Odd Art Meccas: Lodz Poland - Urban Forms Graffiti Gallery

Written by Marianthe Smart

Note: The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of RetoxMagazine.com

Odd Art Meccas - Part 1: Lodz and the Urban Forms Gallery

Three articles about three fantastically unique artistic destinations

When you imagine an artistic mecca I’m sure you think, London and the Tate Modern or The National Gallery, the MET in New York City, even Barcelona’s Gaudi beauties. That’s where I got told the 'real' art was anyway, not on the side of an inner city tenement. So if I mentioned Lodz the first thing you’d probably say is 'what’s a Lodz?' Well, it’s a city, a gallery, a centre for learning and change, all thanks to graffiti.

Now if you’re like me, you grew up in a place where graffiti stood for danger, the subversive, anarchy and rebellion. If I had told anyone that it beautified those crumbling walls, reclaimed space, expressed at once individuality and a wider cultural understanding, I think I would have been sent to detention. Thankfully I’m all grown up now and I can say what I want; Graffiti is so much more than art. It’s art with an uncontainable meaning, there for everyone to see and have an opinion about, an incredibly brave move by these artists. The artists I’m talking about are the collective that form and contribute to the Urban Forms Foundation in Lodz, Poland.

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond by Etam Cru.

Revitalising Lodz’s inner city are over 30 permanent works of graffiti art – the Urban Forms Gallery. Top street artists from South America to Australia have all added to this incredible city gallery that continues to grow, with a mission to 'promote "living" culture and art’ and ‘saturate the cityscape with creative, multi-layered and modern art that would improve the current image of Lodz…as well as the whole country through artistic creativity'. And the artistic creativity is vast! There’s the cubist influenced work of Remed, the otherworldly 'Traveller' in Inti’s art, M-City’s industrial bent. Then there’s the Lodz natives, the renowned Polish duo of Przemyslaw Blejzyk and Mateusz Gapski (Sainer and Bezt respectively) that together form Etam Cru whose surreal scenarios are so exquisitely executed. The foundation aims to appeal to everyone through its selection of incredible international artists that 'focus on emphasizing…artistic aspects and leave out the conceptual projects as they might be unclear for the recipients'. Yet this clarity in no way stifles artists, themes and motifs are entirely the artists' prerogative, thereby ‘retaining standard and fundamental ethical, political and moral issues that function in every society'.

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond by Inti (left) and Etam Cru (right).

All of this is why Lodz isn’t just for you to read about here and maybe Google later. There are walking tours of the city, even workshops with the artists themselves that you can mix into a visit to this truly unique city. In a few years the plan is to have sculpture, installations, even jewellery become part of this gallery. Street art is finding a beautiful voice and function in this Polish city, and everyone is encouraged to get swept away in it. I think, therefore, it’s safe to say that graffiti is no longer a detention worthy offence to mention – it’s an artistic destination.

For more information on the Urban Forms Foundation, Urban Forms Gallery, and the participating artists go to: www.galeriaurbanforms.org and www.urbanforms.org, where you can also find details for tour and workshop information

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Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond by Aryz and Etam Cru.

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond by Aryz.

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond by 3TTMAN.

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond by Gregor and Ciah Ciah.

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond by Inti.

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond by Kenor.

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond by Lump.

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond by Massmix.

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond by Os Gemeos and Aryz.

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond by Otecki.

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond by Pener.

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond by Remed.

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond by ROA.

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond by Robert Tone Protch.

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond by Etam Cru.

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond by Sat One and Etam Cru.

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond by Sepe and Chazme.

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond

Graffiti art in Lodz, Polond by Shida.

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