Since 2005, within the framework of The Outdoor Gallery of The City of Gdansk, five editions of the competition were completed. Ten of the awarded artworks were appointed to be realized in the public space of Gdansk.
The 5th edition was realized in cooperation with the municipal corporation Pomorskie Metropolitan Rail S.A. who was the organizer of the competition. Within the competition chosen artist were to design a graphic pattern for the walls of railway stops of the Pomorskie Metropolitan Rail which will connect Lech Walesa Airport with Gdansk Wrzeszcz and will constitute a transport link between two railways: E65 (Gdynia – Warsaw) and 201 (Gdynia – Kościerzyna). The artistic graphics made in the form of illuminated perforations of the platform shelters’ walls will give an exceptional character to each 8 stops of the PMR, creating at the same time some extraordinary, aesthetical and architectonical feature to the whole new line of the metropolitan railway.
The international Jury decided that the work of the artist from Gdansk, Anna Waligórska was the best amongst all the competition entries and they also awarded two 2nd prices ex aequo to Hans Peter Kuhn from Germany and Andrea Mastrovito from Italy for their outstanding works. The other artists who participated in the competition were: Kim Schoenstadt (USA), Lisa Ruyter (USA), Mariusz Waras (Poland), Metaform & SUMO (Luxembourg).
The works by the artists invited to the competition were judged by the international jury: Julia Draganovic, Enrico Lunghi, Jacek Dominiczak, Jadwiga Charzynska, Norbert Weber, Adam Budak, Bettina Steinbruegge. They were supported by jury experts: Wolniarska-Roszak, Piotr Lorens, Grzegorz Sulikowski, Adam Szpilewski.
1st PRIZE: ANNA WALIGÓRSKA PROJECT REALIZED IN 2015
The graphics I have designed to be obtained through perforation of the train stop shelters’ screens along the PKM line should fulfill two main functions – informational and artistic. The graphics shown at all the train stop shelters is uniform and coherent. At the same time I recall these places where the railway line appears in my project. The railway line partly leads along the old route, which in the past had connected Gdańsk Wrzeszcz with Stara Piła. The Kiełpinek station was the border station between Poland and Wolne Miasto Gdańsk (Free City Gdańsk). Most of the railway line leads along the moraine hills edge. The railway bank is wooded and the old railway station of Kiełpinek is surrounded by luxuriant greenery.
My inspiration during designing the graphics was the nature. This is a really important part of the Pomeranian Metropolitan Railway line’s landscape. The modern architectural solid of the train stops is an emphasis in the landscape that surrounds it. I am deeply convinced that the graphics should be both esthetic and informational. Each of the eight train stations have got numbers, ordering the stops beginning with the Strzyża train stop till the last one – the Banino train stop. The numbers on the elevations were designed as huge, predominant composition features, well seen even at long distance. They also make orientation easier for pedestrians who can find it hard to find direction in the extensive space in the area of the train stop. At each train stop its name is also written which makes orientation easier for travelers. I would like these names of the train stops to differ in colour but on the other hand to harmonize with the red elevation wall. Each inscription is a colourful accent distinguishing the stations. The colours I have chosen are rich and paralleled to the space surrounding (green, yellow, blue and ochre colours). The graphics on each elevation is a plant ornament and it refers to organic forms (leaves, branches).
My aim was to create the atmosphere of calmness and peace within the train stops’ area. I intended to give an impression of being outside an urban area, close to nature. The light is the important feature in my project and its work causes the illuminations and shadows to perform inside the train stops’ shelters. Daily light beams shine through the leaves or branches when the artificial light sources, which I mean to use, will be put inside the train stop’s shelter. After dusk it will give the effect of illuminating the inside of the train stop and highlighting the graphics on the elevation. In this way, in the evening or at night the station will be seen from far away and the ornament on the elevation will be fulfilled with light.
The additional idea is to use so-called “light indicator of progress” signalising the distance of the train to the train stop. I imagine it will be pillars with lights installed from top to bottom. The lights on these pillars will be interfaced with the train movement. For instance, when the train will be 10 minutes from the station, two of the lowest lights on the pillars will switch on. When the train comes closer more lights will turn on until all of them will light when the train has arrived. Another idea connected with light is using extra lamps on the ceiling of the train stops’ shelters. These lamps will be specially designed for each of the train stops. Their construction will be white panels with LED lights with proper configuration inside which refers to the graphics on the elevation wall. It will create extra illumination on the ceiling, which will also be interfaced with arriving trains. When it comes to the train stop the LED lights turn on and twinkle. As the train stops on the platform the LED lights fully shine, and as it departs they fade away. The extra lights are planned to be in the bends of the elevation (it is the light which highlights the edges of the elevation) and the blue light in the glass of the elevators and under the platforms’ ceilings, which besides esthetic function, is also useful.
