Manon Awst, Benjamin Walther [Germany]

“The Centre of the World” | installation

venue: Zejman Club, Motławska Str.


“The Centre of the World” 2013, devised for the 5th edition of Narracje, is one in a series of works where the artists place unique neon messages inside a cardboard box which opens up a dialogue about social and spatial experiences of contemporary individuals. The 2013 Gdańsk piece plays with the idea of how we consume materials and energy, and how this relates to our planet and to our bodies. Harking back to the primal fire, the central hearth around which people came together at the beginning of civilisation, the piece questions what this might have been replaced by today: One feels attraction and warmth when looking at it, but on closer inspection one is confronted by a rather dubious message that unravels wider socio-political and ecological discussion.


Zejman gallery, occupying the ruins of a former granary, is perfect for “The Centre of the World”. The very fabric of its architecture, with the heavy wooden beams and the Dutch bricks which arrived as ballast in grain ships, takes us back to the city’s so-called economic and political heyday. Having survived the huge conflagration of the nineteenth century, when half of the granaries on Granary Island burnt to the ground through the spontaneous combustion of dry grain, the site stands as a remnant and points a questioning finger forwards and back through time.



Manon Awst (born 1983 in Bangor, Wales) and Benjamin Walther (born 1978 in Dresden, Germany) are a husband and wife team living and working in Berlin and Wales since 2006. Awst has completed Architecture Masters from Cambridge University and Doctoral Research at the Royal College of Art, London; and Walther, who is also a theatre director, has degrees in Art History & Philosophy from Humboldt-University Berlin and Visual Arts from HGB Academy of Visual Arts, Leipzig. In numerous exhibitions and residencies, in the UK, Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Russia, Spain, Italy and now Poland, their work examines questions of human existence and discusses behavioural standards and social values. The main subject of their artistic interest is space. In 2009 their works were presented at the 53rd Venice Biennale.


Awst & Walther, Void filled with reduction detail