press release

“Health & Safety” is being produced by the Wyspa Progress Foundation as a first strategic step toward establishing the new Wyspa Institute of Art in the former Shipbuilding School in the Gdansk Shipyard. “Health and Safety” will consist of an exhibition, a conference, workshops and accompanying events, such as video and film projections, project presentations and guided tours.

In Polish, the abbreviation “BHP” (Health & Safety) is traditionally used to denote occupational safety. It is term rife with association: health and safety regulations, health and safety instructors, health and safety equipment – but also health and safety per se. The site of the exhibition – the former Gdansk Shipyard, the birthplace of the Solidarity movement, multiplies these associations exponentially. The Shipyard and its current partial transformation into a residential site (the so-called Young City) is both a symbolic and real representation of the enormous social and political changes that Poland has undergone, including the decline of heavy industry, in part as a direct result of the political upheaval that started in the Shipyard.

While the primary association for the term “BHP” (Heath & Safety) is the industrial past of the new Institution’s physical context, the term can also be seen as referring to a new future – to a new definition of health and safety. As the inaugural exhibition in the Shipbuilding School, the exhibition points towards a new social structure. Both symbolically and literally, the exhibition and its attendant events are intended to build the foundation for a new physical and intellectual environment for contemporary visual culture. In doing so, however, the intention is not to deny but rather to actively engage the rich and complicated past and present of the site. “Health & Safety” can be seen as a both utopian and practical act that seeks to create alternative strategies for dealing with the complex history of the Shipyard, where industrial mythology, historical representation, survival strategies, unemployment, lost hope and other similarly emotionally loaded issues struggle for the foreground. At the same time, its attempt to engage and use the industrial context of its site can also be seen to point towards a new solution for the perennial issue of art’s current institutional isolation.

The accompanying conference will provide a critical opportunity to explore these issues. The invited artists, curators, architects and theoreticians will share their experiences and take part in a debate over the Wyspa Institute of Art that will cover issues such as curatorial concept, architectural vision, potential platform for international exchange, implementation strategy and creation of a structure for intellectual and artistic contacts.

The exhibition, conference and public programs of “Health & Safety” are intended to explore the artistic and social issues raised by the creation of a new art institution in a heavily symbolic former industrial site. Among the major goals are: ·Presentation and submission for open discussion of the preliminary artistic and architectural plans for the Wyspa Art Institute; ·Artists to test the suitability of the Shipbuilding School for art projects; ·Analysis of the local context to enable the development of the Institute’s programs; ·Review of similar transformations of industrial buildings into art centers in other locations, including the relationship of programming and exhibitions to context and the specific architectural solutions used; ·Cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary collaboration of art professionals that allows for a multi-faceted exploration of the issues raised by the creation of the Institute in the Shipyard, including an exchange of information and experiences; ·Creation of a small informal and energetic group of organizations and individuals working in similar contexts.


Aneta Szylak has worked as a curator and art critic based in Gdansk, Poland since 1985. Ms. Szylak is a Vice-President of the Wyspa Progress Foundation, a non-profit art organization established in 1994. In years 1998 Ms. Szylak founded the Center for Contemporary Art Laznia (Bathhouse) and was its Director until spring 2001. Laznia is the only public art institution that emerged during the sociopolitical transformation and is now one of the major art spaces in Poland.

Aneta Szylak curated several shows i.e. Dialog Loci [2004], Architectures of Gender. Contemporary Women’s Art in Poland [2003], Where Are You From? VII Rauma Biennale Balticum (Finland), [1998], Public Relations. Art From Gdansk [1999], All You Need Is Love, Roads To Freedom [2000]. She attempts to incorporate social and political context into her curatorial practice. As an art critic she has written over a hundred texts about contemporary art, published in catalogues, books and art magazines in Poland and abroad. She is a board member of the Mare Articum Magazine in Poland and Polish Contributing Editor of the Central European Art Magazine Praesens in Budapest. She writes for the Art Journal in the United Sates and n.paradoxa in London as well as for Raster & Safety (BHP) Pressetext

only in german

Health & Safety (BHP)

Ausstellung und Konferenz
Konferenz: 10./11. September

Architetekten: Robert Brodzinski & Andrzej Niegrzybowski
KünstlerInnen: Azorro, Helene Caubel & Anne Lalaire Maureen Connor, Oskar Dawicki, Fundacja 36,6, Adam Garnek, Ellen Harvey, Agnieszka Kalinowska, Grzegorz Klaman, Dominika Krechowicz. Jacek Niegoda, Monika Pudlis, Oliver Ressler, Allan Sekula, Dominika Skutnik, Marek Sobczyk, Michal Szlaga, Twozywo , Andrzej K. Urbanski, Anna Witkowska, Piotr Wyrzykowski

KonferenzteilnehmerInnen: Fritzie Brown, Nicole Concordet, David Custy, Eric Deneuville, Leonard Hunter, Grzegorz Klaman, Fabrice Lextrait, Janusz Lipinski, Rick Lowe, Matthieu Marguerin, Carol Moore, Frank Motz, Roman Sebastyanski, John Palmesino, Genoveva Rückert, Jed Speare, Aneta Szylak

Kuratorin: Aneta Szylak
Videoprogramm: Malgorzata Taraszkiewicz-Zwolicka
Produktion: Grzegorz Klaman, Agata Rogos, Dominika Skutnik, Marek Frankowski, Agnieszka Okrzeja
Organisation: Wyspa Progress Foundation