SURVIVAL 18: catalog online

We present a comprehensive summary of the 18th edition of the SURVIVAL Art Review at the pumping station Port Miejski in Wrocław.

Exceptionally, the 18th edition of the SURVIVAL Art Review took place in September. Its uniqueness also stemmed from the fact that it was held in a place that is normally inaccessible to the inhabitants of Wrocław – the City Port Pumping Station, despite being over a hundred years old, is still considered a strategically important facility and as such it is closed to strollers and urban explorers, who are therefore unable to appreciate its historical and architectural values. What added to the exceptionlity of this edition was the fact that SURVIVAL 18 took place during the coronavirus pandemic, between the first and second waves of infections, as one of just a handful of events that physically took place in Wrocław at that time. Despite the necessity to meet all the restrictions guaranteeing the visitors’ safety, which were often very complex, SURVIVAL could be held. It featured almost thirty works by artists from Poland and abroad, whose scope oscillated around issues connected with the motto, i.e. Wasteland. The exhibition was seen by five and a half thousand people.

As usual, the subject of the Review was inspired by the context of the venue in combination with current events, especially the afor mentioned coronavirus pandemic, which in a very short time changed the seemingly familiar world beyond recognition – locally and globally. The ubiquitous restrictions, obligatory facemasks, social distance, inaccessibility of what used to be considered basic services – all of this became the new normal, despite reactions ranging from doubts and questions to disbelief and indignation. Other elements of the new reality included: the migration of politics into the abysmal chaos of post-truth, the inefficiency of the health service, a sense of helplessness of individuals who, despite constant threats to health and life, were mostly left to themselves, unclear and constantly changing rules of behaviour, general misinformation. In a sense, the world had fractured into pieces, and one day it will have to be put together as a new whole.


This publication has been co-financed by the Municipality of Wrocław and the E. Geppert Academy of Art and Design in Wrocław.