Inaugural show leaves us wanting more

1118 Miles is at The Town Hall Galleries, Cornhill, Ipswich until November 1. Open Tues - Sat 10-5.1118 Miles, now showing at The Town Hall Galleries, is an exhibition of contemporary art in association with Ipswich's inaugural Polish Arts Festival.

1118 Miles is at The Town Hall Galleries, Cornhill, Ipswich until November 1. Open Tues - Sat 10-5.

1118 Miles, now showing at The Town Hall Galleries, is an exhibition of contemporary art in association with Ipswich's inaugural Polish Arts Festival. It's a minimal show, but visually striking. Iwona Zajac's mural The Family stretches across one whole wall of the gallery; a series of relatives, including children and a head-scarfed granny, colourfully painted and suspended in mid-air.

The style of art is very design-influenced and makes a good companion to the group Twozywo who design posters, street art and large-scale posters. Their dramatic poster, is shown repeated over the back wall of the gallery; an image resembling an old 30s lithograph in red, black and white.

Agata Borowa's Find Me and Ultramine show a series of computer print outs of correspondence on a dating website with mainly Polish immigrants in the UK, and her answers to some of the chats. Some of the messages are highlighted with a pink marker; suggesting Agata's emotional response to these website communications. Frankly, I found this a little hard to understand; especially because of the language barrier. Perhaps, understanding the language would have created a different reaction. However, the pieces still might be seen as rather flimsy.


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Wojciech Doroszuk's two films Picnic and Lunch are far more substantial. Both films show a group of international students who were studying in Istanbul. Picnic shows the students, who had been taught Polish by the artist, communicating in a mixture of languages in a beautiful, lush countryside setting. Doroszuk plays with colour in the film, intensifying it, and giving the film a very surreal feel. Gloriously pink balloons float across the screen, close-ups of vivid oranges and juicy water melons add to the sense of wonder. What you get from the work is a sense of the beauty of youth and the joy of communication, albeit in a very light and possibly superficial way. Lunch is quite different. Here the students are shown in an urban restaurant; their meals in clinical stainless steel bowls. The chat seems more stilted, and Doroszuk emphasises this by dividing up the screen into multiple images; which repeatedly disappear to blackness. You are reminded of a series of snapshots catching a momentary glimpse of life.

1118 was organised by Hungary Arts and supported by Suffolk County Council Strategic Partnership, Ipswich Borough Council and Turnstone Arts. Its curators Katarzyna Szydlowska and Konrad Schiller have put together an interesting show; but it would have been wonderful to have seen more.

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Sonia Carvill

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