Connect: art project delivers ‘a rich platform for intercultural communication and interdisciplinary exchange’ – London and Katowice, 2016/17

by Oksana Smirnova, Lead Curator of Connect: Katowice and London

After almost two years of hard work, we are happy to welcome you to the grand finale of the project Connect:Katowice at Rondo Gallery. The project is presented by a series of British and Polish artists’ partnerships from Chelsea College of Arts in London and Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice [ASP], curated by Oksana Smirnova and Pawel Mendrek.

The dialogue between the artists and curators, aimed to question the foundational role of perception in understanding their own worlds and the worlds of others, started in September 2015. It was followed by the period of artists’ online and offline meetings, conversations, and building of connections, which resulted in a collective, introductory art exhibition in December 2016 at Hornsey Town Hall Art Centre in London. The research process and organic evolution of the project then continued for a further 6 months, culminating as an art festival and finale at the Rondo Sztuki Gallery and other venues in Katowice (such as ASP and Museum Nikiszowiec in Katowice).

Connect:Katowice project is aimed to show the audience how beneficial the intercultural communication can be, reflecting the interconnection of the roles of artists and curators coming from very different backgrounds. The project investigates and addresses a variety of subjects.

Some of the artists have been exploring the theme of Polish-British migration during the WWII and how it influenced those involved in the migration process and their further generations. Other artists have been interested in literally studying each other’s lands, their hidden traces and folklore. And most importantly, all artists have been exchanging the artistic techniques and experience that they gained in their homelands.

We strongly believe that the result of the project was very beneficial for the artists and the curators involved in it. The progress of the collaboration process was moving in various directions expected and unexpected. Sometimes being smooth, sometimes being resistant, it resulted in great pieces of art being created by both groups and individuals under the influence of the collaborative process. Forming a collective within the institution also continues to be very advantageous for all parties. A pro-active collective makes it easier to bring the initiatives forward. Therefore, as an evolving group of creatives and a rich platform for interdisciplinary exchange, we aim to continue stretching our boundaries by organising various experimental collaborations in future and by potentially presenting Connect:Vienna, Connect:Budapest, Connect:Berlin and more.


More:

  • View/download Connect: Katowice and London exhibition guide/map [PDF] courtesy Rondo Sztuki Galleri, designed by Ewa Zasada2nd to 16th June 2017 – 26 British and Polish artists exhibit more than 20 collaborative projects at Rondo Sztuki Gallery, Katowice, Poland
  • View/download Connect: Katowice and London project publication (coming soon!)
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