The 2015 Katowice Street Art Festival tries to ask important and difficult questions about the future of our cities.

A place of capital flow
We live at a time of fascination with the city and its urban character. The “urban” is celebrated and has already become a buzzword. The fashion for “urban” has also reached Poland. It was followed by urban movements, local activists and hipsters with their city squares. We want to ride bikes, meet at eco-cafés and create a friendly space around. We want a pleasant life, full of city attractions. This all can be an important element of the whole. And can offer a positive value. If only the whole – the whole of the city – was not in crisis. If only the city had any sense at all. According to Krzysztof Nawratek, “the city is a big fat lie. For the city is not needed anymore – the city is no longer the centre of industrial production and since the beginning of the Internet, neither does it foster creation of languages or cultural codes.” The city has become a place of capital flows that are increasingly hard to control. No longer does it manufacture, create and amass capital, also the social and political one. It lost its subjectivity, giving away its power to developers and large corporations and becoming a commercialised and privatised space. Public space is no longer important. The relation between the city and its inhabitants has been seriously disrupted and is now exclusively limited to consumption. The city is not a community of its inhabitants anymore. It is only a conglomerate of their individual interests. Its social and political dimensions degraded. What is the future of the city given such circumstances? Can it still be a popular political concept? What should be done to restore its value? What problems does it have to address? The previous models such as Richard Florida's creative city of an elitist and exclusive character or postmodernist apolitical city which lived the illusion of the death of ideology, have become obsolete. We need to reinvent the city. Let the 5th edition of Katowice Street Art Festival become a profound reflection over the city. Let it ask important and difficult questions about its future. Street art as art deeply embedded in and inspired by the city may become a research tool of a revolutionary and critical character. It may make us redefine the concept. Uncover the old and forgotten ideas and look for new ones. Consider the social, political, spatial or economic context of the actions undertaken. Look at the role of art in the process of change. Uncover the problems. Seek alternative solutions. Or try and recognise the city anew or at least set the direction for further consideration.   At this edition, Katowice will be celebrating its 150th anniversary of receiving its urban charter. Most events will include celebrations of the great occasion. We decided it was a good moment to reflect upon the city. We want to look both at the concept of the city and Katowice itself. We want to consider the global and local contexts. What Katowice as a city with a specific structure can tell us on the condition of cities in general. Let’s make Katowice, a city whose past is marked by bold architectural, social and political visions related to the industrial revolution and pre- and post-war modernism, a space for experimentation and search for at least a while. Let Katowice find its new identity. Let’s start reinventing the city right here, right now. Or at least ask some questions.  Curator: Michał Kubieniec

Axel Void

"This piece is part of the “Mediocre” series. It’s painted in the neighborhood of Szopienice, in the outsides of Katowice. Szopience is considered a humble and at times conflictive working class neighborhood...

... The murals are the two sides of a building where three families live, next to the train tracks and in front of the zinc melter factory “Uta Uthemann”, named after Anton Uthemann. He was the owner of this factory and closely involved with many coal mines in Silesia...

... He was also known for fighting to better the life of the workers and their environment. The zinc factory was the main source of income of Szopienice since 1834. On 2008 the factory closed...

... The people of the neighborhood still hoped the building would be restored and the company would produce again, but in 2011 there was a fire in part of the building. This event was a symbol to the definite end of the factory. Some say this fire was intentional...

... I spent a week working on both walls. While painting, I built a strong relationship with the kids and neighbors from the building and surroundings, whose hospitality and generosity proved their reputation wrong...

... The concept behind the mural talks about the dichotomy of things that can be both curative and harmful. For example, Zinc is a vital mineral but in large quantities it can be toxic. Using this principal as a metaphor for aspects of our daily life, we can find this duality of the remedy becoming the poison. On one wall we can see a zinc rock with the image of the factory burning in the center...

... On the other side facing the children’s self made park, there is a metal sculpture represented, with the the portrait of Uthemann, and across a landscape of three nearby lakes where the kids often go when there is good weather. This mural pays homage to working class and everyday people in Szopienice and elsewhere."

Axel Void (Alejandro Hugo Dorda Mevs) was born in Miami in 1986 to a Haitian mother and a Spanish father. He was raised in Spain from the age of three, where he was strongly influenced by classical painting and drawing. Axel Void has been in contact with graffiti writing since 1999. He studied Fine Arts in Cádiz, Granada, and Sevilla, and based himself in Berlin until moving to Miami in 2013, where he currently resides.

Ian Strange

"A site-specific public installation created directly onto a residential building using over 600 square-metres of golden wallpaper in Katowice, Poland...

... ‘ZŁOTY’ reflects on the aspirations of the former residents and the region’s history of gradual decline following the collapse of the local mining industry. The title (literally translated as ‘golden’) is the name of Poland’s currency and refers to the gold wallpaper completely covering the abandoned residential building...

... This wallpaper and it’s design were commonly seen inside the homes of the Załęże district. Placing it on the exterior of the building acts to render the familiar interior of these homes vulnerable, it’s gradual deterioration over time forming part of the work."

Ian Strange is an Australian artist exploring the phenomenon of suburbanization and the closure of residents in fenced villas. His work is a combination of film and photography documenting action in suburban neighborhoods. In his productions the artist examines how his radical changes in the appearance of houses affect small towns.

Mariusz Libel

"The rapid development of technology affects not only the lifestyle of each of us, but also the condition and the way of the operation of human clusters - the inhabitants of blocks, houses, cities, tram passengers, or travelling...

