Urban Forms Lodz 4 Cultures Festival 2017
Lodz 4 Cultures Festival is over. This year the event has left some permanent traces in the city space, namely 7 new murals. Urban Art was a vital part of the whole Festival, therefore interesting artists based in Argentina, Great Britain, Italy, Israel and Poland came to Lodz to participate in the Lodz 4 Cultures Festival.
Despite the unfavourable weather (rain, rain and even more rain) eleven artistic interventions was carried out. They were inspired both by their locations as well as by the theme of this year’s Festival – „Alphabet of Dialogue”. The fact that the year 2017 is the year of the Avant-garde in Poland was a reason to invite artists who are searching for their own original expressions, not only in forms, but also in artistic creeds. In September 7 murals, two temporary installations and a permanent one appeared in the city area.
Most of the citizens know this place very well. It is a yard connecting Jaracza Street with the infamous „Włókienka” (a place of very bad reputation). An abandoned, destroyed building supported by wooden pieces evokes the image of a graduation tower, hence the popular name of the place – Ciechocinek (a Polish Spa with a large complex of graduation towers). The location inspired Kasia Breska (a female artist based in Leeds, UK) to create a unique, colourful piece, corresponding with the structure of elevation, the rhythm of empty windows or wood logs. For the artist, every space is a special ecosystem, a habitat co-created by human beings, animals, architecture and time. Consisting of geometrical forms and straight graphical signs, „Totems of Lodz” enters into dialogue with its surroundings, as well as with the past and the present of the place.
The strong female team of this year was even strengthened by two British artists – the Nomad Clan. They come from Manchester, that’s why they found their way through the city so easily and appreciated its postindustrial charm. They dedicated their mural Mokosh (created on the wall of the former factory) to all women as being part of the creation of industrial Lodz. The title is a Slavic mother-goddess, patroness of women and their activities such as spinning and weaving. The opening of the mural was enriched by the energetic concert of the Folk’n Roll team and the performance of the LINEACT group, „Entwined” – showing the ordinary life of spinners of Lodz.
Although Polish soc-realistic architecture has a group of its devotees, most Polish people do not appreciate it at all. One of its heavy, grey buildings (Primary School nr 45, Bojowników Getta street 3) inspired Opiemme to create two murals, connected by a common motif – strzemienica (fonts invented in the 1930s by a famous avant-garde artist closely connected with Lodz, Władysław Strzemiński). This original font is a repetitive decorative motif on the vertical stripes on the front façade; stairs as well create a frame around the calligram on the back wall of the school. The calligram itself refers to the local motif – The Old Town Park is unofficially called Park Śledzia (Herring Park), due to its functioning as a fish market in the Jewish Area of the city before WW2.