SURVIVAL 18. ART REVIEW
The title of this year’s Review, although significant in itself, refers to Thomas Stearns Eliot’s poem “The Waste Land”, which is probably his most famous work. Published in 1922, this fundamental work of modernist poetry is a multi-voice and multi-layer composition in which the war trauma, quotes from world literature and everyday sounds intertwine to create a picture of a world marked by transience, anxiety and a culture maimed beyond recognition. The abandonment of continuity and abrupt changes in time, location and speaker constituted not only a revolutionary reformulation of literature, but above all a radically different vision and mode of existence expressed through polyphony, multiplicity of perspectives and languages . Eliot finished The Waste Land when he was recovering from a nervous breakdown in the coastal town of Margate. The subsequent sections of the poem – “The Burial of the Dead,” “A Game of Chess,” “The Fire Sermon,” “Death by Water” and “What the Thunder Said” – designate conceptual areas and subjects that will be featured at the exhibition, because our return to this almost century-old text is no coincidence. Looking at the verse created during the post-war search for meaning and order, which marked the language and literature for the decades to come, we try to hear the echoes of individual voices resonating to this day. Old Tiresias with female breasts, Lil with carious teeth, the wisest woman in Europe with a bad cold, and the third one who walks always beside – they must have seen fear in a handful of ash. Tentative or unfinished, often borrowed or taken out of context, the words turn out to be a bit anachronistic albeit topical guide to the present day. However, the return to the cradle of modernism is not a gesture of desperate search for the past order. Instead, Wasteland examines the hot spots in The Waste Land that still seem to indicate uncertainty, mark change, scrutinise memory and question rebirth while keeping the future at a distance, in question.
The Port sewage pumping station (Am Zehndelberg) was built in the years 1898–1901 on a promontory located along the Odra waterfront in the Kleczków housing estate, behind Wrocław’s City Port, which is one of the largest river ports in Poland. Since its opening, like most of the facilities making up in the municipal water supply system, it has never been made available to the public. The pumping station edifice, freely borrowing historicising elements in the spirit of the round-arch style (Rundbogenstil), was designed by well-known Wrocław architects Richard Plüddemann and Karl Klimm. It has survived almost intact to this day. Together with the adjacent boiler room with a chimney and the characteristic clock tower, it creates a picturesque complex of buildings faced with red brick with full-arched windows. The main hall, decorated with bicolour ceramic tiles, contains the original double-acting steam-piston pumps, manufactured by the famous Borsig factory in Berlin in 1900, and two smaller electric pumps. In the basement of the pumping station there are extensive cellars connected by a system of pressure pipes, which was used to discharge sewage onto the Osobowice irrigation fields. For over 100 years, the Port pumping station was a key element of an impressive environmentally-friendly wastewater treatment system, which was launched in 1881, making it one of the oldest in Europe. Thanks to its functioning, a unique ecosystem emerged on Wrocław’s irrigation fields, known as “the pearl of Wrocław nature.” The Port pumping station was ultimately decommissioned in 2015.
Results of the competition for artistic projects to be presented during the 18th edition of the SURVIVAL Art Review:
Zuza Banasińska / Charlotte Biszewski / Martyna Borowiecka / Piotr Bzdęga / Franciszek Drażba / Łukasz Huculak / Paulina Jołda / Monika Konieczna i Mariusz Sibila / Mateusz Kowalczyk / Marta Krześlak / Aleksandra Liput / Agnieszka Mastalerz / Maciej Nowacki / Iwona Ogrodzka / Øleg&Kaśka / Joanna Pietrowicz / Kaja Pilch / Kinga Popiela / Lars Preisser / Maryna Sakowska / Marta Stysiak / Rafał Żarski
SURVIVAL 18. Art Review
26.06 ‒ 30.06.2020
The City Port Pumping Station
Curators: Michał Bieniek, Anna Kołodziejczyk, Małgorzata Miśniakiewicz, Ewa Pluta
Sound Art Forum curator: Daniel Brożek
Organizer: Art Transparent Foundation
Survival Art Review id co-financed by the Municipality of Wrocław / www.wroclaw.pl
Partner: MPWiK Wrocław S.A.