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Fokus Lodz Biennale 2010

Different venues, Lodz

The Biennale entitled 'From the Liberty Square to the Independence Square' is an international and interdisciplinary event dedicated to modern art. The exhibition will be situated in public space along the Piotrkowska Street. The aim of the organizers is a creative use of an urban, aesthetic and sociological speci icity of the street. The Biennale is directed by Ryszard Wasko, artist and creator of 'Construction in Process' - a series of exhibitions organized by artists in the 80s and 90s all around the world.

comunicato stampa

Fokus Łódź Biennale 2010 will take place from September 11th to October 10th in Łódź, Poland. The Biennale, this year entitled “From the Liberty Square to the Independence Square”, is an international and interdisciplinary event dedicated to modern art. The exhibition will be situated in public space along the Piotrkowska Street. The aim of the organizers is a creative use of an urban, aesthetic and sociological speci icity of the street. Thanks to the Biennale Łódź should become an important place on the Polish cultural map.

The Biennale is organized by the Museum of the City of Łódź, and its art director is Ryszard Waśko, artist and creator of ”Construction in Process” - a series of exhibitions organized by artists in the 80s and 90s all around the world. The artists taking part in Fokus Łódź Biennale 2010 have been selected by an international Selection Committee: Mirosław Balka, artist, Gabriele Horn, director of Kunst-Werke in Berlin, Hans Ulrich Obrist, art director of the Serpentine Gallery in London, Angelika Stepken, director of Villa Romana in Florence, Jarosław Suchan, director of Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, Richard Vine, editor of Art in America and the team of curators Gregory Volk & Sabine Russ.

The organizers decided to extend the reach of Fokus Łódź Biennale 2010 to other artistic undertakings, so called ”pre-events”, referring mainly to Conceptual Art and Fluxus - two radical trends in the 60s and 70s, which had a big in fluence on several generations of artists on both sides of the Wall. The series of “pre-events” was inaugurated in November through workshops conducted by Dodi Reifenberg as part of his on-going project “Preparing the Canvas”. The main idea of the project is cleaning the city and preparing the space for artists` activities.

The next step was the opening of the Fokus Łódź Biennale Club in 118 Piotrkowska Street, which became a meeting point, a place for exhibitions and presentations, and an information centre of the Biennale. A direct participation of the artist on the site is vital. The works of art will be created during the so- called “workshop days” before the opening of the exhibition in September The main goal of the event is artistic education and introduction of contemporary art to the wide audience. The street will be changed into an open, common studio - citizens of Łódź and tourists, families with children and elderly people, students and art critics will not only be able to observe artists during their work, but also to participate in the creative process.

The website and blog are online, printed publications and a newspaper will appear soon. A catalogue containing the documentation of all activities of Fokus Łódź Biennale 2010 is going to be published as well.

Origin of Fokus Łódź Biennale 2010: Construction in Process

The concept of a Biennale in Łódź is a development of the exhibition cycle ”Construction in Process”, organized in 1981 - 2000 by artists in Poland and abroad. Creator of ”Construction in Process” and its main organizer was Ryszard Waśko. A direct impulse to accomplish an international exhibition with art of the 70s in Poland, was his participation in the ”Pier + Ocean”-exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in London.

The first ”Construction in Process”, accomplished in Łódź with the support of Solidarity (Polish trade union) just before martial law and introduced in 1981, was the biggest presentation of western art in Eastern Europe. In the situation of a severe economic and political crisis, a huge, independent exhibition of modern art had been organized, which seemed to be an impossible undertaking. Most of the artists, worldwide known names, participated in person - the hot climate of social events dominating in Poland in the last days of Solidarity undoubtedly was an attraction for them.

The artists not only covered the costs of a journey themselves, but also eagerly committed themselves to a realization of the exhibition, against all organizational and financial di iculties. Solidarity and collaboration between artists, rarely observed in modern western art, and a real cooperation with social environment (for example with workers committees of the Solidarity-movement) contributed to an unique experience, important for a future artistic work. But the phenomenon of ”Construction in Process” is made up not only by that peculiar ”founding myth” called by one of the critics a ”accomplished utopian idea”, but also a fact that a similarly hot and authentic atmosphere of cooperation was successfully created in future editions in di ferent places all over the world, in di ferent social and cultural situations.

From 1990 ”Construction in Process” was organized by the International Artists’ Museum founded in Łódź thanks to an initiative of Ryszard Waśko. The “Artists’ Museum”-team consisted of selected representatives of the polish artistic scene - many of them are currently engaged in the realization of Fokus Łódź Biennale 2010. Seven editions of “Construction in Process” took place in di ferent f places all over the world, in Łódź (1981, 1990, 1993), in Munich (1985), in Israel (1994), in Melbourne (1998) and in Bydgoszcz (2000), there, where crucial transformations took place.

