Stach Szumski

UNITED FIGHTERS AGAINST THE BRUTAL EXPANSION OF REAL ESTATE DEVELOPERS

spatial installation, performative situation / 2017
Corpus Gym building, Gałczyńskiego 7

 

The inhabitants of Brzeźno are perfectly familiar with the Corpus Gym sports club located in a hut, right next to modern apartment blocks. Its members practice sports such as kickboxing or Muay Thai; the most talented ones win trophies at national and international competitions. Furthermore, in cooperation with the Addiction Prevention Centre in Gdańsk, the club runs a programme for troubled youth from Brzeźno and its vicinity.

In early May this year, in circumstances that remain unclear, the club was torched. This prompted instant guesswork about who and why could have committed such a reprehensible act. On the wave of speculation, one website created an anonymous poll, asking “Who set fire to Corpus Gym?” and suggesting three types of perpetrators. Irrespective of the suspicions, and in spite of CCTV recordings, the arsonist(s) remain(s) at large. However, instead of giving up, young athletes quickly set about renovating the burnt down building with the support of local entrepreneurs, the District Council and inhabitants of Brzeźno. Faithful to their local identity, they refused an offer from the municipality to move to a much larger building located in Gdańsk-Wrzeszcz.

When exploring the district, Stach Szumski quickly found traces of fighting equipment consumed by the fire: melted mats, punchbags, charred awards. The artist decided to use them to create a trophy for the Brzeźno warriors, a votive offering expressing his admiration for their fearless fight against the adversities of fate. He combined various threads of this narrative to design a symbol of the fighting community, an emblem of sorts for the young warriors, which was placed inside the club. Apart from sportsmanship and perseverance, Szumski’s project also represents the brutal policies on the housing market and the local community united against them.

 

 

Stach Szumski (b. 1992)

is a visual artist and author of murals. He holds a BA from the Faculty of Media Art of the Academy of the Fine Arts in Warsaw. His art is multi-layered, moving from conceptual actions, through which the artist takes a critical look at the standardised aesthetics of first world countries, to intuitive visual practices, used to freely comment on the contemporary world. Szumski has taken part in a number of exhibitions and art projects in Poland and abroad; he is also the author of many murals painted, e.g., in India, Japan and Ukraine. He was born in Gdańsk.

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