Art group founded in 1999 by Joanna Górska, Wojciech "Kiwi" Jaruszewski and Rafał Góralski in Toruń.
Since 2004, the group has been run by Joanna Górska, born in 1973 and Rafał Góralski, born in 1973. The artists collaborate in major part on joint projects, mainly based on urban space and murals. Both live and work in Toruń.
The group specialises in creating and presenting art in the public space. They have an ongoing billboard exhibition that has been running since 1999 on Szosa Chełmińska in Toruń - the billboards are provided free of charge by AMS from Poznań, allowing the group to exhibit its own works as well as those created by guest artists. The billboards are in the immediate vicinity of the largest market in the city and boast a sizable audience. The gallery displays art on billboards on Różana Street, on advertising posts and on mobile billboards, in the streets in Torun and other cities. Gallery artists also create murals, posters, as well as outdoor events and social events in the city and organize exhibitions for other artists. Galeria Rusz is the founder and organizer of the International Festival of Art on Billboards - Art Moves.
As Monika Weychert-Waluszko writes about the work of Joanna Górska:
Her art is like a mirror. With masterful precision she portrays her neighbors, gallery regulars, artists, but also 'the buffet gang' or 'divers', people who go to exhibitions to drink and in some cases, eat, as well as transvestites or grandmothers, who spend time observing their neighbors from their windows. As described in the title of one of her exhibitions they are 'ordinary-extraordinary' people. For me, this is the key to Górska's work.
Galeria Rusz had a modest beginning, focusing on spontaneous communication of art in the public sphere and eventually evolving into a systematic undertaking. They have managed to create a unique place, perhaps the longest-acting billboard gallery in the world, continuously presenting new work in this medium, a new piece appears once a month. The gallery's art is a social experiment of art in the public place and visual communication. Artists exhibit their work in everyday life where it can be experienced by those who do not visit galleries and exhibition halls.
The gallery functions as a platform for presenting art as part of non-institutional and non-commercial activity, the work is painted and glued onto the billboard and there ends its existence. Galeria Rusz has exhibited work by artists including Paweł Susid, Jadwiga Sawicka, Rafał Bujnowski, Paweł Jarodzki, Elżbieta Jabłońska, Anna Witkowska, Twożywo group, Les Levin and Janek Koza.
Galeria Rusz is also involved in other activities including Grupa Moher Mural which created a large-scale wall painting, as well as taking part in Jedność Mikro (Micro Unity) painting small areas on walls at homes or offices for free. It has also initiated numerous undertakings that involve both art and social concerns. In 2004 Ciepło (Heat), giving hot tea with lemon to people walking in the Old Town in Toruń on a frosty winter day.
In 2006, the leading artists of the gallery were invited to work on a mural at the Warsaw Uprising Museum. A group of artists that included Edward Dwurnik and Twożywo group joined Galeria Rusz on Wykreślanie (Erasing). In the same year they made a mural for the Płock town hall, entitled Zielony wiersz (Green Line) and refers to a line by poet Władysław Broniewski. The mural, measuring 5x14 metres, shows couples in love, residing permanently in the picturesque Żupy Solne park.
Galeria Rusz is highly rated by critics and environmental curators. It received a nomination for the Deutsche Bank award in 2007 and participation in the post-competition exhibition "Spojrzenia" ("Views") at the Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw.
Author: Ewa Gorządek, July 2010.
Photo credit: Galeria Rusz, "We Suffered More Than the Czechs, Belarussians, Lithuanians, Jews, Russians, Poles, Germans, Slovaks, Ukrainians", photo from the "Patriotism of Tomorrow" exhibition, Instytut Sztuki Wyspa, Gdańsk, 2006
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