Day 46, Warsaw, February 25th 2012

Tea 46: Power Tea, Marta & Ania’s Apartment, Warsaw

I had a much earlier start to the day today, and managed to leave the flat at a reasonable civilized time.  I went out and caught the tram to Raclawicka, where I had read about a bicycle shop.  I got off and found the shop, which was unfortunately shut, but I had a good look through the window anyway.  For those of you that are wondering, I am just currently flirting with the idea of doing the rest of travels on a bike, maybe…

I got back on the tram and took it to central.  I got off at Dworzec Centralny and walked to the Palace of Science and Culture.  I was on the hunt for a sculpture that Marta had told me about, which apparently still bears some signs of it’s Communist upbringing…I didn’t manage to find the one, but I will get her to take me at some point.  Hopefully it still exists.  I walked around the building and then decided to visit Galeria Studio.  This is a little gallery inside the Palace, part of the theatre department of the building.  I walked through the big heavy wooden and iron door and went to the glowing sign that said Galeria Studio.  This is at the bottom of the staircase which had a cordon across it, but there were two ladies there who seemed to be a setting up some sort of cloakroom service.  So I asked if the gallery was open.  They didn’t speak much English, but we managed a bit of communication and she called over an older guy in a smart suit.  Again more vague communication and the guy smiled and walked to the cordon, waved me over and we both stepped over it and he escorted me up the staircase, through a corridor, up another staircase and into the main gallery space.  He told me to wait outside of a dark curtain.  He disappeared for a few seconds and the lights to the space switched off.  Walking inside the space there were two large glowing sculptures.  One was of a Uterus, the other of some flying ejaculate heading in the direction of the Uterus.  They were amazing sculptures.  Made from smooth, solid material.  The guy came over and put his hand to the material, wrapping his hand rather surreally around a little offshoot of semen…he took his hand away and was delighted by the result, a perfect shadowy print of his hand on the surface which slowly began to fade.  The pieces were made from glow in the dark material, and further intensified by the use of UV lighting.  The pieces are by Karol Słowik, a polish artist, and the show was rather fittingly named ‘Immaculate Conception’.  It finishes in a few days, but if you are in Warsaw give it a look, and go to the gallery too.  After a little while in the space I left and the guy escorted me to another part of the show, a video work by another Polish artist, Anna Niesterowicz, entitled SKRA it is a document of an old sports ground / area, no mostly derelict.  She has also produced a few monoprints for the show too.  The short looped video is understated and pretty effective, it doesn’t try to be anything it isn’t and is just a good honest piece of work.

That was the end of my own private, escorted view of Galeria Studio.  The guy in the suit left me at the top of the stairs and I walked back down them, nodding my appreciation to the two ladies at the bottom of the staircase that had facilitated my viewing.  Back out in the city I decided to get on another tram and head to the north of the city, I had read about another bike shop up on Stawki which also sells second hand bikes.  So I went up and found it, there are some really lovely bikes in there, but way past any semblance of a budget I may or may not have for the purchase of a bike.  Shiny chrome, a multitude of glorious powder coatings.  It was nice to be near bikes again, I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last rode mine!

Outside of the shop was a great little sight, three lovely, tiny Fiat 126‘s sitting in a row, blue-red-blue.  I reckon they had parked next to one another on purpose.  Maybe I could drive around Europe in one of those…  though I don’t think I’d fit in one very easily, not made for the 6ft 1 high people I would hazard.

Back into the city centre I wandered around some of the streets for a while, just looking at the sights and architecture.  Then I ended up back at the huge palm tree on Aleje Jerozolimskie, I think I mentioned this the other day, so i’ll try to not repeat myself (an art project that stuck).  From there I decided to try to find another gallery, Galeria Foksal.  This is planted at the end of Foksal street (believe it or not), a street parallel to the palm tree.  It’s part of the wing of a big posh looking hotel, you have to walk through a bit iron gate to get to it.  The show was called Nosferatu, Dyktator Leku, (The Fearful Dictator), by Jacek Malinowski.  It is predominantly one large video piece, though there are two smaller video pieces in the hallway.  The video is pretty intense.  The acting is good, one of those performances I wish I could get myself to do but I just stand in awe of the bravery and balls of those that can!  The piece itself is fairly sensationalistic I suppose and I came out trying to figure out my opinion of the work.  It is definitely well considered and theorized, but there was just something that didn’t sit right for me.

I left the gallery and walked back to the centre.  I have just discovered that I have been walking about with a hole in the crotch of my jeans for god-knows how long so I decided a visit to the sale section of TK Maxx was in order.  Jeans bought (these ones promise to have a ‘flexible 3D system’, hopefully equalling effective crotch stitching…) I met Marta and we got on the tram homewards.

Back home and myself Marta and Ania had a few things to eat, a bit of a chatter and then we headed out for a night in warsaw.  We didn’t go crazy and just went to one place, called Reaktywacja. A place with various rooms, some for sitting, some for dancing.  We sat for a while over a couple of beers then went for a bit of a dance.  Ania had promised us she was going to try and get us some ‘drink sponsorship’ through her flirtations with some guys she had spotted during some ‘foreigner spotting’, a regular pastime in Warsaw I am told (jokes)!  Unfortunately this didn’t work out, but we had fun dancing to some of the music (Top of the Pops themed night), we left the club/pub/bar at around 3 and got a taxi home.

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