Tag Archives: Polish British

Robert Kusmirowski: Bunker @ Curve Art, Barbican Centre

バービカン・センターのCurve Artで開催中の、ポーランド人アーティスト・Robert Kusmirowskiの作品「Bunker(塹壕)」(9月30日〜1月10日、入場無料)を観た。1973年生まれのKusmirowskiは、戦争体験者ではないが、世界大戦や冷戦等、「過去」にこだわった作品を作り続けており、Bunkerは使われなくなった、第二次世界大戦中の塹壕を再現した作品。「Curve」という名の通り、ギャラリー全体がゆるやかにカーブしていて、先に何があるか見えないので、何が待ち構えているか分からないスリルを感じる。薄明かりの中、腐食した水道管やボイラー、錆びた発電機や古い機械類、古びた缶や食料、そしてサバイバルのための道具等の中を歩いていく。使われなくなった線路がギャラリー端から端まで貫いており、寝室やトイレ、交信室や事務室なども妙にリアルだ。年代が経っているような効果を出すため、彼の膨大なコレクションからの古い品物に加え、ゴミ捨て場や解体場等で見つけたオブジェを使用。塹壕を見学したり、写真書類等を調べて、細部にまでこだわって再現したそうだ。この空間にいると、タイムスリップし、戦時中の落ち着かない、常に死と隣り合わせの恐怖を感じ、不安になる。良くできた作品だけれど、長くいると気分が滅入る。

We went to see “Bunker” by Polish artist Robert Kusmirowski at Curve Art in Barbican Centre (Sep 30 to Jan 10, entrance free).  Bunker is an recreation of a disused WWII era bunker. Although Kusmirowski was born in 1973 and had never experienced World War II, he obsesses with the ‘past’ and have created installations based on WWII and the following cold war. As its name suggests,  Curve Art gallery doesn’t have any straight line, and I was thrilled as I couldn’t see what was waiting ahead. In dim light, we walked through corroded pipes and boilers, rusted generators, electrical gauges and other obsolete machines as well as old cans and survival supplies. Abandoned rail track runs through entire gallery, and bedroom and toilet, communication room look very real. In order to create decay and aging effects, Kusmirowski has used found objects from his own large collection, as well as items collected from junkyards and demolition sites. He visited existed bunkers and studied documents and photography to ensure that smallest details are realistic. In the gallery, I felt as if I had been transported through time to WWII period when people were constantly facing fear of death, and it made me nervous. Bunker is well-done artwork, but it is quite creepy.

Bunkerは、200以上のイベントを企画し、ポーランドの文化をイギリスに紹介する、「POLSKA! YEAR」の一環のアート作品。「POLSKA(ポルスカ)」は、ポーランドの国名で、野原を意味するそうだ。POLSKA! YEARは、2009年春から始まって、2010年まで続く。このブログを書くにあたって、初めてこのイベントの存在を知った。そう言えば、テート・モダンで開催中の「How It Is」も、ポーランド人アーティスト・ミロスワフ・バウカの作品だった。


Bunker is a part of POLSKA! YEAR in the UK, which comprises over 200 projects presenting the most interesting achievements of Polish culture to British public. ‘Polska’ is Poland in Polish, and is derived from the word Polanie or “people of the fields.” POLSKA! YEAR started in spring 2009 and continue through 2010. I have never heard of this event until I started to do a little research about this blog entry. I guess “How It Is” by Polish artist Mirosław Bałka at Tate Modern is also a part of it as well.

Since the 2004 EU enlargement, there has been an massive influx of migration from 10 new member states of former eastern bloc to UK and Ireland, due to its liberal immigration policies and restrictive policies adopted elsewhere, and Polish is the biggest in number among others. Currently the Polish-born population in the UK is around half a million, and the total of Polish British is estimated about 1 million. Now I see many Polish grocery stores and bars (but not many restaurants), and supermarkets has a large corner of Polish foods. There is a Polish church in our neighborhood, and the area looks like a Polish town after the Sunday mess. Although east European immigration levels falling due to the recent economic downturn, but still large number of Polish are coming every year. Polish are known as a hard worker and now are a big consumer power as well, and British economy may not function without them anymore.

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