Katarzyna Roj is a historian, art critic, and doctoral candidate in philosophy at the University of Wrocław. She runs the BWA Design Gallery in Wrocław. Roj has made a bold curatorial entrance onto the scene of contemporary design.
”The encroachment of art on the city has become a fact.”
Under her direction, Wrocław’s BWA Design Gallery has undergone a complete transformation into an institution that describes itself as an “urban carpet.” The gallery now espouses a philosophy of openness, taking its exhibits outside the tradition confines of the museum. It hosts workshops, talks, film screenings, and organizes events in urban spaces. At the BWA, Roj promotes what is known as “augmented design,” a socially involved approach that references a variety of historical and theoretical contexts while challenging consumer culture and the cult of “beautiful objects.”
The BWA Design Gallery’s projects enjoy great popularity. The gallery hosts children’s workshops and talks on the history of design, contemporary fashion, and film. One exhibition, titled “Designer Toys” (2009), presented a number of gadgets and toys made for adults. At “Made in Wrocław 1945–1989,” visitors saw examples of Wrocław’s post-war design, while the year-long project “Body in the Library” (2010) was devoted to books as a part of the cultural landscape. In 2010 and 2011, the BWA held recycling competition for designers, titled “Przetwory” (Preserves). The exhibition “Byłem psem” (I was a Dog, 2009) presented the world from a canine perspective and was open to humans and pets alike.
Roj has curated such exhibitions as “Bartosz Mucha 12% normy” and a solo show of graphic design by Hakabo (Jakub Stępień). She also oversaw two film projects specially prepared for the 9th edition of the Era New Horizons Film Festival, curating Piotr Dumała’s installation “Walka, miłość i praca” (Fight, Love, and Work) and — along with Kuba Mikurda — an installation by Jakub Szczęsny, “Na kolana tchórze!” (On Your Knees, Cowards!), for a Guy Maddin film.