Shadow Architecture. Lavatories and bazaars

Shadow Architecture. Lavatories and bazaars

Shadow Architecture consists of elements displaced from the official discourse such as toilets, men’s public lavatories, bazaars and street stalls. Their form and place within the urban space serve as a mirror reflecting the economic and cultural development of a given society as well as its relation to physicality, rituals and politics.

Paraphrasing one of the commentaries on the famous sculpture-urinal by Marcel Duchamp titled Fountain, “Art is something you piss on,” one can say that we ignore everything we don’t understand or which we wish to push out of our awareness.

In a short dissertation on the topic of ideology and toilets, Slavoj Žižek reveals to us the connection between the shape of a toilet bowl and political systems. Sanitation superhero Mr. Toilet, otherwise known as Jack Sim, creates an innovative Toilet Museum full of golden feces and a desire to improve sanitary conditions all over the world. The Russian president, right after the toilet disgrace at the Olympics in Sochi, declared war on Ukraine. The auto-da-fe of the street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi incited a revolution in Arab countries, and a simple street stall with fruit and vegetables has become one of the symbols of this revolution. The removal of vendors and closing of the bazaar in front of the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw is a political act which symbolically ends the last phase of the transformation process of the capital of Poland.

The exhibition Shadow Architecture is a collage of spatial structures such as bazaars, stalls, public lavatories and toilets which, hidden away by the city in shameful recesses or on the peripheries as “unclean forms,” here they emerge from the shadows like urban fetishes: Parliaments of Bazaristan, Monuments to Trade, Museums of Ablution, Temples of Contemplation.

This exhibition and the book which accompanies it are an opportunity to devise a script for the future in which sacrum mixes with profanum, and that which is filthy, illegal and taboo returns, elevated in honor and glory. 

The exhibition will be accompanied by the second volume of the book Shadow Architecture, edited by Aleksandra Wasilkowska, the exhibition’s curator and architect. It will feature texts by Zofia Krawiec and Slavs and Tatars, poetry by Andrzej Szpindler, comics by Maciej Sieńczyka, Anna Kaplińska’s interviews with vendors and lavatory attendants, and documentation created by vendors, artists and architects of Bazaristan.

Featured Artists: Tania Bruguera, Pablo Bronstein, Olaf Brzeski, Maciek Chorąży, Oskar Dawicki, Teresa Gierzyńska, Jerzy Goliszewski, Agnieszka Kurant, Krzysztof Kaczmarek, Michał Kałużny, Zofia Krawiec, Maciej Landsberg, Mariusz Maciejewski, Agnes Mohlin, Noviki, François Roche, Alex Schweder, Slavs and Tatars, Maciej Sieńczyk, Jan Simon, Maciej Siuda, Kama Sokolnicka, Andrzej Szpindler, Aleksandra Wasilkowska, Magda Węgrzyn

See also:

Events connected with the exhibition: