Active Poetry: Polish Art in Public Space


Thursday, 6 December 2012

13.30 - 18.00, Research Forum South Room, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 0RN

book now

Ewelina Ciszewska & Monika Konieczna Ewelina Ciszewska & Monika Konieczna, "You shall not covet...", 6th SURVIVAL Art Review, Wroclaw 2008, (photo: Justyna Fedec).
Speaker(s): Michal Bieniek (Royal College of Art); Joanna Erbel (University of Warsaw); Katarzyna Golen (Luhuu); Gavin Grindon (Kingston University); Karina Marusinska (Luhuu); Sylwia Serafinowicz (The Courtauld Institute of Art); Kuba Szreder (Loughborough University)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission but due to limited space advance booking is required. Book online here: (An automatic email of confirmation will be sent to you – if you do not receive it, please contact:

Organised by: Malgorzata Misniakiewicz with Dr Klara Kemp-Welch (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

The symposium is to coincide with the exhibition ‘Active Poetry: Introduction to Polish Art in Public Space’ that will take place at Shoreditch Town Hall in December 2012. The exhibition investigates the transition of artistic methods and attitudes from the late sixties to the present, with reference to the socio-political changes accentuated by the 1989 moment.

The exhibition focuses on the shift of artists’ interest in a ‘secondary’ audience – an audience that is prepared and accustomed to perceiving art within institutions, where the documentation of art in public space is presented – to ‘primary’ witnesses and participants of the events, who are often accidental and unaware. The main aim of the exhibition is to reveal the process of inclusion of the viewer into works located in a public space. We seek to investigate a certain paradigmatic shift from the negative diagnosis of socio-political life before 1989 to recent manifestations of attitudes of empathy towards cases of social injustice and exclusion taking place in particular, local spaces.

The first panel focuses on recent undertakings in public space, exploring contemporary strategies and questioning the objectives of artists and curators. Conflicts, claims to homogeneity and difference, power and authority in public space, today, serves as a point of departure for accounts offered by the organisers of a series of recent undertakings.

The second panel focuses on questions related to the documentation and archivisation of art in a public space. As the exhibition consists primarily of documentation, the tension between recording of the ephemeral and the desire to preserve, as well as the subsequent, retrospective shift back to the secondary audience are pertinent. We address the idea of the trace and examine the consequences and the persistence of events and re-visiting them in a different socio-political context.

Download programme Download programme

download abstracts Download abstracts

The programme includes a reception and private view of the ‘Active Poetry’ exhibition at the Shoreditch Town Hall. (380 Old Street, London EC1V 9LT)

Back to Events Calendar