Krakow’s blocks of flats may startle passer-bys when they become artistic backdrops. Project “Huge slab ? Great art” is a new idea which city authorities have developed to promote Krakow. It will be a gigantic gallery of modern art for which the exterior walls of the apartments will be exhibition space.
“This project will create probably the biggest-in-the-world gallery of modern art,” said Mateusz Zmyslony, chairman of the advertising agency Eskadra Market Place. “It will be the biggest because it is measured by the square meters of surface of gigantic buildings. We are going to change city tissue where it is the ugliest.”
Eskadra Market Place is the originator of the project and prepared a new strategy of Krakow promotion for 2008-2012. Zmyslony adds that the art display idea has been accepted by the mayor of Krakow. Action on the art project probably will begin this year. Several well-known artists are going to be invited to take part in the paintings, but we still do not know which individuals exactly. The goal is to make the blocks of flats more human-friendly by painting them in warm colors.
The Krakow National Museum has joined the public art movement by creating a project called “Through streets to art.” The museum will remind citizens of the artists whose names have been given to streets.
To start the museum project, one of the biggest districts of flats ? Azory ? was chosen. The block of apartments is on Maria Jarema Street. Jarema was one of the greatest Polish avant-garde artists. November will mark the 100th anniversary of her birth and the 50th of her death.
Few residents on Jarema Street know who she was, says Agata MaBodobry of the National Museum. That is why MaBodobry started the art project. The biggest and gloomiest wall on the block will display a reproduction of Jarema’s 1956 painting entitled “Penetracje” (the original is exhibited at the National Museum). Residents of the block of flats will be given brochures containing a biography Jarema, reproductions of the artist and tickets for the exhibition of Jarema works in the Gallery of Polish Art of the 20th Century.
“Through streets to art” will cover the entire city and cost up to 30,000 zloty. All of the streets named for artists will have paintings.
The idea of using building walls for paintings is not new in Krakow. One project involved a building on Mazowiecka Street built in 1959. The wall was divided into frames painted pastel colors. The building’s art resembles the works of famous Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, and when looking at it, we may think that the building is smiling at us.
Thanks to such actions, blocks of flats can become icons of modern art. And the apartment art can enable block dwellers to get rid of the soulless mask of the Communist period and gain the attention of passer-bys.