For the series places for contemporary art we ask people around the world to present their favorite places. We will show you exhibition spaces for young art off the beaten track. There are producers‘ galleries, artists collectives and exciting art projects in each city, but you have to know where. This time our staff member Anna presents the project Kolektyw 1a from her hometown Poznan/Poland. Anna is working as a grafic designer and curatorial assistance at Pablo & Paul.
Polish art is in good health. This is not only a result of the many talented Polish artists, who are known both in Poland and abroad, but also thanks to the intense work of cultural activists.
Polish art is in good health. This is not only a result of the many talented Polish artists, who are known both in Poland and abroad, but also thanks to the intense work of cultural activists.The strength to fight with government offices, bureaucracy and regulations is a fundamental attribute of every individual wanting to promote wide-ranging art in Poland. Fortunately, our stubbornness is bearing fruit.
Kolektyw 1a was founded in September 2011 as an informal group of students from the University of Fine Arts and the Adam Mickiewicz University, in Poznan. Three months ago, after three years of struggling with local bureaucracy, Kolektyw 1a was finally accredited as a formal association.
In 2011, with heads full of ideas, but no funding, this group of students undertook a remarkable task: to create a space to promote young art.
In 2011, with heads full of ideas, but no funding, this group of students undertook a remarkable task: to create a space to promote young art. Using their own finances they rented a dilapidated townhouse near Sw. Wojciech street, in the Saint Adalbert Hill area of Poznan. They completed the renovation themselves, and began realizing their ideas.
Their aim is to promote young culture among the wider public. They don’t want the collective to become another space only attracting those who are already initiated with art. To achieve this they organize neighborhood meetings, inviting local residents, listening to their ideas and seeking ways to work together. There were initially many unsuccessfully attempts at dialogue with the residents, but finally the desire to collaborate emerged.
A handful of residents from neighboring buildings arrived at the first exhibition. Kolektyw 1a began its activities in collaboration with Poznan festivals (No Women No Art, Tranzyt, Ligatura) – organizing related exhibitions. Not wishing to reproduce well-worn clichés, the second floor is arranged so that anyone can sit, enjoy a coffee, and share their impressions. It is paramount to remove from any aura of inaccessibility from the gallery.
Through their initiatives, the students want to offer the local community a way to escape from the daily routine, and provoke discussion.
Their intentions extend not only to exhibitions. The 12 founders of Kolektyw 1a come from varied disciplines. Each of them is responsible for that aspect of the group’s activities, which is closest to their interests. As a result, a wide range of different artistic initiatives is organized in the space. Film screenings are very popular. The collective holds cyclical screenings named ‚Cartoon Boom‘ and ‚Tastings – films from the border of good taste‘. These unusual screenings do not end with the viewing. The main aim is to involve the viewers in the themes explored by the films. Depending on the screening, guests may enter into discussion or take part in workshops related to the films‘ subject matter.
In order to keep themselves close to the local residents the collective submitted their project Tutaj tej, as part of the ‚Seniors in Action‘ public tender, and were awarded a grant. This first success made a large project possible, which brought together various generations of people living in the Saint Adalbert Hill area. Thanks to this project elderly people have begun attending events held at the collective; and they often find a cup of tea the perfect excuse to share their impressions.
Most of the collective’s members are young. Poznan artists who collaborate with their younger peers take it upon themselves to help others find a spotlight. They research and look for the most talented and underappreciated artists. These searches do not end in Poznan. The collective is equally open to international initiatives as it is to local ones. Exhibitions by Swedish artist Diana Rönnberg and Slovak artist Patrik Kovačovský have been held at the Saint Adalbert Hill space, as well as concerts by Iranian Mani Mehrvarz and Philadelphian Michael Poll, whose performance was accompanied by analogue visualizations by Jan Ankiersztajn.
Various workshops are also held at Kolektyw 1a, with the aim of bringing together people from various walks of life. An excellent example of this is a project organized a few months ago by one of the members, Adam Luczak, called ‚Nature – City – Memory‘, which drew a large and multigenerational group. The team created a unique documentary film, under the supportive eye of acclaimed mentors.
In order to avoid closing themselves within ever-clearer frames, the collective’s members constantly ask themselves what they can still do to draw together even greater numbers of diverse people.
As we all know, it is best to talk over coffee. The collective organizes picnics and culinary meetings. Often the most innovative ideas, as well as declarations about the future of the collective (and Poznan itself), emerge during the shared enjoyment of various meals. Artists and cultural activists are invited to picnics or breakfasts organized by the collective, to talk over coffee and cake with anyone who might be interested.
Now multi-faceted conversations are held at the Kolektyw 1a all the time. A few months ago the collective opened as a coworker space. This initiative enabled students from various departments and schools to work together, exchanging insights and helping each other. Contentiousness and continuous small steps have begun to bear fruit.
In June 2014 Kolektyw 1a was accredited as a formal association, and in August the collective was awarded a grant as part of the Miastoczynni competition for ideas on how to improve the city of Poznan.
written by Anna Jęchorek