2nd prize ex aequo: HANS PETER KUHN – BREAKTHROUGH NO DECISION OF REALIZATION
The origin of the word perforation is Latin and it is constructed of the two parts per (through, during in time, because of) and foramen ( = hole), so it could mean through a hole or even because of a hole. In this proposal it is intended to not only understand the term as a description of a material being penetrated in a way that it has many holes and by a permeable or a predetermined breaking line, but also in the word by word meaning from its Latin origin with light sticks that pierce the walls of the buildings. The light lines that cut through a hole in the building are a metaphor for the act of traveling, which always cut through the unknown and sometimes even has to break barriers or walls. Which place is better suited to carry a metaphor for traveling then the site of traveling itself? Traveling takes us further, it teaches us, it makes us strong but it also implies that we are courageous and not scared of going headfirst through the wall. In this proposal, light lines are sent through a hole. They create the hole to go through or because of a hole they are able to get to the other side. Maybe even during time the hole exists and the light lines are actually timelines.
The general concept for this proposal is to take the idea of a perforation to another level. Instead of only punching holes into the metal sheets, it is proposed to penetrate walls and roofs with light sticks that are white lines during daytime and bright lights during the night. The light sticks shall be made with high efficiency but low consumption LEDs to minimize energy needs and to diminish the carbon footprint of the artwork. Through these piercing light lines, the attraction of the buildings gets elevated and the stations are not only distinctively recognizable from long distance and also by night. Moreover, in combination with the already remarkable architecture they become a distinguished landmark. The notion of a light line through a wall implies the association of high speed and movement in the direction of the line. The names of the stations shall be placed in an upper corner of the buildings. Each single letter shall be a separate, slim light box illuminated by internal cold white LEDs. The placing of the names on each individual station has to be decided in such way, that it is visual from the neighborhood roads and not in competition with the artwork.
2nd prize ex aequo: Andrea Mastrovito – MACHINA COELESTIS NO DECISION OF REALIZATION
Machina Coelestisis born from a deep reflection about Pomeranian Voivodship’s history and how it affected, influenced, the history of all mankind. There are three starting point for this project. The first is Poland’s admission to the UE in 2004; the second is Johannes Hevelius’s Prodromus Astronomiae and then, the third, is Arthur Schopenauer’s The World as Will and Representation.
Poland’s admission to the UE put another new star on United Europe’s flag, as the sign of his new membership to the European Community but of course, historically, Poland and moreover Pomeranian Voivodship have always played a really important, crucial role for Europe’s destiny. For this reason the star is just a symbol, the official acknowledgement of a role, a place that history had always admitted. That’s why I started thinking about stars and their meanings.
While studying Pomeranian and Gdansk’s history, I discovered the incredible figure of Gdansk-born Johannes Hevelius and his prominent work in astronomy studies, which really fascinated me as I was working on the symbol of stars in history. Obviously, Hevelius’ work on the moon, stars and astronomy has been recognized worldwide since it’s beginning in the late 1600s. So I started studying his works and especially the big treatises Prodromus Astronomiae , Catalogus Stellarum Fixarum and Firmamentum Sobescianum. Observing Hevelius’s Star Atlas (Firmamentum Sobescianum), We can clearly observe the similarities between the UE flag and the amazing representation of the firmament he depicts, where he underlines the link between human history and the stars – ageless witness – giving the name of Scutum Sobescianum to one of the seven new constellations he discovered, in order to commemorate the victory of the Polish forces led by King John III Sobieski (Jan III Sobieski) in the Battle of Vienna in 1683. Following the thread between human history and stars, I arrived to the third point.
Arthur Schopenhauer, born in Gdansk on 22 February 1788. Just like Hevelius, he can be considered as one of the most prominent personalities of Gdansk and Pomeranian Voivodship. His influence, not only on philosophy but on literature, music and art are still strong and of course his thoughts have been basic and fundamental on western modernity. In his book: The World as Will and Representation particularly in the chapter about the Critique of the Kantian Philosophy, he clearly distinguishes between perceptual, intuitive knowledge and conceptual, discursive knowledge. So, considering the world we live in as a representation of the single individual who tries to auto-determine himself, Schopenhauer describes human conditions (and the world itself) as a kind of Maya illusion, a Veil of Maya that man has to rip off, to pierce in order to reach the “real” reality. Reflecting on Schopenhauer’s description of the Veil of Maya and the natural links between human and nature and then between man and universe, I came up with this image of a man throwing something in the sky in order to understand if the sky is real or just a painted backdrop. This was really the starting point of this project, where humanity is seen as the main character of history: history here is created, molded, written and drawn by every gesture and action of each person.
