It has taken a while for me to get my head around how to present our fantastic days in Łódź. My partner in crime has been very good … she has done some amazing posts about and from Łódź and supplied brilliant images, Ann-Christine@Leya – See the World in a Grain of Sand. So I will try not to fill you the same information as she has done .. and the experience in a different angle to hers – I hope. *smile
I knew very little about Łódź when I read about their yearly “Light Move Festival” and I knew that was something I wanted live through – when I talked with Ann-Christine about the festival she was all ears and eyes too. Then when I looked into what 3rd biggest city in Poland has to offer I came across something called Urban Forms Gallery.
In 2009 Teresa Latuszewska-Syrda and Michał Biezynski founded Urban Forms, the foundation responsible for the collection. One year prior, Teresa had seen the Tate Museum’s 2008 exhibition in which 6 artists were invited to paint the façade of the museum visible from the Thames.
She then began to consider the numerous empty walls in Łódź as potential canvases for a similar project.
In November 2009, Teresa and Michał presented the idea of creating a permanent gallery of murals in Łódź to the council.
Although supportive of the idea, the council originally insisted there was no money available to finance such a project and today it’s the major tourist attraction in the city.
“Urban Forms Gallery is the main project of the foundation. It is a permanent street art exhibition in a public space in Lodz. As for now, it consists of over 30 large format paintings, murals, created directly on the side wall elevations of buildings placed in the city centre. They form an artistic trail open to everyone: citizens and tourists. As taking care of the high artistic value of the whole undertaking is fundamental, we invite artists who are world leaders in creating street art in public spaces.
The gallery is situated in a unique architecture of Lodz city centre with blank walls along main streets. It also refers to cultural heritage in the form of numerous and well preserved advertisement murals created between 1960 and 1980. Because of this, Lodz becomes an important centre of street art in Poland and in the world. (text: http://www.isupportstreetart.com)
And what I understand has Gdansk also got a fantastic gallery those days.
For Łódź their website provides a map of where to find all the amazing art and of course I had a printout, and we walked after that map – I thought! Looking now at my images of the art I understand that we got very few of the real ones and we missed the major ones, but that gives us a reason to return. Playing with the thought already. Playing at a Christmas in Łódź
So Saturday I decided (I were the tour leader, totally self-designate) that we were going to go “street art hunting” and with the map (didn’t do us much good with the hunting) in my hand and sunshine in our face we took on Łódź at it’s best. We walked … walked … walked … walked … walked … walked … walked … walked … walked and WALKED!!!!
One of the first murals we saw was just off the main street, Piotrkowska Street, a couple of blocks from our hotel – but that art had nothing to do with Urban Forms – it is the Łódzkie Towarzystwo Muzyczne im. K. Szymanowskiego – and it’s some kind of concert hall and organisation for Polish musicians – and the people portraited in the mural is Polish musicians, the whole building was cover with people standing on balconies and in windows, but this part became my favourite.
We were really art hunting and we walked up and down the streets … we must have walked miles that day, but we also meet a very urban city – with an ultra-modern new railway station (Łódź Fabryczna) and old power plant now turned into an exhibition centre and planetarium called EC1.
Łódź Fabryczna, what a place …. first built in 1848 and then demolished in 2010 and reopened in modern glory, December 2016. Fantastic how they have combined material and textures … the station wasn’t that busy so they used the open spaces around the ticket hall as an art gallery. Absolutely spotless, both outside and inside … it is shining.
We got the chance to stand and sit under the rainbow – at The Unicorn Stable (Piotrkowska Centrum Tram Station) – and amazing structure … finished in 2015 and designed by Warsaw-based architecture practice Foroom. MKP is the public transport company – and it providing the city with 230 tram stations and 17 lines, plus all the buses.
After the enjoying experience of Piotrkowska Centrum Tram Station- we took tram 6 back down to the city centre – time for an urban coffee break. Told Ann-Christine that it was time for some posh coffee … she was a bit recalcitrant at first, but well inside Grand Coffee … at Grand Hotel – she was very comfortable.
After a great coffee … and an interior photo session for both of us – we hit the streets and we were hunting again. We found some murals, but looking at Urban Forms website … they are not in their catalogue.
I don’t know if you know that Arthur Rubinstein is the son of Łódź, born January 28, 1887 – I didn’t … I didn’t even know he is Polish. His presence is very strong in Łódź, especially along Piotrkowska Street, with a couple of statues of him and of course their new concert hall is named after him, The Arthur Rubinstein Philharmonic … the new hall was awarded second prize in the “2004 Building of the Year Competition” as well as first prize from the Association of Polish Architects for the best building financed with public funds in 2004.
There is something magical with the glass used in the building. Impossible to do it justice with a camera.
“We only begin to live life when we learn
to accept it on its own terms.”