"Chapters of the City"
Frank Depoorter, Lore Rabaut
Media used: sculptures created in porcelain plaster and materials associated with the area, related to graphic images executed using the dry-point technique, concrete, textile and wood, related to drawings done in pencil on paper.
The exhibition at Łaźnia CCA is going to present works of two Belgian artists – Frank Depoorter and Lore Rabaut – created partly as a result of their residency in Gdańsk. In their artistic practice, both of them enter into individual dialogues with the urban space. Frank Depoorter’s drawings and sculptures result from his sensual view of the surroundings and memory. They are created in the studio, based on the time spent in the given space of the city. The artist sensually experiences the place he is in; this experience is also determined by movement, whose repetitive rhythm and pace bring us in a near-meditative state. The works record transgressions, errors caused by the interval between being in the given space and actions taken in the studio, a sort of “colouring” of memory. The landscape becomes a series of fragments interspersed with previous emotions and knowledge. This “colouring” effect is an important focal point for the artist. During his study visit to Gdańsk, Frank Depoorter covered a ca. 50 km route. The trail went through forests surrounding the city, urban areas and seaside districts.
Lore Rabaut experiences the urban space in a different way. The horizon, the rhythm of the buildings, squares and frontages becomes a point of departure for diagrams and abstract sculptures. The interplay between the spatial scale of the objects, tactile sensitivity of the matter and minimum use of archetypal images results in works that are intriguing and unforgettable. They in turn become a source of music. The exhibition at Łaźnia CCA is a result of dialogue of two various artistic sensitivities and spaces of two different cities: Ghent, where the artists come from, and Gdańsk.
In addition haptic properties of Lore Rabaut’s works, their form and texture, will turn into a musical score performed at the opening of Chapters of the City by a musician, Marcin Malinowski.
“Meanwhile …… the city” project raises questions about how to read the space of a contemporary city. Could it be treated as an abstract concept? A fusion of spaces, tastes, rhythms, history, reconstructions, interpretations, its visitors and inhabitants? It has been simultaneously investigated in the project from the perspective of chaos and emptiness of the meanings. An attempt has been made to answer the question of what is it like for an artist to land in such a “spatial creature”. How is he or she able to investigate “the emptiness of a city”? A city with a multitude of absences and voids that naturally invite diverse meanings into the discourse. Abundance of absences generates a space for something new that combines the symbolic and imaginary with the real.

The Ghent- and Gdansk-based organisations NUCLEO, Circa and CCA laznia, plus the artists and curators, have been working on a mutual concept for more than a year. “Meanwhile ….. the city” project being the result of an almost yearlong dialogue is a mix of works created by Flemish artists. The process has included studio visits, artists in residence projects, individual researches.
“Meanwhile …. The city” is part of Flanders Week which is set to renew the cultural and economic bonds between Flanders and Gdansk. The relationship between both regions has a long history that dates back to the late Middle Ages. From the late 15th century, a large number of artists, philosophers and merchants exchanged cultural elements and ideas between Poland and Flanders and enabled the flourishing of both regions. Today we can still see the traces of this period in the respective historic city centres of Gdansk and Ghent.
Els Viaene
Kapsuła czasu
Instalacja dźwiękowa 2015

Magnesy ( urządzenie do słuchania), elektromagnesy
There is a time ball on the lighthouse in Nowy Port, Gdańsk. The first devise of that kind in the district dates back to 1876. Before the introduction of radio communication, time balls were an important optical signal for the sailors. They could calibrate their on-board chronometers and position their ships along the lines of longitude at sea. It is an ingenious system that works by the means of electromagnets and time signals.
A long history precedes the arrival of the time ball. Time Cabinet is a sound installation that evokes other worlds, ancient times, the vast sea and journeys of exploration by means of a paper map and a spherical magnet.
The basis of Els Viaene`s sound installations are the natural rhythms and textures of the sounds hidden in the aural landscapes around us.

Working on them for performances, sound compositions or installations, she enables the listeners to travel to imaginary and organic environments. Her sound installations create new spaces within the existing ones. She either emphasizes or makes the physical borders of that space disappear. In doing so she often plays with the notions of seeing and hearing, the perception of what we see and hear and how they interfere with one another.
Line Boogaerts
They almost missed it, 2015
video, HDV, looped, colour
It was from Hotel Heweliusz (currently Mercure) in Gdańsk that foreign journalists looked out at the strikes in the Lenin Shipyard in 1980. They sent out their reports from this location to the rest of the world.  At that time, this hotel was a symbolic, capitalist island inside the communist system.