That’s why I imagined these big images, in the Pomorskie Metropolitan Rail, where common people draw the stars in the sky, simply throwing objects (paper planes, stones, arrows etc…) at it and piercing it, creating new holes which bring the light from an outer dimension. Of course, in order to strengthen the link between individual history and the history of mankind, I did not draw accidental holes in the sky, for actually the holes in the sky represented on the screen of the train stop shelters, trace out the precise disposition of stars and constellations that could be seen from that point (the station at issue) in a peculiar, fundamental moment of Gdansk and Pomeranian history.
In this way the links between the UE flag, Hevelius and Schopenhauer are summarised in a very simple image which, thanks to the technique of perforation and to the illumination, results extremely richly and evocatively even if realised with very few elements: sky, stars, people and, in every station, a number indicating the date of the historical moment depicted.
In 2011 Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art organised the 4th competition for a work of art in the public space of the Lower Town in the framework of “Outdoor Gallery of the City of Gdansk” project. In the 4th edition of the competition, the crossroads of Kamienna Grobla Street, Dobra Street and Toruńska Street (including a bridge, concrete riverside promenades and a bus stop of the line 120) constituted the area of the project realization. The artists had to take into consideration the historic character of the streets as well as the fact that the area was a meeting point of the paths coming from the prizewinning objects of the previous editions of the competition as well as from Łaźnia Centre for Contemporary Art and leading to the medieval fortifications situated on the border of Dolne Miasto.
The following artists were invited to take part in the 4th edition of the competition: Alexandre Arrechea (Cuba), Thorsten Goldberg (Germany), Sabina Lang & Daniel Baumann (Switzerland), Tea Makipaa (Finland), Markus Miessen (Germany), Olaf Nicolai (Germany), Bert Theis (Luxemburg), Weronika Kiersztejn i Michał Kozik (Poland).
1st PRIZE – BERT THEIS: BLIND PROJECT TO BE REALIZED
Art in public space is always connected to particular social and historical contexts in the work of Bert Theis (Luxembourg, 1952). Despite his sophisticated esthetics and conceptual statement, his interventions have always a functional character: the Potemkin Lock pavilion at the Venice Biennial in 1995 allowed exhausted visitors to rest in a white ambiance with music using the voice of Marcel Duchamp and the Philosophical Platform at Skulpturen Projekte Munster in 1997 could be as well used as a bicycle stop or a stage for tango dancers.
His proposal for the Outdoor Gallery in Gdansk combines functionality, esthetics and social reflection. The bridge in Torunska Street has an old balustrade which Bert Theis would replace by a new especially designed one which contains inscriptions: the useful becomes also meaningful and beautiful. “Ślepi urbaniści” (Blind Architects) and “Korore architekty” refer to the social pressure on the present time inhabitants of Lower Town due to the gentrification of the area. Does the urbanistic and architectural transformation of the site take in consideration all the social and historical complexity of the area and what will be the consequences of the dramatic changes in process? By suggesting that decisions are often taken according to short-term economical logics, Bert Theis’ work introduces a series of questionings and thoughts that will evolve in time and accompany the further developments, adding continuously new layers of meaning, like it happens with what in German is called Denkmal (site for thinking). The balustrade by Bert Theis will be used by all walkers on the bridge and will be read and discovered progressively by more and more of the old and new inhabitants: it is a piece for the present and the future of the bridge.
1st HONORARY MENTION – THORSTEN GOLDBERG: OCCURENCE PROJECT TO BE REALIZED
The second project by Thorsten Goldberg is suggested to be realized as a complimentary project together with Bert Theis’ work. It will add a different voice. The work has a quality which is based on characteristics such as the ephemeral, the surprise, the joy, the summertime attraction, and will function as a meeting point for the curious crowd as can be found all over the world in front of water surprise such as geyser in Iceland.
Dolne Miasto, the Lower Town of Gdansk, is bordered by three entrances. Two of them are prominently marked, but the Toruńska Bridge is still like a backdoor, despite the high traffic that can be seen on Google Earth. Crossing the bridge and entering the district from the west will cause an instant signal: a foggy, dense cloud will appear next to the bridge. Therefore the cloud will be welcoming the visitors entering the Lower Town. As the artist says: “The cloud will be bright pink and pop up on the nearest terrace of the riverbank. It will form itself instantly by strong fog nozzles and light to a size of about 3 x 5 meter and it will be there only a very short time – about 1 minute. The shape and the material will associate to a landed cumulus cloud, the color may also bring up associations to cotton candy, and when switched off and dissolving it may associate white smoke.But not every walker will activate the cloud. A photoelectric sensor, or photo-eye will be installed on the bridge to detect only pedestrians going east on either side of the walkway. There will be an additional programming, that only every tenth walker will cause a cloud. Cars will cause no effect. Because the pink occurence will be activated by one specific person walking over the bridge, it will be directed to him – it will be his or her cloud. At the same time light and fog functions as a signal, visible from a far.”
