Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Visitation

Our exhibitions in Gallery ZERO are different. As much as we change the shows the public usually is similar. Until... Until th eopening of the exhibition of Arek Ruchomski. It was on June 30th. At 6pm a bus arrived with 45 people - residents of Janowiec, a small town somewhere in Poland (I have no idea where is Janowiec). The tour was organised by Arek's mother. They all left Janowiec at 2am, arrived in Berlin at 11am and took a sight-seeing tour till 6pm. As this big bus stopped in front of our gallery I thought this is not happening. But since the opening of the exhibition was at 8pm, we didn't know what to do. We told them to take a tour and come back at 8pm, but they were tired (older people and children were in majority) so they waited till 9pm till we thouhgh, ok, let them in. Arek's mom brought self-baked cakes. We put it on our beautiful plate (stolen in Polish embassy once) with golden Polish Eagle symbol (special pottery made only for embassies). We were a bit ashamed to serve wine in plastic cups, but hey, this is Berlin! In the beginning I made a short speach and then the lady from cultural centre in Janowiec took over.

After her there was a speach and congratulations from a man from the townhall in Janowiec (in official suit and obligatory red tie).

Then, as the exhibition was officially open, everybody was drinking. Not really looking at Arek's art, most of people didn't like it, but that was not the point. The point was that they came all the way down to support their artist, they were really proud. Arek was born in Janowiec, now he lives in Zielona Góra. at some point everybody gathered inside the gallery (my God, 45 people on 20 square meters!) for a memory photo. Then... the song began... they all sang "Happy Birthday" to Arek. and then another song, and another... and another. Polish people love to sing. Yes, me too, I admit.

Around 9pm they all went to the bus and left back to Janowiec. All in all it was an amazing evening. I have never experienced something like that. Gallery ZERO either, Berlin either. Those of you who weren't there - you missed something really wild!


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