Art Review SURVIVAL 19

The program of the 19th edition of Przegląd Sztuki in historic Pafawag.

For 19 years, the Art Transparent Foundation – the organiser of SURVIVAL – has taken up the challenge of introducing the public to unusual, often inaccessible urban spaces. As part of the main exhibition, artists from Poland and abroad present works from various fields of contemporary art. This year, they will have the opportunity to face an extraordinary location.

The boiler room is part of the former Pafawag State Wagon Factory in Wrocław, one of the largest machinery and rolling stock factories in Europe until the 1980s, known before the Second World War as the Linke-Hoffman-Werke factory. “It produced literally everything that could move on the tracks – locomotives, railway carriages for various purposes, roller coaster cars, but also trams, tractors, machines for the food industry,” says Ewa Pluta of the City Museum of Wrocław. Pafawag’s buildings and history provide an important context for the motto “You Ain’t Going Nowhere,” which is connected with the effects of the pandemic, including significant restrictions on mobility and travel.

This year’s SURVIVAL consists of the main exhibition presented on three levels inside the boiler room, as well as artistic projects outside the building or as part of the Student Section of the Academy of Art and Design in Wrocław. The tour of the exhibition begins with the Video Art Forum, featuring works displayed near the boilers that used to heat water. Some videos will also be projected on the top wall of the monumental boiler room. Most of the presented works were created during the lockdown, directly in response to the Review’s motto. In addition to video works, there will also be paintings, installations, objects and drawings, as well as sculpture and ceramics. The Sound Art Forum will provide its own response to questions about artistic creativity during the pandemic. “In the history of the practice of soundscape research, the global lockdown was perhaps the only opportunity to actually ‘listen to the world,’ with diametrically less noise pollution,” says Daniel Brożek, curator of the Sound Art Forum.

Walks, tours, debates and the famous Wrocław Unit

A series of debates on mobility and future scenarios of international artistic exchange will be held as part of the Public Forum and the Creative Europe programme at the seat of the WSB University near the festival venue. The Forum for Dialogue will be attended by guests from Poland, the Czech Republic, the United States, Belgium and the Netherlands. For those interested in the architecture and history of post-war Wrocław, there will be walks around the former Pafawag premises. The curator-led tours have been supplemented with dedicated sections for parents with young children (Baby Art Walk and Kid Art Walk) or seniors (Senior Art Walk). A special sound walk called “Let’s Sing Pa-fa-wag” in the form of an audio drama will be available as part of this year’s Sound Art Forum. A new element of the programme is “silent sightseeing,” during which sound and light stimuli will be kept to a minimum.

During a meeting entitled “Culture for the masses?”, art historian Iwona Kałuża will present the activities of visual artists as well as amateur artists/workers associated with the Pafawag. The lecture will provide a pretext for a discussion about the role of industrial plants in the promotion and creation of culture and art in socialist Poland. Another event accompanying the festival is the presentation of the book “Kult Jednostki” (“Cult of the Unit”, premiere this autumn), the first publication of the Torypress publishing house, on the longest-produced (1962–1993) railway vehicle in the world – the EN57 model. The cult “unit” can still be found on the railroads. Visitors to ​​the Review will also have an opportunity to buy food and drinks at the festival club, where local food trucks will be parked.

From 14 June until the end of the month, the Szewska Street Gallery (situated along Szewska Street between Kotlarska and Nożownicza) will present nine double-sided exhibition windows featuring fragments of artistic works shown during the Review.

Admission to SURVIVAL is free. Registration is required to take part in the events accompanying the main exhibition – the link to the registration will appear on the website and in social media on Tuesday (15 June 2021) at 10 a.m.

? 25.06 FRIDAY

opening hours: noon–midnight

5-6:30 PM Historical tour of the PAFAWAG led by curator Ewa Pluta (The City Museum of Wrocław), start: from under the Dozamel building, Fabryczna St. 10

8-8:30 PM Ola Zielińska, Wera Bet It ain’t gonna fly. Talk show, performance (required prior registration)

9-10 PM Mateusz Kowalczyk Herba Polonica, performance 

? 26.06 SATURDAY

opening hours: noon – midnight

1-2 PM Tour of the exhibition in Polish Sign Language led by curator Ewa Pluta (prior registration coordinated by Foundation Katarynka), start: Meeting Point*

2-3:30 PM Forum for Dialogue: You will join the meeting when someone lets you in! – geopolitical, cultural and social dimensions of artistic mobility, WSB University

3:30-5 PM “Let’s sing Pa-fa-wag!” soundwalk with Beata Kwiatkowska and Sławomir Wieczorek led by curator Daniel Brożek, start: Meeting Point*

4-5 PM Kid Art Walk! Tour of the exhibition for kids 6-12 y.o. led by Ewa Pluta, start: Meeting Point*

5-6:30 PM Forum for Dialogue: Your meeting attendees are waiting! – artistic residencies in lockdown and after, WSB University

8-9 PM Tour of the exhibition led by curator Anna Kołodziejczyk, start: Meeting Point*

10-11 PM Collective KWAS Night Club Euphoria, performance

? 27.06 SUNDAY

opening hours: noon- midnight

1-2 PM Tour of the exhibition with audio description led by curator Ewa Pluta (prior registration coordinated by Foundation Katarynka), start: Meeting Point*

2-3:30 PM Forum for Dialogue: I’m sharing, can everybody see my screen? – creation and participation  in lockdown and the meanings of online, WSB University

4-5:30 PM Tour Sunday with Pafawag (event coordinated by Torypress), start: Meeting Point *

5-6:30 PM Forum for Dialogue: Your meeting will start soon! possible futures, lessons and redesigns, WSB University

8-9 PM Tour of the exhibition led by curator Michał Bieniek, start: Meeting Point*

? 28.06 MONDAY

opening hours: noon- 10 PM

1-2 PM Tour in the Baby Art Walk! Series led by Aleksandra Jach, start: Meeting Point*

2-3:30 PM Culture for the masses? – lecture and meeting with Iwona Kałuża, WSB University

4-5 PM Tour in the Senior Art Walk! Series led by curator Ewa Pluta, start: Meeting Point*

5-6:30 PM Forum for Dialogue: Access granted! – info-sessions for artists, curators and other cultural agents, WSB University

8-9 PM Tour of the exhibition in English led by curator Małgorzata Miśniakiewicz, start: Meeting Point*

? 29.06 TUESDAY

opening hours: noon-10 PM

5-6:30 PM Meeting with publishing house Torypress, WSB University

8-9 PM Tour of the exhibition led by curator Małgorzata Miśniakiewicz, start: Meeting Point*


On Saturday and Sunday, between 11:00-12:00, there will be fade out sound installations and limited light and acoustic stimuli. If you have any question please send email to 

*MEETING POINT is located at the car park in the immediate vicinity of the Review Area.