2nd HONORARY MENTION – WERONIKA KIERSZTEJN AND MICHAŁ KOZIK: GREEN GATE PROJECT NO DECISION OF REALIZATION
The work entitled Green Gate Project was designed by two young architects from Silesia region in Poland: Weronika Kiersztejn and Michal Kozik. Both of them were just completing their graduate studies in 2011. This was already the second big success of this team: in 2010 they won first prize in International Biennale of Interior Architecture in Krakow. To invite such young people to such serious competition as the Outdoor Gallery is, was a brave decision of its jury. After the anonymous voting, the jury were happy to recognize, that this wais the very team who won the third prize in that year’s competition.
“Green Gate” is a multi-layered project. Its visual actions refer to two different perceptual distances of the world: local and global. A local distance is direct being in and seeing an urban interior. Here the designers are using contemporary architectural language using a layer of green plants to build the balustrade of the bridge which links the Lower Town with the Old Suburbs district. In consequence, the interior of the urban canal, which is already partly green, receives consistency if a city park. The concept of Green Gate (the name is already used for a historical bridge in the town, yet the name is not referring to nature and its plants) receives a new, contemporary meaning. The second distance is the global Google network, which makes the image of every part of the globe accessible via the Internet to the entire world. The bridge’s floor is covered by a particular pattern-mosaic, which, besides its aesthetical value, is a QR code (more advanced version of a barcode). QR code imprinted into the bridge’s floor can be scanned by everyone, who will spot the bridge of the Lower Town. Through the scan, he/she will receive an access to a webpage, which describes the green architecture concept for the Lower Town. This double construction of the project is simultaneously local and global. It shows the desire of young architects to be sure, that the city which aspires to the world will not lose its local uniqueness; that such local uniqueness will be the road to participation in the world.
During the 3rd edition of The Outdoor Gallery of the City of Gdansk competition in 2009 the following space was assigned for the realization of the project: the green space in Dolna Street which connected two main streets: Łąkowa and Jaskółcza and at the same time comprised the terminus for the public bus no. 121. The participants of the competition were asked to take into consideration the character and historic function of streets as well as the situation of the Dolna Street green space in the crossing point of pedestrian routes leading from the places of realisation of the winning projects of the first and second edition of the competition and the way leading to Centre for Contemporary Art Laznia. It was recommended that the project should become an artistic “signpost” to CCA Laznia. Moreover, the project should be harmonized with the surroundings.
The artists selected to the final stage of the competition were: Carmen Einfinger (USA), Tommi Grönlund / Petteri Nisunen (Finland), Marco Godinho (Luxembourg), Fred Hatt / Daniel Schlaepfer (Switzerland), Miks Mitrevics (Latvia), Ivan Moudov (Bulgaria), Su-Mei Tse (Luxembuorg) and AGREST Group (Poland). Jury decided that Fernando Sanchez Castillo (Spain), whose project for the 2nd edition of the competition was submitted in incomplete state owing to circumstances beyond his control, was automatically added to the list of artists qualified for the 3rd edition of the competition.
The works by the artists invited to the competition were judged by the international jury: Adam Budak, Jadwiga Charzyńska, Jacek Dominiczak, Enrico Lunghi, Bettina Steinbrügge, Norbert Weber and by two jury experts: Maria Koprowska and Izabela Burda.
1st PRIZE: Carmen Einfinger – SCENT OF COLOUR PROJECT TO BE REALIZED
The Scent of Colour by New York artist Carmen Einfinger won the first prize in the 3rd edition of the Outdoor Gallery of the City of Gdansk competition and will be realized at Dolna Square in 2012. The jury was convinced by Einfinger’s sensuous and colorful proposal, which will turn Dolna Square into a festive oasis redesigning the existing public service point (as the kiosk and the bus stop) and transforming the central alley into a garden with benches, birdhouses and a fountain. Einfinger’s proposal is a strong and unique statement which will reshape Dolna Square into a joyful meeting points for families, friendly to the environment and inviting to rest and communicate. Her artistic gesture refers to the code of pop and youth culture. The artist was also inspired by the Kameralna Restaurant’s exuberant use of color and forma – one expression of Gdansk’s longing for aesthetically sophisticated environments. Einfinger also consciously refers to such famous artistic realizations in park spaces as Tarot Garden in Tuscany by Niki de Saint Phalle or Güell Park in Barcelona by Antoni Gaudí.
