We are happy to announce the beginning of revitalization works of The Lower Town. The two artworks selected in the 3rd edition of the Outdoor Gallery of The City of Gdansk Compeition – “Scent of Color” by Carmen Einfinger and “Leader Swing” Fernando Sanchez Castillo – will be permanently set into the landscape of the district as artistic elements giving the space a brand new image.
Construction works started on February 24th. A fundamental revitalization passes through district. Thanks to an agreement signed by the City of Gdańsk underground infrastructure will be rebuilt, surface of the streets will be repaired, public space adjacent to streets Dolna, Kieturakisa, Kurza, Śluza, Wróbla, Toruńska, Łąkowa and Radna will change. 31 communal buildings will also be renovated.
Furthermore, the winning competition artworks will appear in the public space of the Lower Town. 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. Therefore, a potential problem is the fact that as a result of described surface streets revitalization the trees included in the Carmen Einfinger project have been cut…
The Outdoor Gallery of the City of Gdansk competition has an international undertone and successively takes place since 2005. New York based British and American artist Carmen Einfinger was trained as a painter, as it can be seen in her work with perverse title “Scent of Color”. As the painter she knows that color can become a form and thereby gain the enormous power of expression. Fairytale surroundings created by Carmen is not her first work realized in the urban space. She had a chance to present their works in New York, Beijing, Taiwan and Italy. She draws inspired by the throughout diverse matter of places and cultures, which she had known. Maybe that’s why she maintains a fantastical, exotic vision, even when dealing with a commonplace. “Scent of Colour ” 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 tries to highlight in the project also an element of Gdansk – Kameralna Restaurant’s exuberant use of color and forms located in the Lower Town. Thus the square at Dolna street will combine fragments of European cities by redesigning the appearance of existing public service points (as the kiosk and the bus stop) .
In relation to Carmen’s project, the idea of Fernando Sánchez Castillo becomes more interesting artistic expression. Second finalist is Spanish artist who uses in his artistic activities mainly sculpture and video technique, text and performance which firmly stand out as toned down and crude when compared to the form of ” Scent of Color “. Castillo creates his artistic narration, but in a different way – by references to the canons of the history of painting or monumental sculpture and documentary. The artist tries to reevaluate by Nietzschean way the conventions of understanding the history by exploring its structure and time. To do that he plays with strong symbols. Monument is a symbol of history. The sculpture Leader Swing turns a powerful monument of an anonymous hero to a swing for children. Castillo explains: “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.” Where Leader Swing will become a companion to play? In view of the fact that Carmen’s artwork covers the area of the Dolna Street square and makes it complete, it was decided that Fernando’s project will be transferred to the corner of Sluzy and Wrobla Street next to Laznia CCA.
The Outdoor Gallery of the City of Gdansk competition not only makes it possible to change the appearance of public space close to us, but also gives the possibility to redefine it by non-citizens of Gdansk. The perception of urban space that is culturally, historically and spatially distant has a chance to become more familiar and faciliate the understanding of the City of Gdansk.
Leader Swing, Fernando Sancheza Castillo – visualization