puck to witness 400km, a project in which camper vans filled with artists and art visit small towns in the surrounding area of Gdansk.  We went part of the way by train and the remainder packed into one of the artist's camper vans.  Unfortunately upon arriving at our destination we were engulfed by a plague of mosquitoes! It was almost biblical.  The event was cancelled but we took it as an opportunity to explore the town.  We then stopped off for a beer in Gdynia, the second largest city making up the try cites of Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot.

                                          Louie and Jesse explore the shipyard

Monday marked the arrival of the artist duo Louie and Jesse. Their first day in Gdansk followed a similar formula to that of Matt and Aliceson's, the difference being we had the opportunity to explore the residency studio space within Wyspa and store room facilities.   This is where I came across our old friend Lech Walesa, this model of him was installed in Wyspa's gallery space during my last trip to the shipyard a year previously.


After a trip to Modelarnia and more exploring we bid farewell  to our artists.  We will be returning to Gdansk in two weeks time to see how they're getting on.

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