Carmen Einfinger on Scent of Colour:
I started to explore this concept of hope and rebirth as I thought of how the bus terminus meets the green space that connects the two main streets of Dolna Park. I wanted to commemorate this feeling— that the end of the line leads to the birth of something new. My project transforms the currently neglected and defunct Lower Town into a spatial experience of a crossroad—a moment of possibility that we can universally access through the unusual colour combinations and the archetypal forms. I wanted to change this park into one that is a creative force, turning loneliness and idleness into community action.
The first components of my project are the birdhouses in the trees, which to me signified such an essential element of the park as a doorway to the world. Most of the birdhouses will be placed high up on the trees. Some will be held by lamp posts on the ground. Then there are the kiosk, the bus stop and the fountain. Connecting these community components are again the archetypal forms of the pathway that match the forms of the birdhouses and which evoke a sense of unity and peace. The resulting space has an inclusive nature, where people of all ages and ethnicities will be drawn to. There would be a sense of wonder, and a feeling of harmony, beauty and playfulness that is signature to my desire to create art. People will get excited by the colour. Bright colours are uplifting to the human spirit, and are especially appealing to the young. People will get excited by the sound. The sound of birds makes us more unified as human beings. People young and old will take this very satisfying spatial experience beyond the park and they will be inspired to explore the surrounding neighbourhood and Museum with this sense of positivity and local pride.
The experience of Scent of Colour will change with the seasons, drawing people to the site year round and serving as a constant reminder of the enduring power of rebirth. In summer, we have a vibrant cacophony of sound and spirit. In winter, the birdhouses will hang naked on the trees, offering hope amidst the grey desolation of the cold. The project will transform the end of a line (the Lower Town) into a beginning of something new, manifesting the spirit of possibility and rebirth that Gdansk is renowned for.
1st HONORARY MENTION: Fred Hatt & Daniel Schlaepfer – Amber Drops Project realised in 2011
Amber Drops was awarded the first honorary mention in the 3rd edition of The International Competition Of The Outdoor Gallery Of The City Of Gdansk in 2009 for its subtle reference to the importance of amber in building of Gdansk identity as well as for their minimalistic way of dealing with the aesthetics of public space.
Amber Drops is an installation of yellow translucent pebbles made of epoxy resin with a built in led lighting system. The glow of ambers varies in time and rhythm like the breathing of a person. Objects typical of our times of different sizes and of different types are embedded into the resin – like a mobile phone or other relics of today’s daily life that had been trapped within like bugs.
The artwork was realized in the autumn of 2011 as a permanent site-specific installation in the space of the Lower Town district under the flyover by Szopy Street. Pulsating lights of the amber stones and their reflections in the mirror-like surface of Invisible Gate by Front Studio group make an impression that the whole space is alive and breathing.
2nd Honorary Mention: Fernando Sanchez Castillo – Leader-Swing PROJECT TO BE REALIZED
The sculpture Leader Swing by Fernando Sanchez Castillo turns a powerful monument of an anonymous hero to a swing for children. With humor and irony, the artist comments on both the tradition of the heroisation and the absurd destruction of the symbols like it usually happens during dramatic political changes. His act of transformation brings acceptance and hope. The jury of the competition were so immensely impressed by the sculpture by Fernando Sanchez Castillo that when it turned out that the piece wouldn’t solve the question of general rearrangement of the Dolna square they decided to appoint alternative localisation – on the corner of Sluzy and Wrobla Street next to Laznia CCA – for the piece to be erected.
Statues of leaders have been overthrown everywhere in the planet. However, this proceeding seems to reappear in different countries with a new face and appearance. It looks like a ritual or some funny sport. Despite this social catharsis and spectacle, the structures and strategies imposed to control the citizens remain sometimes intact. Most of the times the new icon of power just turns to be more difficult to distinguish or invisible. In my opinion, the reason for it is the disappearance of statues followed by re-erection of identical ones again and again. It is as if they were not made by bronze but of rubber. Flexibility and adaptation made the most dictatorial regimes hide behind new weak and nominal democracies.
The proposed statue is a triumph over this kind of iconography typical of 19th and 20th century. The bent leader shows its capacity of adaptation. Also the impossibility of eliminating the roots that kept them in power by the simple violent act against the sculptures. Our sculpture shows that civil society won the struggle by changing the use of this big piece of metal. Now we bended it to use it in a different way: We will use it as a swing for our kids. All the imposers of strong and painful ideologies are now for kids to play. By doing that, our children will grow up with courage to contradict abuses of power and with the idea that everything is possible to change and to make a better and funny place to live. (Fernando Sanchez Castillo)
In 2007, within the framework of the second edition of the competition, the artistic installations were located in the space of the crossing of two streets: Podwale Przedmiejskie and Łąkowa. It comprised bus and tram stops altogether with the underground passage. This place is a very important communication point connecting the Lower Town with the rest of Gdansk and therefore it is also some kind of a gate to this neglected part of town. A change in its image played an important role in making this district more attractive.
