New Coat of Paint

Alternativa Festival “Till Tomorrow! Ideologies of City Planning and the Tactics of Dwelling,” Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdansk, Poland (2014), curated by Aneta Szylak

During the last decade, housing estates in Central and Eastern Europe have been covered in a flamboyant and patchworked mixture of yellow, orange, pink, violet and green colours. The contrast between grey and colourful is of a particular interest for the New Coat of Paint project. In everyday language of the post-socialist era, housing estates and prefabs have been described as “grey”. “Greyness” bears implicit negative connotations – anonymity, boredom and desolation. In this context, colourful façades embody a promise of happiness, which is to be found in the ideals of architectural variety, diversity and singularity. But is today’s utopia nothing more than the undoing of the utopia of modernist and post-war times, the colours undoing the greys, the ideals of singularity undoing the ideals of collectivity?