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Nowa Synagoga / Pływalnia Miejska


Where: Galeria Sztuki im. Jana Tarasina / City Art Gallery in Kalisz

Exhibition: Przestrzenna czułość dźwięku

Curator: Agnieszka Sukienniczak 

2017, Poznań, filmed performance [05:40]

The ‘New Synagogue’ in Poznań is better known as ‘Pływalnia Miejska’, the city’s swimming pool. The building represents a painful past, it being turned into a swimming pool for German soldiers during WWII. After the war, the pool was kept in use, providing swimming lessons for the children of Poznań.

The story of the desecration of the synagogue, came to me gradually. In the same time, I also got to know a song, based on a Yiddish poem. The poem is from before the first World War and seems prophetic. A modern composer, put the poem on a melody that seems loaded with Jewish history. I wanted to bring the song inside the walls of the synagogue.


The parallel that I intuitively felt, was also pointed out by my friend and anthropology student Gabi Manns. She studied the synagogue in Poznań, regarding the complex Jewish/German/Polish history of the town. To her, the building is different places at once. This is because it contains traces of all the historical events it went through. (It stands on it’s original 1907 deteriorating foundation, the pool is a trace of the German occupation, the letters in the building are a left-over from the communist Polish regime that decided to keep the pool in use.)


‘[A]rt is working against forgetting’ Gabi says, it turns the site into a place of memory.


Video & sound recording: Tomasz Pawłowski

Additional information: ‘The problem of memory in contemporary art’

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