News and Events


7. Grolsh Artboom Festival

Publication date: 2015-09-02

25 September – 9 October 2015

City vs. Countryside?

6. Grolsh Artboom FestivalTransformation of rural areas into cities is the theme of this year’s Grolsch ArtBoom Festival, coming to Kraków in the autumn instead of spring for the first time.
A hundred years ago, the merger of Kraków and Podgórze was the crowning achievement of the process of creating Great Kraków. By joining adjacent communes, the total area of the city expanded sixfold since 1910. In 1941, the German occupying forces added dozens more local villages, including the famous Bronowice and Wola Justowska. After the war, Nowa Huta was built on former agricultural land to the east of the city; originally a separate town, it became one of Kraków’s districts in 1951. During the 1970s, the city “absorbed” dozens more local communes, and today it covers a far greater area than it did a century ago. What’s life like now in different parts of Kraków? How much of its former atmosphere has been preserved? The curators, artists, activists, sociologists, architects, philosophers and anthropologists participating in the festival have been asked about their understanding of the presence of the countryside in the city, and about the city’s influence on the realities of life in the countryside. We will search for answers between 25 September and 9 October.

Peasant origins
The majority of Polish society has peasant roots, so why do we perceive this aspect of our present lives as an embarrassing legacy? The project Wsiosko! at the Rydlówka Museum of Young Poland (Przemek Branas, Bartek Buczek, Karolina Kowalska, Hubert Gromny and Xavery Wolski, Anna Molska, Irena and Jerzy Morawski, Marta Sala, Szymon Szewczyk, Piotr Żyliński) will be centred around various prejudices and stereotypes in how city dwellers perceive the countryside. Located on the Vistula Boulevards, the exhibition Village People by Daniel Rycharski and Szymon Maliborski inaugurates the mobile Museum of Alternative Social Histories created by the duo. At the foot of Wawel Hill, the authors present the results of their search for a contemporary, rural identity and attempt to create narratives explaining the actual reality from the perspective of “people from the countryside” and their stories. Alicja Rogalska’s project Cultivation. National Short Agricultural Film Competition (next to the building of the University of Agriculture) focuses on films uploaded to YouTube by young farmers, breaking down stereotypes and showing that their work brings them pride and satisfaction. Honorata Martin’s solitary journeys through provincial Poland (Going Out in Poland, 2013) present many facets to today’s countryside. She shows the results during a meeting at Bunkier Sztuki.

Alicja Rogalska, project Cultivation

(Un)tamed city
The Ukrainian artist Mykola Ridnyi was inspired by the story of farmers forced to abandon their home village in John Steinbeck’s novel Grapes of Wrath. His work In Pieces in Wola Justowska is a symbolic illustration of how rural areas are being absorbed by ever expanding cities. Małgorzata Kuciewicz and Simone De Iacobis from the art collective CENTRALA remind us how the designs of original modernist housing estates took account of the fact that most of their future residents would be the first generation to live in a city, bringing with them traditional customs and needs. The developments included spaces for flower boxes and frames for hanging out laundry. These minor elements which once made life in cities easier and more pleasant have gradually disappeared from the design of high-rise estates. Elements such as the titular Porch, where you could sit down for a chat with a neighbour…

Rakowiec district in Warsaw, photo from 1962, design by Oskar and Zofia Hansen, 1959

Uncontrolled capitalism which has had a negative impact on the direction of city development is the theme of the cycle of Oliver Ressler’s critical billboards Failed Investments. The works by the Austrian artist appear in the former villages of Bronowice and Zwierzyniec, littered with massive advertising boards.

