Flanked by two polished cubes of contemporary real estate lies a derelict tenement with a shadowy gateway. If common sense screams to avoid this doorway, curiosity causes you to reconsider. Connecting Pańska 100A to Prosta on the other side, this is more than just one of Warsaw’s weird shortcuts.
Left to ruin since 2001, the inter-connecting passage leads to a courtyard that has been reclaimed by the community by way of an impromptu outdoor exhibition. The work of a group called Among Scratches, they’ve chosen this off-track spot to plaster dozens of arty photos of unexplored urban Warsaw: doorways, stairwells and courtyards much like this one are a common theme.
Built in 1909, the building is a place of dark and damp energy. Falling within the boundaries of the Warsaw Ghetto, bullet scars are still noticeable, though whether they date from the ’43 Ghetto Uprising or the ’44 Warsaw Uprising no-one knows. Looking up at the swirling shadows, you can almost feel the ghosts of the past whispering their story.
“We wanted to revive a wall which is too disappear,” explain Among Scratches, adding that their eccentric display will remain in place “until it is destroyed.” Knowing Warsaw, you may wish to visit sooner rather than later.