”Construction in Process” was an international art festival, which depending on time and place changed its face, re flecting current cultural conditions. For example 1981 signi ies the last days of the Solidarity-movement before introducing martial law, 1990 indicates a triumphal return to Poland (after the victorious Polish “Round Table”-Agreement), 1995 represents a short period of peace in Israel (between signing a peaceful agreement in Oslo and the outbreak of the next uprising ). The exhibition in Israel entitled ”Co-existence” embodied a vision of peaceful co- existence between Palestinians and Israelis, an utopian idea realized only in art, in collaboration between artists.

Ryszard Waśko
Ryszard Waśko, an artist acting in many fields of art (photography, film, video, installation, painting and drawing). In 1970-1975 he studied at the National Film School in Łódź, where he joined the Workshop of the Film Form, an avant-garde artistic group, created by painters, film-makers, critics, poets, philosophers and scientists, who experimented mainly in a field of film and photography. After graduation Waśko worked at the National Film School as an assistant lecturer and academic teacher. In the 1970s he took part in such artistic events as: the XIIth Biennale in São Paulo, Documenta 6 in Kassel, the 3rd Festival of Avant-garde Cinema in London, the Biennale in Sydney and the XIth Biennale in Paris. In 1979 he founded the Archive of Contemporary Thought, a characteristic art and thought exchange forum, created by artists for artists. In 1981-2000 he organized an event called the ”Construction in Process” in Poland and abroad. In 1990-1992 he was an art director of the P.S.1 Museum ( currently a branch of the Museum of Modern Art in New York) and the Clocktower Gallery in New York. He participated in many group exhibitions, among others in the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Kunsthalle in Hamburg, Biennale in Venice, Tate Modern Gallery in London and Museum of Modern Art in New York. His works are to be found in private and museum collections all over the Word, among others in the Museum of Art in Łódź. The artist used to be an academic teacher at many prestigious universities, among others at the St. Martin’s School of Art in London, Hochschule der Künste in Berlin, Freie Kunstakademie in Essen and Brandeis University in Boston. In 1997 he was elected president of the International Artists Forum IKG. In 2004 he became professor at the Valand School of Fine Arts in Gothenburg.
Since 2008 Ryszard Waśko lives and works in Berlin.

Artists and critics on ”Construction in Process”

The last week of October 1981 in Łódź has become a part of history of art thanks to an exhibition called “Construction in Process”. We have to deal with the whole system of historical, social and artistic implications, which half a century earlier (in form of a art collection created by the “a.r .” group) were born in this city, in order to appear in such a mature form, after many decades of latent life. The initiative of Łódź remarkably di fers from similar artistic events organized in Poland so far, not only because many outstanding artists from all over the world came to Łódź at their own expense, but mainly because of the fact that the exhibition is set directly in the present life of the city... [Anda Rottenberg, art critic]

The most amazing thing is that it actually happens. That all these people come to this place. [Piotr Kurka, artist]

It`s an event which can be experienced only once in one generation. [Richard Nonas, artist] It`s an uncompromising exhibition, which doesn`t follow any trends. [Manfred Schneckenburger “Documenta 7” director]

That's an exhibition, which concerns not only art, but also beauty and troubles, conflicts and enchantments, which simply happen between people, and which are of fundamental importance here. Waśko and others have found a way to make the whole context of everyday life part of artistic practice. It`s an unquestionable value in the context of other huge exhibitions. [Gregory Volk, art critic]

I belong to the large group of people who think that ”Construction in Process” and the experience gained in Łódź, are a vital value to the world of art . [Lawrence Weiner, artist]

Each “Construction in Process” teaches me something new. An artist must display his modesty and humbleness, he must collaborate with other artists, and he must accept the local, sometimes very hard, conditions. [Ann Noël, artist]

I was invited by Emmett Williams and I didn`t know what to expect. Now, after a week, one single word comes to my mind: “Humanity”. [Florian Mutschler artist]

The only way to get to know the truth about ”Construction in Process”, is taking part in it. [Sabine Russ, art critic]

Łódź Biennale 2004 and 2006

Łódź Biennale is an intermedia and interdisciplinary event dedicated to modern art continuing the ideas of ”Construction in Process”. 2004 the first Biennale took place, initiated by Ryszard Waśko and organized by the International Artists’ Museum. It was situated in the former Uniontex-Factory in 3 Tymienieckiego Street, were old storehouses were renovated and converted into exposition spaces. Janusz Głowacki became art director and the artists were selected by a team of curators appointed by Ryszard Waśko. Its members were: Zdenka Badovinac, Leon Golub, Robert C. Morgan, Won il Rhee, Anda Rottenberg, Gregory Volk, Lilly Wei, Lawrence Weiner and Emmett Williams. A Polish part entitled ”Palimpsest Museum” was prepared by Aneta Szyłak, and a part with artists from Łódź entitled ”Within Four Walls” by Grzegorz Musiał.