... We strive to maximise comfort and economic efficiency, but it has its side effects - climate, demographic, and also mental. The place we call home has changed its face over the past decades. Thanks to technology, we build more, higher and tighter...

... The House, however, is the place where we live, the basic ingredients of civilization - do we really want it to be tighter, more flat and more square? The concrete determines consciousness, life demands space, and we will one day abandon rectangular caves and leave... where?"

Mariusz Libel (born in 1978) is a representative of urban art. Twożywa co-founder (1998-2011) - the group that "attacks" the urban space with expressive and recognizable visual messages in the form of vignettes, templates, billboards, mural and posters. Currently Libel works alone, creating projects from the borderline of conceptual poetry, illustrations, murals, posters and social actions, performing such works as the Missing Gems (2012, for the Warsaw Uprising Museum), Earth (2011). Co-author of the project, which operates under the nickname surdabs.

Miko Škapa

Born isn 1978, is one of the most expressive Czech wave writers (Prague) with many accomplishments in his field. Involved in countless graphic activities in "Free Magazine" and "Upstream" magazines.

He works on the design of album covers, web pages and the creation of original fonts for the identification of graphic artistic events. In addition to computer graphics, he creates drawings and works with an areograph. Member of Cap, NUTS, DSK and TOYZ.

Grzegorz Piwnicki (Forin)

According to Katowice Street Art Festival curator, Michał Kubieniec, "Today we opened the installation of Forin with the title 'Tomorrow', the work was made of live flowers, referring to its form to the funeral rifle...

... Most of the inhabitants were displaced and the rest of them decided to make their lives difficult by creating housing conditions that did not allow them to function normally, and to force them to "voluntarily" leave the building...

... Also the tenement house, which an anarchist invaded a month ago, tried to squeeze it, encountering an anti-terrorist group that had politely asked them to do so. 'What does Tomorrow look like a funeral crown?' I do not think I have to explain..."

Grzegorz Piwnicki (Forin) is a graphic artist, living and working in Warsaw. Experiment with various media. Creates installations, social projects. Graduated from the Faculty of Graphic Design at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts (diploma with honors in Prof. Lecha Majewski's Workshop 2011). He has over 90 covers of music albums, works published in Poland and abroad and numerous independent projects.


A few words of the curator Michał Kubieniec about the installation: "Nug & UNDOG have created an audiovisual installation where NUG is chaotic and expressive as it is customary, while in the background we hear enough aggressive and dynamic electronic music. The whole works only if there are recipients in the middle. What is more, the intensity of sound and images is stronger. In our context of this year's 'City in Crisis?' The work of gentlemen from Sweden is above all a praise of spontaneous action and commitment...

... It's a story about how we need to work together if we want to change, because the more we have, the greater is our strength and energy. This power also involves chaos, but without which radical change would not be possible. This is illustrated by Nuga's vandalism, which is a form of negation of the existing order and aversion to its aesthetics...

... So what we often see in today's street arte. Interestingly, this work also falls into the context of the country from which the Nug comes, or Sweden. Certainly, the solid ordering and codification of social life has an impact on the form and content of his work."

Nug, born in 1972, a Swedish artist, studied at Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm. Swedish graffiti pioneer, former member of the Vandals in Motion group. His works have been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. He is currently considered one of the most important representatives of "post graffiti".

UNDOG is a visual communication studio located in Amsterdam. It focuses on creating campaigns and identities through unconventional experiments within fine arts. Apart from commissioned works, UNDOG develops, manufactures and participates in own projects initiated by art and film. On the border of all media, they try to reach the audience through atypical means.


Anna Szejdewik, pseudonym Coxie, is a painter, illustrator, often working in public space. In 2006, she completed Painting and Interior Design at the Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Zielona Góra. Currently living and working in Wroclaw.

Associated with the city of Zielona Góra and Wroclaw. Woman, girl, child are the main motifs of her painting and mural. Coxie easily combines the aesthetics of comics with realistic portraiture, painting and design.

Her work, seemingly trivial, colorful, operating in a characteristic graphic language, touches on important issues ranging from feminism, femininity, sensitivity to animal rights.

Maciej Chodziński and Maciej Salamon

Coal (C, Latin carboneum) is in the fourth most common element in the universe. It has the ability to create very long chains containing CC bonds and creates more compounds than all other chemical elements.

These characteristics of carbon make it the chemical foundation of life.

Substantial amounts of it are also found in fossil fuels - substances produced from dead organic compounds that have been submerged for several hundred million years and have decayed.

Maciej Chodziński (born 1981) - lives and works in Warsaw. He works in painting, graphic, video, objects and installation. An originator and co-creator of Krecha's independent art magazine. Project creator: They should not be born or Earthworks, which he realizes with Maciek Salamon. He graduated from the Department of Graphic Arts at the Gdańsk Academy of Fine Arts (2008) and the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Gdansk (2005).

Maciej Salamon (born 1984), formerly a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk, today teaches in the department of the intermediation. Graphic designer, illustrator, creator of mural and screen prints. Singer and songwriter in the band Shit. Vocalist and guitarist of the necropolis duo Gravestones. A member of the Krecha artistic group publishing the periodical of the same name. He manages the Galeria Gablotka factory in Gdansk Shipyard. Good boy.

"Grandpa and dad are working in the mine and do not want to close it, they cry. They smile, because I made a mistake." Zosia

"Dad don't cry. Zosia"

Lukasz Surowiec born September 19, 1985 in Rzeszow. He lives and works in Katowice.

Mural made from inspiration of drawing made by Zosia Tabiś-Hubka.

Credits: All media
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