The window through which the journalists looked down was the barrier between the inside and the outside, like a boundary between two contrasting worlds: journalists on one hand and striking shipyard workers on the other. Communication between them was difficult because information was often censored.
The window functioned as a screen: the foreign journalists were outsiders who watched the demonstrations. They were safely ensconced behind a glass wall in the hotel, while downstairs the shipyard workers were fighting for their rights. This revolution gave rise to a turnaround in Europe.

The window formed a border between two public spaces, a boundary between two realities, two systems. Line Boogaerts has created her own in-between world as an effect of a guerrilla action in the hotel. The artist set up a temporary studio in one of the hotel rooms rented precisely for this purpose. She painted a temporary image on the window of the room. She conjured images based on testimonies and pictures that referred to the events of those times. These are images that the Belgian journalists almost missed because they were not aware of the importance of the upheaval. The title was inspired by an article that Line Boogaerts encountered in the Belgian press while researching the subject.
We would like to thank European Centre for Solidarity for enabling the artist to use their archives in the creation of this work.
Sarah Westphal
Zwischendenräumen − Tussenderuimtes – Inbetweenspaces
Limited-edition picture book, 2007–09
26.5 x 20 cm, with fold-out pages
Black cat vanishing
In her multidisciplinary work, Sarah Westphal explores the relationships between people, objects and their surroundings. A key part of this investigation focuses on how qualities of place and architecture contribute to our human experience, answering such questions as how a location influences us physically and psychologically. How do we perceive the world around us? How does a space refer to its former inhabitants? What does an object tell us about its users? What impressions are left and what stories can be read from the layered history of surfaces and imprints or the corporeality of space?
Taking as its starting point images of the work Heimsuchen /The House (2007–08), the architectural picture book Zwischendenräumen − Tussenderuimtes − Inbetweenspaces is a photographically layered and folded labyrinth that suggests the feeling of rooms. By browsing through the book, the viewer moves from one room to another, and metaphorically touches the walls covered with old wallpaper. By unfolding pages, he opens doors as a ‘visitor’ to the different rooms that reveal themselves. In this way, the book becomes a mental space, a mental architecture in which stories can be experienced. A book can be read as a house, and a house can be read as a book. 

Through an archaeological investigation, in Heimsuchen /The House (2007–08), the layers of the house’s history were revealed or, on the contrary, concealed, camouflaged and reconstructed by digging into walls, floors and ceilings. Layers of wallpaper had been scraped off, cut off and carved into. Surfaces were varnished or prepared with dust. Holes left by former fireplaces were stuffed with material; such elements as electrical sockets are replicated and reinstalled. Thick carpets were shaved and hair was felted into them. A cake was made, based on the decorative elements of the interior. Some of the more subtle interventions were only visible from a specific perspective, or became less visible the longer the visitor stayed in the space.
In addition, Sarah Westphal created  a site-specific installation titled “Black cat vanishing” hidden in the premises of CCA Łaźnia. This work plays with the notion of exploring the unknown. It balances between opposite meanings like the inner and the outer, the visible and invisible, light and dark. “Black cat vanishing” faces puzzles without a clear solution
Wannes Goetschalckx
Wannes Goetschalckx creates performative installations in which the limitations and possibilities of his own body, spatiality, handmade objects, play, humour and visual language all play an important part. He combines objects in sculptural settings, which he then occupies, probes and alters. He records these performance actions and also presents them as video works.
Goetschalckx explores the emotional and physical, and the ideological and imaginative in relation to the body and space. By imposing physical and mental challenges to his own mind and body, his work reveals how man’s own limitations weigh on human existence.
Running is a triptic of screens. Three minimal settings are the same: a square glass box in the middle of the screen, half filled with water. The first video shows the water being circulated with a pump, fast and noisy and no one there. The second has a tube that slowly empties the glass tank in a bucket. Each time this last one is full, it will be poured into the tank and replaced by an empty one, a person coming in and out of frame once in a while. In the last video the water circulates with the least equipment, with a person constantly present, drinking ...
Exhibition is organised in cooperation with NUCLEO:
NUCLEO sets up affordable studios in Ghent for artists from various artistic disciplines. The organisation hosts about 130 artists. NUCLEO broadens and intensifies its activities by focusing on far-reaching artistic networking and other ways to support the careers of emerging artists, such as organising exhibitions and open studios as well as international residencies and exchanges.
Municipal Institution of Culture