An important consequence of the Łódź Biennale was the establishment of the Lodz Art Center in 2005, located in the biennale exhibition space in 3 Tymienieckiego Street. This institution became, together with the Artists’ Museum, a co-organizer of the third edition of Łódź Biennale in 2006. The second entitled “Mentality” was prepared by the curator Jolanta Ciesielska, some accompanying events and the inauguration of “Construction in Process-Museum”, founded at the 25th anniversary of the main event, took place as well.

Fokus Łódź Biennale 2010

The third edition of the Biennale is organized by the Museum of the City of Łódź. Its art director is Ryszard Waśko, artist and creator of ”Construction in Process”. It will take place in public space, along the Piotrkowska Street. The main street of Łódź, considered to be the longest boulevard in Europe, stretches for almost five kilometers in a straight line, from the Liberty Square to the Independence Square. The title of the Biennale refers to the names of the city squares crowning the northern and southern end of Piotrkowska Street - opening a wide context of meanings and interpretations. The organizers hope, that the street itself will be an inspiration for the artists.

Galleries, factories, apartments, shops, passages and bars will be wide open for the authors of all the individual proposals. According to the ideas of "Construction in Process” a direct participation of artists in the realization of their projects will be necessary, enabling collaboration between artists and mutual promotion. The participants, who were selected by an international jury, made up of recognized artists, curators and critics. After an artist accepts the invitation, the process of producing his conception begins. Fokus Łódź Biennale 2010 dif fers from other world exhibitions, as works are designed especially for this event, and as the visitors of the Biennale will be able to see the next stages of the works coming into existence, or even co-participate in preparations for the exhibition.

Artists participating: Rosa Barba, Simona Barbera, Ivan Bazak, Gudjon Bjarnason, Cezary Bodzianowski, Laura Bruce, Marta Chilindron, Tacita Dean, Cao Fei, Dani Gal, Erika Harrsch, Fabrice Hyber, Ran Hwang, Zuzanna Janin, SoYoun Jeong, Kennedy Browne, Thomas Kilpper, Miru Kim, Grzegorz Klaman, Daniel Knorr, Kitty Kraus, Piotr Kurka, Kamil Kuskowski, Wojciech Leder, Via Lewandowsky, Kalin Lindena, Jong Il Ma, Ati Maier, Daniel Malone, Angelika Markul, Anna Molska, Robert C. Morgan, Marina Naprushkina, Sarah Ortmeyer, Gabor Osz, Alexandre Perigot, Dan Perjovschi, Joyce Pensato, Dodi Reifenberg, Ragna Robertsdottir, Tomas Ruller, Karin Sander, Ward Shelley, Tavares Strachan, Nahum Tevet, Luc Tuymans, TWOZYWO, Tomas Vanek, Marek Wasilewski, Clemens von Wedemeyer & Arthur Zalewski, Zorka Wollny & Anna Szwajgier, O Zhang, Piotr Zylinski

International Selection Committee:

Miroslaw Balka
Gabriele Horn
Hans Ulrich Obrist
Angelika Stepken
Jaroslaw Suchan
Richard Vine
Gregory Volk
Ryszard Wasko

Curatorial Team:

Artistic Director: Ryszard Wasko
Executive Director: Adam Klimczak
Project Manager: Ewelina Chmielewska
Executive Curator: Lucja Wasko-Mandes

Contact: Fokus Lodz Biennale Office
Al. Kosciuszki 56 / 9
90-428 Lodz, Poland
tel: 0048 42 6363602
Biennale-Venue-Maps available at

Opening September 11, 11am.
Official Opening: Museum of the City of Lodz, 15 Ogrodowa Street, Lodz, September the 11th, 2010, 8 p.m.

Different venues, Lodz
Several dozen exhibition areas along Piotrkowska Street
All areas are accessible to the public from September 11th, 11 a.m.
free admission

Fokus Lodz Biennale 2010
dal 10/9/2010 al 9/10/2010

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