IMMERSEMENT – artistic installation by Justyna Wencel and Marcin Chomicki

In recent weeks, a new artistic installation appeared in the Lower Town, which brought some colour into the life of the inhabitants. Immersement by Justyna Wencel and Marcin Chomicki was created on a bridge which joins two districts of Gdańsk: Lower Town and Olszynka, near Krystian “Truth” Czaplicki’s sculpture placed in the waters of Opływ Motławy in mid-July.

Strips of foil in warm and cool shades were manually cut and glued to the railings of the bridge, creating the impression of being immersed in colours. The work was welcomed by the inhabitants of the area near the Gdańsk bastions who treat the new bridge as a gift and feel responsible for it, making sure that no-one damages the installation. Immersement can be seen from 28 July until the end of 2014.

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The bridge is an important route of communication for pedestrians, cyclists, fishermen, fans of Nordic walking, dog owners, joggers and families with children heading to the nearby playground. The painterly, land-art intervention transforms the crossing into a moving picture, influencing the vast space surrounding the bridge and redefining the viewer’s gaze. The work is characterised by change and movement. Depending on the light, manner and speed of moving across the bridge, the colour impressions of the viewer change, and he becomes the main protagonist of the installation, becoming immersed in the moving picture. So, to quote Oskar Hansen, the crossing becomes a background than brings out the human being.

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The directions of passing the bridge were given separate colour schemes: warm and cool. The colours of the railings shimmer, opalesce, intertwine and overlap with each other, creating the individual visual experience of each user. The Immersement installation is the first intervention executed as part of the project When Neighbours Are Strangers. Throughout the project, we are going to present works by Polish and international artists. The project is going to focus on the strategies and possibilities of involving the viewer in interventions taking place outside the closed gallery space.

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Art has become firmly inscribed in the public space of our cities. It appears almost on the doorstep of our homes. Is it a friendly neighbour or rather a stranger speaking with an odd accent? What should be the essence of such art? Should it entertain, criticise or raise doubts? A work of art placed in the public space changes and redefines it, attracting the attention and unwittingly involving the inhabitants. What is the artist’s responsibility towards the local community? Does an artist working in an open space programme the viewers, giving them a part of authorship of his or her work? Abolishing the barrier between the work of art and the viewer seems to be one of the key questions of contemporary art. Is art in urban space an answer?

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On the one hand, the When Neighbours Are Strangers? project will pose the question of overcoming barriers between the work of art and the viewer, on the other, it will analyse the actual state of things. Does art outside the gallery in fact involve the viewer? The project will be composed of five artistic interventions, showing different attitudes towards viewers presented by artists working in the public space – from ludicity to critical attitudes. The project will last until the beginning of October.

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MARCIN CHOMICKI
Graduate of the Faculty of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (2005) and Assyrian Studies at the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Warsaw (2000). Since 2004, he has worked as an assistant professor at the Faculty of Painting of his alma mater, in 2011, he obtained a doctoral degree in the fine arts at the University of Arts in Poznań. He works with public art, painting, photography and 3D animation. He has taken part in exhibitions in Poland and abroad, i.a.: Biała Gallery, Lublin; Arsenał Gallery, Białystok; Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; Szara Gallery; Cieszyn; Appendix2 Gallery, Warsaw; Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw; Platan Gallery, Budapest, Hungary; Polish Institute in Budapest, Hungary; Polish Institute in Rome, Italy. Three-time holder of the scholarship funded by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (2006, 2009, 2013) and the Young Poland programme (2011). Author of public space projects, including Escarpment. Reactivation! POWER CULTURE LEISURE realised with Justyna Wencel in Warsaw (2011). Between 2009 and 2013, he co-founded and co-managed 2.0 Gallery at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. He lives and works in Warsaw. www.chomicki.art.pl

JUSTYNA WENCEL
Visual artist. Graduate of the Faculty of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, English Studies at the University of Warsaw and Pedagogical School. Doctor of visual arts. She works with video, installation, object and public art. Her scope of research includes memory, identity and the family archive. She lives in Warsaw. She has participated in numerous solo and collective exhibitions in Poland and abroad and video art festivals. Two-time holder of the scholarship of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. Together with Marcin Chomicki, she creates the art duo Zmiennicy, which acts in the field of commemoration in the public space and propagates contemporary art forms of a statue. Author and co-author of art projects in the urban space. Between 2012 and 2013, she was a curator at the 2.0 Gallery at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. www.wencel.art.pl


Project realised as part of the OUTDOOR GALLERY OF THE CITY OF GDAŃSK
Co-financed from the funds of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage
We would like to thank Lambda Group for their assistance in realising the project

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8 photos by Marcin Chomicki

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