Just like in the first edition, the works by the artists invited to the competition were judged by the international jury: Adam Budak, Jadwiga Charzyńska, Jacek Dominiczak, Enrico Lunghi, Bettina Steinbrügge, Norbert Weber and by two jury experts: Maria Koprowska and Grzegorz Sulikowski.
The following artists participated in the competition: Fernando Sanchez Castillo (Spain), Wim Delvoye (Belgium), Didier Fiuza Faustino (France), Ronny Hardliz (Switzerland), Dominik Lejman (Poland), Kriss Salmanis (Latvia), Esther Stocker (Austria), Tania Lopez Winkler (United Kingom).
1st PRIZE EX AEQUO: ESTHER STOCKER – UNDERCOVER Project realised in 2010
Esther Stocker attempts to present an artistic version of the subway entrance, partly hiding the existing one – standard and functional. She tries to deconstruct what is ordinary in the sphere of thinking about it and approach the construction once again, giving it a chance to become personal. Stocker covers the entrance or more precisely uncovers it by wrapping the form up in a coordinate grid, defragmented structures and black-an-white patters. She wants you to puzzle and ponder upon thoughtless passing by regardless of forms, which exist next to us constantly. The author reflects on the dimension which should be promoted by the form that she touched: “I thought about a sign that would make this space individual. This is a pictorial idea of an exterior «face» of two main subway entrances in a black-and-white structure. It covers all the circular roofs and walls and windows overlooking the street. The reason why I thought of those two signs was my intention to build up some relations between both sides as well as to give an aesthetic value to the existing forms”. Such a choice “is to show how an aesthetic decision may transform a functional structure into something else”. She combines artistic elements with industrial ones to show the opportunity given by a form, which in other circumstances would be regarded as ordinary and clumsy. Paradoxically, she raises working form, dressing it up in its Sunday best and leaving it on a weekday irrespective of the sun and the rain and not worrying that the dress will get damaged or that the novelty will wear off. The artist initiated the arduous process of coating common material with aesthetic elements in the Lower Town quarter; the process of secular sacralization of daily life, giving permanent artistic quality to functional forms.
Esther Stocker’s paintings, wall works and installations, which are all in black, white and grey and based on grid structures, display interconnections, networks and interferences of a formal and semantic nature. Their metaphorical basic motif is the grid pattern, which is incorporated in different ways. Hinting at clearly structured, geometric basic forms, the interferences, shifts and overlaps create a dynamic distortion, which derives from taking a critical view on rigid beliefs in certain systems or truths. In reference to the tradition of constructivist art as well as to film and digital image technologies, Stocker deconstructs the one-dimensional conception of systems, space and painting and points out the part that the viewers and the circumstances in which they are looking at a work of art have to play. When we look at her spatial pictures and her picture-like installations, we see that surface and space, clarity and complexity, an attention to detail and an open view of things are not perceived as opposites, but rather as mutually dependent and defining phenomena.
1st PRIZE EX AEQUO: DOMINIK LEJMAN – STAGING ANONYMOUS Project realised in 2009
Lejman spins “underground scenarios”, but paradoxically they are far from being dark; he illuminates underground spaces, dispelling all illusions. He creates light illumination where he invites passers-by so that they could unexpectedly find themselves in the spotlight and act in a social performance of fast and soundless passing each other in an urban space, fully conscious of the game. Just as no strong light accents are associated with the underground, similarly a passer-by does not act in a film; this is a real-fiction of the social world. Thanks to light, a grey tunnel with grey people in the space-time continuum of march comes alive and acquires painterly qualities and softness. Though the feeling of coldness stays the same and the obligation to reach your destination on time is just as hasty as it was before.
The anonymous spectacle directed by Lejman is complemented by an illusive image of a staircase which gradually vanishes as the passers-by are approaching it. The image is situated on the wall by the tunnel’s exit from the side of the Lower Town and constitutes an accurate, mirror-like reflection of the exit staircase on the opposite side – the staircase that leads to the Old Town, the area attractive for tourists as well as for citizens, which as a district is commonly perceived as a complete contradiction to the Lower Town. The author describes his work in the categories of creating circumstances for the conscious dramatization of public life. “The surroundings we live in become more like a stage design, where the superficiality of a photo “background” becomes more important than its real dimension. (…) By analogy with such an understanding of the surroundings, the function of public art which becomes more significant might be the one of “de-design”, as formulated by Voto Acconci, that is an action aimed at changing the perception of places we live in rather than at adding new forms – object which merely multiply the stage design of the surroundings”.
