New murals for Urban Forms in the quarter of Bałuty on occasion of “4 cultures Festival“.
All the works are based on the alphabet created by Władysław Strzemiński, used for creating the logo of the city of Łódź.
The building is an elementary school in Ul. Bojownikow Getta 3 street, Bałuty, Łódź.
Critical essay by Claudio Cravero
‘The constant Learner’
“Remanufacture and Harring. A tribute to Władysław Strzemiński”
Urban Forms Foundation and Lodz 4 Cultures festival, Lodz, Poland , 2017
In Opiemme’s recent urban work on the occasion of Lodz 4 Cultures festival, the artist’s signs are extensively covering different surfaces of a school building. From walls to sidewalks, and all around, any viewer or passer-by is thus literally encircled by texts and motifs realized with spray paint and stencils techniques. Everywhere one looks or turns, the geometric patterns connect the soil to sky. And the moment the eye moves onto the next texture, everything begins spinning as if one were surrounded by this new story-telling.
It is Opiemme’s Tribute to Wladyslaw Strzemiński, the Polish vanguard abstract painter and typographer who designed this unique font in the 1930s. Mostly consisting of a curved line, the font Opiemme drew on was actually meant to communicate the spirit of future, dynamism and modernity across Polish society. The artist uses this type of lettering as an insight into the socialist realism architecture, the urban style of many public buildings that still speak about Poland’s heritage, regardless of the cultures that have cast the country throughout the time.
The same technique is also employed in Opiemme’s Herring, a mural in the nearby park. There, the informally-named ‘Park of a Herring’ shows a fish-shaped black silhouette to remind through few
signs the fish market taking place in the same location before World War II, but it is also used in reference to the Jewish ghetto Baluty, the second largest of its kind in Europe.
Looking up at Opiemme’s public artwork means somehow losing one’s balance. The hallucinatory effect can be read as a visual illustration of the fact that letters do not necessarily bring words to life. Besides, since Opiemme’s work covers a Primary school façade, the artist seems to shed light on the unseen forces of the power of teaching that permeates our constant need for learning. Over the eight day-painting performance (because to Opiemme art is a more complex action than putting colors to canvas), artist’s father’s recent demise has been recalled. Amongst the thoughts, Opiemme wants to express gratitude for
the apprenticeship taken on at the age of 16. In fact, sent by the father to learn interior decoration, Opiemme is still thankful for the working legacy that was handed down by this inspiring mentor. Ultimately, texts and signs are there to remind how learning is a constant process of self-building rather than a skills-set to adopt and use. Indeed, in Lodz it is even more evident that there are no cultural barriers when it comes to learning. Learning represents the exceeding power to bond one another. It is everywhere and nowhere, because nobody leaves us forever.
Here is an article Urban Forms, “Out of the ordinary. Opiemme Dialogue’s with architecture“, and another by Aleksandra Sumorok, translated by Wojciech Szymański and published by Urban Forms, previously posted by “Łódź w Kulturze”: “Opiemme and her dialogues“.
Aleksandra Sumorok is an art historian, assistant professor at “Władysław Strzemiński Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź”.
In her research work she focuses on the architecture and design of the 20th century,
with particular emphasis on the period of socialist realism. She is author of the book, “The architecture and urbanism of Łódź during the period of socialist realism” and numerous papers on complex problems of Polish architecture in the 40s and 50s.