The Łódź Biennale returns after four years of inactivity. Although much has changed, the general idea remains the same - drawing heavily on the tradition of the legendary Construction in Process (Konstrukcja w procesie) project. The whole event takes place in public space, along Piotrkowska Street. The street itself is supposed to serve as an inspiration for the artists. Factories, apartments, shops, passages and bars along Piotrkowskaturn into a kind of art-space for the Biennale event...
Fokus Łodź Biennale 2010 returns after four years of inactivity. Although much has changed, the general idea remains the same drawing heavily on the tradition of the legendary Construction in Process (Konstrukcja w procesie)
The whole event takes place in public space, along Piotrkowska Street. The main street of Łodź, considered to be the longest boulevard in Europe, stretches for almost five kilometers in a straight line from Liberty Square to Independence Square. The title of the Biennale refers to the names of the citysquares crowning the northern and southern ends of PiotrkowskaStreet and opens a wide context of meanings and interpretations,including the context of recent European history.
The street itself is supposed to serve as an inspiration for the artists.Factories, apartments, shops, passages and bars along Piotrkowskaturn into a kind of art-space for Biennale. In accordance with the ideasof the Construction in Process, participating artists are present inŁódź have designed their works especially for this event and -during so called working days – realising them on location.
The Biennale's art will be hosted in the old building of the Łódź Philharmonic in ul. Piotrkowska 243 (presently Wyższa Szkoła Pedagogiczna), on the premises of fabrySTREFA and Łódź Art Center, in deserted flats, in the old factory buildings and house yards, in the city passages and gardens. The participating artists include Yael Bartana, Cezary Bodzianowski
, Anna Molska and Grupa Twożywo. A couple months ago the Club of the Fokus Łódź Biennale was established in Piotrkowska 118. The club also hosts the Dodi Reifenberg project Preparing the Canvas. The project is designed to symbolically prepare the city for the artistic activities which will soon follow. The Club also serves as the Biennale's information centre as well as the communal space for meetings, exhibitions and presentations.
The participants of the exhibition have been selected by an international jury which includes: the artist Mirosław Bałka
, Berlin's Kunst-Werke director Gabriela Horn, artistic director of the Serpentine Gallery, London, Hans Ulrich Obrist, director of Villa Romana in Florence, Angelika Stepken, director of Museum of art in Łódź
, Jarosław Suchan, the editor of Art in america" Richard Vine and the New York art curator Gregory Volk. The jury selected 52 artists from Europe, Americas, Asia and Oceania, whose works are now to see in Łódź. All works presented in Łódź have been designed especially for the Biennale, many of them have been aranged on the spot.
The main idea of the Biennale is that all artists are directly involved in the art process, fulfilling the event's primary goal - the artistic education and bringing art closer the general audience. Ulica Piotrkowska and the Biennale Club have been transformed into open, shared working place where the viewers can not only observe the artists at work but also become active participants in the working process.The Biennale comprises several accompanying exhibitions. These include Conceptualism. Photographic Medium, an extensive presentation of Polish conceptual photography in the Muzeum Miasta Łodzi, and "Wojciech Bruszewski. Perception Phenomena". The main exhibition will be complemented by a special event entitled "The Archeology of Piotrkowska Street" - a collective project in the city's public space with contributions from many artists, designed to highlight the symbolic and practical meaning of the street, its past and present.
The concept of the Lodz Biennale developed from an undertakingcalled "Construction in Process", organized from 1981-2000by artists in Poland and abroad. The creator and main organizerof "Construction in Process" was Ryszard Waśko, inspired to realise an international exhibition of art from the 1970s in Poland, afterparticipating in the Pier + Ocean exhibition at the Hayward Galleryin London.
The first "Construction in Process" event, which was held in 1981 in Łódź withthe support of "Solidarność" (the independent Polish trade union) shortlybefore the introduction of martial law, was the biggest presentationof international contemporary art in Eastern Europe. Today it seemsincredible to think that such a huge, independent exhibition of art,in which most of the artists participated in person, could be organisedin the midst of a severe economic and political crisis.
No doubt the hot political and social climate dominating Poland inthe last days of Solidarity was an attraction; artists not only coveredthe cost of a journey to Łódź, but also eagerly committed themselvesto the realization of the exhibition, despite many organisationaland financial difficulties. The solidarity and collaboration betweenartists, rarely observed in contemporary western art, together withgenuine social cooperation, for example with trade union works committees,contributed to a unique experience, which one critic referredto as a "realized utopian idea".
However the phenomenon of "Construction in Process" is not onlyan outcome of its "founding myth" but also of a series of similarlyintense and authentic co-operations in subsequent editions in diff erentsocial and cultural situations all over the world. "Construction inProcess" editions were organized in Łódź (1981, 1990, 1993), Munich(1985), the Negev Desert in Israel (1995), Melbourne (1998) and Bydgoszcz(2000), where crucial transformations took place.
For example, the 1981 edition signified the last days of the Solidarity movementbefore the introduction of martial law; the 1990 edition coincidedwith the triumphal return to Poland (after the victorious Polish"Round Table" - Agreement); and the 1995 edition took place duringa short period of peace in Israel (between signing a peacefulagreement in Oslo and the outbreak of the next uprising).The exhibition in Israel entitled Co-existence embodied a visionof peaceful co-existence between Palestinians and Israelis, a utopianidea realized only in art, through collaboration between artists.
From 1990, "Construction in Process" was organized by the InternationalArtists' Museum, a group of selected representativesfrom the artistic community of Łódź including the founder RyszardWaśko, who subsequently organized the first Łódź Biennale in 2004.Many members of the original group continue working togetheron Fokus Łódź Biennale 2010.
Official opening: September 11, 2010, City of Łódź Museum (ul. Ogrodowa 15), at 8:00 PM.
The Biennale runs from September 11 through October 10, 2010.
For more info see: www.biennalelodz.pl
Source: press release.