BHP (Health and Safety)

Inaugurating an new institution in the Gdansk Shipyard

Opening 3rd September 2004, on view September 4 – October 3 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Conference September 10-11

Wyspa Progress Foundation – the pioneering non-profit art organization based in Gdansk, Poland - opens its dramatic new venue, the WYSPA Institute of Art, with a project titled “BHP” (Health and Safety). The building was formerly the shipbuilding school of the Gdansk Shipyard. The school was abandoned in 1998 and “Health & Safety” marks the commencement of its renovation and reincarnation as an art institution.

“Health & Safety” was conceived and curated by Aneta Szylak and will present artistic interventions in the building, as well as presenting the future development and design of the building. The project seeks to analyze the local context for the institution’s program and to test the suitability of the building for art projects. While the primary association for the term ”BHP” (Health & Safety) is the industrial past of the new Institution’s physical context, the term can also be seen as referring to a new future, to a new definition of health and safety as a metaphor for institution making. Both symbolically and literally, the exhibition and its attendant events are intended to build the foundation for a new physical and intellectual environment for contemporary visual culture. In doing so, however, the intention is not to deny but rather to actively engage the rich and complicated past and present of the site.

“Health & Safety” can be seen as both a utopian and practical act that seeks to create alternative strategies for dealing with the complex situation of the shipyard, where industrial mythology, historical representation, survival strategies, unemployment, lost hope and other similarly emotionally loaded issues struggle for the foreground. At the same time, its attempt to engage and use the industrial context of its site, can also be seen to point towards a new solution for the perennial issue of art’s current institutional isolation. The accompanying conference will provide a critical opportunity to explore these issues. The invited artists, curators, architects and theoreticians will share their experiences and take part in a debate over the Wyspa Institute of Art that will cover issues such as curatorial concept, architectural vision, potential platform for international exchange, implementation strategy and the creation of a structure for intellectual and artistic contacts.

Architects: Robert Brodzinski & Andrzej Niegrzybowski

Invited Artists: Azorro Supergroup, Helene Caubel & Anne Lalaire, Maureen Connor, Oskar Dawicki, Fundacja 36,6, Adam Garnek, Ellen Harvey, Agnieszka Kalinowska, Grzegorz Klaman, Dominika Krechowicz, Kamil Kuskowski, Jacek Niegoda, Monika Pudlis, Oliver Ressler, Allan Sekula, Dominika Skutnik, Marek Sobczyk, Michal Szlaga, Twozywo, Andrzej K. Urbanski, Ania Witkowska, Piotr Wyrzykowski.

Conference participants: Robert Brodzinski, Fritzie Brown, Nicole Concordet, David Custy, Eric Deneuville, Leonard Hunter, Grzegorz Klaman, Fabrice Lextrait, Janusz Lipinski, Matthieu Marguerin, Carol Moore, Frank Motz, Andrzej Niegrzybowski, Roman Sebastyanski, John Palmesino, Renoveva Ruckert, Jed Speare and Aneta Szylak.

Organized by Wyspa Progress Foundation
Co-organized by CEC ArtsLink in New York, French Embassy in Warsaw, Austrian Cultural Forum in Warsaw, Red Led Arts in Belfast, Espace Croise in Roubaix, Synegria 99 Ltd in Gdansk.

Curator: Aneta Szylak

Implementation: Grzegorz Klaman

Project supported by:
European Cultural Foundation, Trust for Mutual Understanding, French Embassy, AFAA, Austrian Cultural Forum, Pro Helvetia, Synergia 99 Ltd., ToTamto Art & Media and many others.
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