Oliver Ressler, project Failed Investments

Piotr Lutyński’s Living Lantern recalls traditional rural roadside chapels, and the lanterns of the dead created in Kraków since the 14th century. Once upon a time the points of light were a way of navigating the city, providing information on the location of cemeteries and hospitals, later acting as small chapels; today, stripped of their former function, they are becoming lost in the cityscape. The symbolic installation by the road from Bronowice towards the centre, at the intersection of Czarnowiejska and Kijowska streets, marks the boundary of the student village. Marek Firek invites the public to join the happening Dog Sunday recalling Kraków’s popular annual Dachshund Parade, and on a deeper level symbolising townies’ desire to maintain contact with nature. According to the author, dovecotes, aviaries and stables are all remains of magical thinking. The canine procession sets off from the National Museum, heading to the Main Market Square. Dogs will also be invited to participate in the creation of a huge painting...

Piotr Lutyński, object

Returning to the “provinces”
Stach Ruksza’s curatorial project Cavalleria rusticana (Rustic Chivalry) at Skład Długa comprises works by the performer Michał Łagowski juxtaposed with corresponding objects. The title recalls the opera by Pietro Mascagni – one of the first examples of verismo, where an exalted story is replaced by an ordinary everyday, and the countryside is depicted realistically instead of being idealised. The British arts agency Grizedale Arts transports the artistic world to the historic farm Lawson Park, turning farming into a work of art. Their Cracovian project was inspired by the history of Zwierzyniec, which has maintained its suburban character until the present day. One of the original, historic buildings will become the titular Fermentation House. The installation was created in collaboration with Karen Guthrie, and the starting point is a collection of bacterial cultures used during food preservation processes at the artist’s rural home and at the site of Grizedale Arts.

View onto Św. Bronisławy Street, 1904, photo byWalery Eljasz Radzikowski from the collection of the National Archive in Kraków

In recent years, the painter Leon Tarasewicz has been stepping away from limitations of canvas: he creates artworks on walls, columns, ceilings, staircases and pavements. The artist believes his home village of Waliły near Białystok to be the most important place in the world. His installation Waliły – Kraków – Waliły (a large-scale painting to be walked over) symbolically leads travellers arriving at Kraków’s station into an atmosphere of a city associated with culture and the arts.

Identity of space
Projects held in the city space will be accompanied by discussion panels. The Architectural Institute Foundation hosts meetings Chałupa – Cube – Cottage, discussing the gradual disappearance of Bronowice, and City of Gardens, City of Fences searches for answers to the question why contemporary cities are home to rapidly growing numbers of barriers, gates, railings, security company plaques and CCTV cameras. Bogna Świątkowska, founder of the Bęc Zmiana Foundation, presents the sociological debate Countryside in the City. The discussion will focus on the intertwining of the countryside and the city, rural space being “eaten up” by new housing developments, and differences in how we perceive space, its merits and drawbacks, depending on social group and place of residence.

From Katowice and Sopot
One of the traditions of ArtBoom is working with the ArtLoop Festival in Sopot: this year, it will be the project by Anna Królikiewicz. The Gdańsk artist has created a site specific installation Honey/Moon recalling Stanisław Wyspiański’s The Wedding. As part of the Katowice City of Gardens Cultural Institution, the village of Kurówko unveils Daniel Rycharski’s Monument to a Peasant, inspired by prints by Albrecht Dürer. The object then revives the ritual of peregrination of holy paintings by setting off on a journey to Kraków where it will visit various sites linked with the city’s rural history.

Albrecht Dürer, Monument to the Vanquished Peasants, 1525

Transformation of countryside into a city
This was the theme of this year’s Fresh Zone competition for first-time participants preparing a design in the city space. Winners were Anna Pichura, Jolanta Nowaczyk and Błażej Kraus for Modular Plot of the Future, Aleksandra Goral and Aleksandra Korzelska for I Woke up Like This, and Karolina Balcer for Private Area.

The organisers aimed to study the process of transformation of rural areas into cities and vice versa, and tackle the prevailing myths and stereotypes in how we perceive the “urban” and the “rural”. How do the countryside and the city superimpose onto one another? And are such divisions even still valid?  (Dorota Dziunikowska, "Karnet" monthly)

7. Grolsch ArtBoom Festival w Krakowie
25 września – 9 października 2015
Organiser: Krakow Festival Office
Artistic Director: Małgorzata Gołębiewska


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