Staging Anonimous by Dominik Lejman complements Esther Stocker’s Undercover – the painting on the external surfaces of the underground passage. It focuses on the sensations that a viewer/passer-by experiences while entering the tunnel. Jury emphasized both the social dimension of this project (its attempt to create a real, but also fictional sense of community) as well as its strong aesthetic quality with its aspects of playfulness and self-engagement. In Jury’s opinion, Lejman’s project in a very subtle and gentle way performs too a quite important potential of raising the security level within this problematic space of the underground passage.
HONORARY MENTION: KRIŠS SALMANIS – Whisper Bridge NO DECISION OF REALIZATION
Two huge domes in front of each other and a road between them, which at the same time links and separates people living in the area. One city, yet cut in half, systematized and structured spatially and socially: better and worse; export and degraded. (…) The artist creates a piece of art, which is an effective demonstration of the principles of physics on a large scale; a piece of art, which equates, irrespective of all divisions in the face of undeniable results of acoustic experiments. He constructs domes situated in front of each other so that they could reflect voice, which is audible thanks to precise calculations of acousticians and proper settings and parameters in the other dome, which acts as an insurmountable barrier and keeps voice within itself. In this way, despite the drone of traffic, brutally dividing both zones, people, separated with sound and physical barrier, are able to communicate. This is a sound bridge, reuniting the Lower Town district with the Main Town of Gdańsk. Instead of beginning a historic discussion on mistakes of the past, it allows for a conversation and a bilateral emission of equally loud voice. It’s also possible that the artist will make use of a beam of suitably set street lights to illustrate sound effects. White interiors of domes are to intensify the visual effect, whereas their exterior shows a structural aspect of form, corresponding with its metallic surface to a structure of steps and small platforms for the passers-by who want their message to be audible on the other side.
The works of Krišs Salmanis invite to play an intellectual and ironic game – sometimes also hide-and-seek. A proportion of his works, despite – or maybe thanks to – their lovely design, are a witty, but also quite a stinging comment on today’s world and its perceptions. Krišs Salmanis often uses (or abuses) universally accepted visual language, ever so slightly altering the common “orthography” so it changes the meaning, as well. For example, he produces a series of identity badges where one recognizes everyday codes of the global society (computer freaks, pacifists and militarists, nationalists, globalists, terrorists and tourists, graffitists etc.) which have been affected by “innocent” adjustments. The artist has a special relationship with language and writing. He prefers precise visual signs in art. However, in their midst one will find characters whose meaningfulness is dependent on visibility stipulations. These works fall under the common title of the ongoing Grafomania project. (Ieva Astahovska)
In 2005 the first edition of The Outdoor Gallery of The City of Gdansk Competition was held. The participants of the competition had to design works of art for the public space of the bridge at Szopy Street and Nowa Motława river bank. The artworks were supposed to break tha barrier between the Lower Town and The Old Town and encourage citizens od Gdansk and tourists to visit this obscure area.
The works by the artists invited to the competition were judged by the international jury: Enrico Lunghi, Jacek Dominiczak, Bettina Steinbrügge, Adam Budak, Dr Dieter Brunner, Norbert Weber, Jadwiga Charzyńska, Maria Koprowska and by jury experts: Marian Kwapiński and Grzegorz Sulikowski.
The following artists participated in the competition: Lex Rijkers and Daniel Milohnic (Germany/The Netherlands), Philippe Rahm (Switzerland), Front Studio - Yen Ha i Ostap Rudakevych (USA), Hsia-Fei Chang (Taiwan), Leon Tarasewicz (Poland), Elżbieta & Emil Cieślarowie (Poland) and Tuomo Manninen (Finland).
1st PRIZE: Daniel Milohnic & Lex Rijkers – LKW Gallery PROJECT REALIZED in 2008
Project awarded the main prize in the 1st International Competition of the Outdoor Gallery of the City of Gdańsk is the most ambiguous and thought-provoking, endowed with a multitude of possible interpretations and, at the same time, very close to people’s everyday experience. A car stuck under the flyover symbolically reflects the situation of the Lower Town quarter, separated from the Old Town by the flyover. It symbolizes differences in the social and mental situation of the neighbouring areas. The form of the object and the space that it contains opens many possibilities for use. Placing it in a public space will allow for greater integration of the local community, education for the young and projects which will motivate the inhabitants. The piece itself is not an independent work of art but it has become one thanks to various educational and artistic ventures organized by Laznia inside. The project envisages filling this area with new energy, by creating and managing Laznia’s permanent curatorial programme. LKW Gallery has become an easily accesible, alternative cultural centre – a place for regular workshops, exhibitions, film projections and other forms of cultural and artistic activity.
