Welcome to Gdańsk, where walls of blocks, entrances to garages, underground tunnels and columns in passages under bridges serve as canvas, and the buildings of the former Municipal Baths house the Centre for Contemporary Art.It is here that you can tour the city on the trail of famous murals, some of them being trademarks of artists, and get closer to the everyday life of the inhabitants.
Every Londoner knows “Girl with Balloon”, an unusual mural designed by Banksy. Similarly, every resident of Tri-City knows the author of “A girl playing with a cat” at ul. Szara in Gdańsk. This is Looney, or Marek Rybkowski, whose murals grew out of the graffiti culture. Looney, who was firstly immersed in graffiti art, then became a member of the hip-hop band Deluks, finally found his way in life in creating murals. As the artist himself claims, he tries to balance between orders and his own creative expression, which is why some of his murals, which give colour to the shabby city walls, are not only commissioned works, but also a piece of the artist’s soul. Rybkowski most willingly paints children, animals and the elderly, which he places in carefree situations. The most famous murals by Looney in Gdańsk are: a girl with a basket of apples on the wall of Primary School No. 14 in Siedlce, a picture of people floating in the boat which decorates the entrance to the block at Zakopiańska street, and his latest work – a mural in tribute to health care workers, which he painted on one of the pillars of the ramp at the intersection of Siennicka and Elbląska streets.
Piotr Jaworski, or Tuse
Moving on the map of the Tri-City murals, it is impossible to ignore the photorealistic portraits of Piotr Jaworski, better known under the pseudonym Tuse, which decorate walls, garages and clubs. Jaworski’s works can be seen at Wrzeszcz Pointz, at the back of the Sfinks 700 club in Sopot or inside and outside the Aioli Restaurant at 6 Partyzntów (Wrzeszcz). The murals of Tuse, who belongs to the Gdańsk DSC (Double S Crew) group, are first and foremost portraits of people – thanks to him, Zbigniew Wodecki smiles at the locals and tourists (intersection of Generała Józefa Fiszera and Do Studzienka in Wrzeszcz), and it was also him who commemorated Krzysztof Klenczon (mural on the former Non Stop building in Sopot), as well as local artists Sebastian Münch and Brunon Zwarra.
Memling in pixels in Zaspa
It is a must-see for those who, apart from cultural places in galleries and museums also appreciate walking around local blocks of flats. It is here, in Zaspa district, that you can see the daily life of the inhabitants up close, as well as the “portrait” of President Lech Wałęsa, whose pixelated mural, created on the 25th anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to Wałęsa, is a real attraction for fans of street art. Lech Wałęsa is part of the Monumental Painting Collection. In addition to Wałęsa, in Zaspa you can see Magma/Round Table (ul. Skarżyńskiego 14a) – a mural referring to the 20th anniversary of the round table deliberations and the works of Witkacy; Chopin on a block housing estate (ul. Dywizjonu 303 15f); as well as Memling (ul. Skarżyńskiego 6F), inspired by a medieval painting by Hans Memling entitled “The Last Judgment”. The author of this large-format work collection is Piotr Szwabe, a wall and easel painter, spatial forms installer, scholarship holder of the College of Art in London in the class led by Jorg Immendorff.
Gdańsk – the city of palimpsests
Gdańsk is famous for giving its architecture a second life, not only transforming walls and garages into canvas, but also changing urban spaces and giving them new functionality. This is how the “Łaźnia” Centre for Contemporary Art was established in the place of the former Municipal Baths, which, as part of its interdisciplinary activity, also exhibits outside its walls, promotes and presents various fields of art, and supports young artists. The program of CCA Łaźnia and CEA Łaźnia 2 includes not only exhibitions, but also undertakings, which, due to their popularity, have taken the form of regular meetings that perfectly fit into the Region Development Strategy and Revitalization Programs. One of them is the Outdoor Gallery of the City of Gdańsk, which since 2004 has been creating a collection of permanent works of art located in the city space, and revitalizing neglected city districts. The project included: LKW Gallery – recognizable by everyone thanks to the truck stuck under the viaduct, as well as Invisible Gate designed by Front Studio from New York, Staging Anonymous by Dominek Lejman, Uncovered Esther Stocker and Amber Drops by Fred Hatt and Daniel Schlapfer.
Parakino and KinoPort
The fact that Gdansk thinks about all areas of art and their mutual influence and connection is also evidenced by Parakino, which is part of the activities of the aforementioned Łaźnia CCA. By presenting the history of the film, the project invites to discussion not only filmmakers, but also all artists who want to develop or get closer to video art, which goes beyond the limits of cinema and shows the perspective of the development of visual arts. For residents of Nowy Port (and not only) there is also KinoPort – an arthouse (CEA Łaźnia 2), whose repertoire consists of a wide spectrum of European films, as well as is an opportunity to see film classics and participate in educational projects and reviews together with invited guests. The project operates as part of a typical neighbourhood cinema – it favours local integration among residents.The following cultural events are organized as part of Łaźnia CCA: Mystics – Writers – Crazy – a series of meetings with authors, the In Out Festival, which includes competitions for video works, animations, experiments, documentaries and feature film etudes, and the animation studio Animujemy Gdańsk.
A city of many faces
Gdańsk is an important city in the Polish history, but also a great example of how by functioning in the well-connected Tri-City, you can combine many aspects of art, making Gdynia, Sopot and Gdańsk an extraordinary place to rest by the sea, an inspiration for artists and a spiritual element of adventures.
Do Portu Lotniczego Gdańsk im. Lecha Wałęsy pasażerowie mogą dostać się pociągami kursującymi na czterech trasach linii Pomorskiej Kolei Metropolitalnej. Gdańsk Port Lotniczy znajduje się bezpośrednio przy terminalu pasażerskim T2 i jest z nim połączony specjalną kładką.
Kursują również autobusy miejskie linii 110, 210 i 122. Minibusy obsługują bardziej odległe trasy.