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Gdańsk: “Art and the City” a non-festival

July 19, 2019 - July 28, 2019




Artists: Alicja Biała / Bolesław Chromry & Magdalena Sawicka / Mirella Von Chrupek / Justyna Górowska / Filip Ignatowicz / Marcin Janusz / Agata Królak / Honorata Martin / Luka Rayski / Open Group / Mariusz Waras / Ada Zielińska / Paweł „Paulus” Mazur i Dariusz „Brzóska” Brzóskiewicz / Patryk Hardziej / Edgar Bąk / Ola Niepsuj / Katarzyna Bogucka / Dawid Ryski / Pavel Vlodarski / Siksa / Dj Wika / Próżnia / Gnojki / Kwiaty / Kalafior Derambo / Yowee i O’Beats

During the first edition of Art and the City, a non-festival taking place in Gdańsk’s Dolne Miasto district, invited artists will tackle the subjects of personal liberty and freedom of speech. Will they assume the role of the voice of their generation or choose to speak about their personal experience?

Defining liberty as the lack of any limitations could prove risky. The lack of limitations leads to the lack of boundaries, making it easier for us to infringe on the boundaries of other people. However, history has shown us time and again the consequences of being deprived of liberty. Enslavement engenders inequalities. Nevertheless, the burden of liberty may sometimes prove too heavy to carry. So what are personal liberty and freedom of speech? When we feel free, do we have the right to do and say whatever we like? Or perhaps liberty is in fact the ability to create one’s own boundaries and make choices that also include choosing what not to do? Striving for one’s liberty, however we define it, has always been an act of courage and self-awareness. Both saying something or choosing not to say it may be understood as liberty. Yet if the “spoken” or “unspoken” is rooted in enslavement, the consequence can be violence…

Artists are generally perceived as free individuals with a socially sanctioned right of expressing and formulating their opinions. Art has carried the truths about freedom (and enslavement) since time immemorial.

Artistic freedom results from a creative opposition – a blessing or a curse, depending how one looks at it – against everything that shapes human life. This freedom gives the right to formulate opinions on just about any subject. Driven by the energy of a free human being, the artist critically looks at the world, undermining what others perceive as facts of life or revelations. Artists cannot allow to have their freedom of self-determination stifled. Civilisation harnesses this critical energy as the driving force behind changes in people’s outlook on life. Thanks to artists, the world becomes more modern, leaving obsolete values behind”.

– Maria Anna Potocka, Freedom in Art

Art and the City is the first, pilot edition of a non-festival organized by the ŁAŹNIA Centre for Contemporary Art. The event takes place in Gdańsk over the summer and focuses on the broadly understood public art. For ten days, artistic installations and interventions will form part of the urban tissue. In 2019, works created for the non-festival will be mostly visible around Dolne Miasto. Some of them will be exhibited in box-like galleries – containers or pavilions – acting as a point of departure for a number of accompanying events: concerts, workshops, lectures, performances or social actions. “Satellite” activities will be taking place around the whole city: one of our pavilions will be placed in 100cznia, and the My Liberty social poster campaign will spread across citylights and poster pillars throughout Gdańsk.

Art and the City is an opportunity to look at the latest developments in contemporary art exhibited outside gallery walls, spend some time outdoors, take part in creative activities and meet new people. Through these actions we want to refer to pressing social problems, think about the role of art in the urban space, look for different forms of communicating with viewers and new contexts for art.

We’re doing art in the city. Not another public art festival!