Gdańsk Shipyard, Poland

Demolished 2012

The Disappointed Tourist: Modelarnia, Ellen Harvey, 2023. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

The abandoned model shop (Modelarnia) of the Gdansk Shipyard (famous as the birthplace of Poland’s Solidarity movement) was taken over by the Wyspa Progress Foundation then led by Aneta Szyłak and Grzegorz Klaman, in 2002 in order to provide a space for artists. It became a venue for art exhibitions, meetings with authors and lectures, as well as concerts, performances and workshops. The building was demolished in 2012. The painting is based on an uncredited photograph from the WSPA website.

MODELARNIA, located on the grounds of the former Gdansk Shipyard, near the Wyspa Institute of Art, was established in 2002 (it existed until 2012). It was brought to life thanks to the Wyspa Progress Foundation, whose hallmark is the creation of new art venues in areas not established for this purpose. In keeping with the tradition of the Island – Modelarnia became a friendly environment for unconventional artistic activities. It was created to create conditions for creative work and storage of works, and has also become a place for art shows, author meetings and lectures, as well as concerts, performance shows and workshops. In addition, the place supports the research of critics and curators interested in the Gdansk art scene. Periodic events are organized at the Modelarnia: Cold, May Day, or Medianations workshops. All this takes place among the relics of the shipyard’s past, in a post-industrial space, which provides an excellent context for artistic activities. The one-night shows, which are not temporary exhibitions, create an opportunity for different people to meet in one place. The diversity of the forms of art presented here and the presence of guests representing a variety of backgrounds provide an excellent opportunity for active discussion, exchange of views from different perspectives, hosted by: Grzegorz Klama . MODELATOR was established at the Modelarnia and operated between 2006 and 2010 as a place for the exchange of ideas and a field for discussion of the artistic life of the Tri-City. This blog was created by then art history students associated with ISW and Modelarnia – Roma Piotrowska, Ola Grzonkowska and Maks Bochenek. At the time, there was a lack of a lively public debate in the Tri-City concerning the art community, which would encompass all phenomena. The aim of Modelator was to fill this gap, as well as to support new initiatives and young artists. Anon.