Lex Rijkers and Daniel Milohnic create projects determined by social conditions based on the contrasting combination of permanent and transient elements. They create various objects such as caravans for families and friendly, utilitarian places for local communities.
1st HONORARY MENTION: PHILIPPE RAHM – JOUR NOIR. TOWARDS THE DIAMBULISM Project not realised due to technical problems
Philippe Rahm’s light and sound installation reverses the experiences of humans in the situation of day and night by placing lamps and bed-like forms sensitive to the temperature of passers-by in public space. It is based on the sensual experiences of every human being, regardless of their preparation, level of education or status. This contemplative project, highly advanced technologically and aesthetically sophisticated is distant from the everyday reality of the inhabitants of the Lower Town. During the day, a person who walks within the range of the lamp’s “light” will feel cool and during the night, the warm light will turn on. When someone is lying or sitting on the beds, a musical soundtrack will be automatically turned on – one of Chopin’s nocturnes. It is a universal and unique installation. It contributes to the creation of a new atmosphere in the area, to the building of new relations and to the improvement of the image of the location. Being an example of street furniture, it can be located somewhere between design and visual art.
“My works try to stretch architecture between the infinitely small and the infinitely large, between the physiological and the meteorological. We want to reposition the essence of the elements of architecture subsequent to this disintegration of the visible. The tools of architecture must become invisible and light, producing places like free, open landscapes, a new geography, different kinds of meteorology; renewing the idea of form and use between sensation and phenomenon, between the neurological and the meteorological, between the physiological and the atmospheric. We want spaces with no meaning, no narrative; interpretable spaces in which margins disappear, structures dissolve, and limits vanish. It is no longer a case of building images and functions, but of opening climates and interpretations; working on space, on the air and its movements, on the phenomena of conduction, perspiration, convection as transitory, fluctuating meteorological conditions that become the new paradigms of contemporary architecture; moving from metric composition to thermal composition, from structural thinking to climatic thinking, from narrative thinking to meteorological thinking (…).”
2ndHONORARY MENTION: FRONT STUDIO – INVISIBLE GATE PROJECT REALISED IN 2009
The project by Front Studio aims to abolish the physical barriers between the Old Town and the Lower Town while being typically minimalist in form, materials and architecture, and displaying a high level of symbolism. Covering the part of the flyover with steel lining in the form of mirrors gives a new value to the Lower Town and in a way it undoes the mistake of those who had designed the flyover and separated two quarters from each other. It brightens up, physically and metaphorically, the space under the flyover, making it feel wider. The advantage is its fragmentary character, showing the contrast between what decorates and what mars the city organism. It is also a monumental project in its scale, influential in the scale of the entire city, giving it a new meaning. Invisible Gate is characterised by its wide symbolism in the form of mirrors, reflections, multiplications of the images of people, architecture and the river which provides a wide field for interpretation. It is worth emphasising the play of the light at successive times of day and the change of colours as an aesthetic and sensual quality. Moreover, this work is surprising and its location will encourage tourists to overcome the “not-existent” barrier and to visit the Lower Town.
In their built work, Front Studio has been recognized as a leader in elegant and timeless design. Whether creating interior environments or constructed additions, their built work exudes a carefully detailed, warm modernity. They have been named one of the world’s hottest 50 young firms by Wallpaper Magazine.
Reluctant to participate in current trends and fashions, Front Studio’s commitment to creativity ensures that every project undergoes a careful and comprehensive investigation. In addition to rigorous design methods, the firm instills projects with a sense of humor, recognizable in their whimsical proposals. Fluent in French, Vietnamese and Japanese, Michi and Yen work on an international scale, collaborating with foreign clients based locally and abroad. Whether speculative or realized, Front Studio is constantly inspired by its surroundings, discovering innovation and imagination in every opportunity.
Hans Peter Kuhn / Andrea Mastrovito / Metaform & SUMO / Lisa Ruyter / Kim Schoenstadt / Anna Waligórska / Mariusz Waras
Alexandre Arrechea / Thorsten Goldberg / Sabina Lang & Daniel Baumann / Tea Makipaa / Markus Miessen / Olaf Nicolai / Bert Theis / Weronika Kiersztejn i Michał Kozik
Carmen Einfinger / Fernando Sanchez Castillo / Marco Godinho / Tommi Grönlund & Petteri Nisunen / Fred Hatt & Daniel Schlaepfer / Miks Mitrevics / Ivan Moudov / Su-Mei Tse / AGREST Group