Gdańsk: Underground Art and Subculture

Paulina Kulczycki | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Although Gdańsk, next to Warsaw or Kraków, may not seem like the cultural capital of Poland, it has a huge underground art movement with a lot of progressive subculture to offer. Gdańsk might even be the new insider tip for artists in all fields, whether it’s music, poetry, street art, theatre or cinema.

Klub Żak – The oldest cultural center in Poland

This little and unimposing Club is an urban cultural center and modern art house, which is running musicals, theatre, exhibitions, dance workshops, movies and film fests. Created in 1957 as a “Student’s Club”, Klub Żak is one of the oldest cultural institutions in Poland. Today it combines a café with regular DJ sessions, an art gallery presenting works from students, an extraordinary cinema showing black and white movies and a concert-theatre hall called "Suwnicowa Hall". Having all these facets Klub Żak realizes a subcultural program on an intellectual and artistic high level. The program of independent cinematic productions from Europe, Asia and Latin America entertains connoisseurs and those who are searching for more original movies, outside of the range of usual cinema blockbusters. But especially the innovative dance theatres and concerts with widely implied alternative music and various fusions of jazz and contemporary styles, represent perfectly the underground movement of polish avant-garde.

Bunkier – Klubogaleria

This massive concrete bunker, built in 1941, is a former shelter for industrial workers, civilians and the command of the armed forces and their families. In distinction from other ordinary underground and hidden shelters, this bunker was distinguished by the equipment of power generators, ventilation, medical offices, weapons warehouses and even showers as well as toilets. Nowadays the bunker, or as the locals say "Bunkier", is a so-called "Klubogaleria", which is a combination of nightclub and art space. The Bunkier consists five floors of subculture and urban entertainment, two bars, two concert halls, an art gallery and a pub, where philosophical disputes are accompanied by a delicious offer of food and drinks. In the rough atmosphere of this old bunker and it’s underground vibe, you are entertained by a daily program of poetry slams, improvised theatre, jam sessions or parties with art and light installations. The Bunkier is definitely a place where dark history and contemporary underground art melt into an impressive image of polish culture.

Łaźnia CCA – Center for Contemporary Art

This unique Center for Contemporary Art is a municipal cultural institution and art gallery in the district Dolne Miasto in Gdańsk. Located in the abandoned municipal bathhouse, built in 1905 in the industrial port area, Łaźnia CCA held it’s first exhibition in 1992 on the initiative of students of the Academy of Fine Arts and several artists from the "Wyspa Gallery". Nowadays it is one of the art gems in the Tri-City area, holding regular exhibitions with upcoming artists and an innovative subcultural program. Next to film festivals, art and science meetings and workshops, one of the most impressive projects is the outdoor gallery that contains murals, street art, sculptures and light installations all around the outdoor area in the harbor. This project in the framework of a long-term revitalization program, supports the process of social and architectonic transformation of the neglected district Nowy Port in Gdańsk.

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