Tag Archives: sculpture

Polish space invaders target Brussels


Twenty years ago communism fell in Central and Eastern Europe. It was Poland where the transformation which changed the course of European history began. A special artisic-social project entitled “Common Task” will remind Europeans about events which took place over 20 years ago. On 4th of June 1989 Poland was the first country behind the Iron Curtain to organise free elections.

The “live social sculpture” will appear today in Brussels. There are no VIPs here – Paweł Althamer, artist and project’s organiser told the media. This is a grass-roots project, in which ordinary people participate. It reminds that ordinary people are the ones who can change reality. 20 years ago no one expected that Poland would be free. We thought it was impossible. Our astronauts also never expected to fly to Brussels in a golden airplane.  We set to have fun and enjoy freedom.


On 4 June at 10.05 a.m., at the Brussels Airport, for the first time in history, golden Boeing 737 of Polish Airlines will land with over 200 people on board, all wearing golden spacesuits.  Golden creatures, residents of Warsaw’s Bródno district, and neighbours of the artist Paweł Althamer, will explore the city of Brussels. Their first stop will be at Expo ‘58 – the area representing the world in its entire complexity condensed into a single elementary particle. The model of atom dominating the national pavilions will be a starting point for the visit to the European Parliament – another place which reminds of the multidimensional character of things, their transitory nature and crossing the borders. They will have a walk around the Grande Place and a picnic at the Royal Park.

Journalists, reporters and everyone who will accopmpany the participants will have to wear the golden space-suit as well.


Curator’s note reads:

At the heart of Paweł Althamer’s Project lies ‘live’ communication with people, encouragement of interaction and participation in the activity and creative process. Common Task is intended for a broad group of recipients, i.e. those who are interested in modern art as well as accidental passers-by, residents of Brussels. The choice of the place for the event is not accidental either. Brussels is the capital of the united Europe, a continent which barely twenty years ago seemed to be divided forever. In this context, the artistic performance may offer an impulse reminding us of the changes which took place in Poland and which influenced the history of entire Central Europe.

The joint activities are aimed to cross not only the mental but also the physical barriers; in addition to the meetings which are set in everyday reality, the participants also set out on peculiar journeys offering them new possibilities and unusual experiences. Clad in extraordinary spacesuits they balance on the border of two worlds; the one that they know and the new one which is very often a projection of their imagination. The world that they know quite frequently means the unattractive space of the grey and gloomy blocks of flats. The participants are “ordinary” people who have “ordinary” jobs and who are just “people from across the street”. “Common Task” allows them to leave the twilight zone and to appear in a public space which is completely new to them. For them, it is a different world full of people communicating in a foreign language. But it is also the world in which they become visible. What is more, they become the focal point and draw attention of the other people.In this context the Project of Paweł Althamer can be viewed as a social sculpture. The sculpture which is a material object, is transformed into a common experience, a process aimed to introduce a deep going change in the registers of everyday habits. Subject to this artistic transformation is not only a physical object but also the person, consciousness and mental habits. At the same time, Common Task is a meeting and integration place of various social groups and people whose everyday realities do not merge in any way and who are often excluded from the social and cultural rites. Symbolic crossing of the borders thus occurs at many levels.

Video from the press conference

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imagesThis event is part of “It all began in Poland” – celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War and of the 20th anniversary of the collapse of communism in Central Europe. More info at www.3989.pl

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Polish Artists You Hate You Couldn’t Love

Why no one heard about so many Polish artists is — verily, verily — something to make foreigners angry. Every time anyone is satisfied with their English reads, visions, produce of the monolingual civilisation, there could be at least two irritants in the back of their mind:


#1: Hmm, maybe a haiku born somewhere far away is worth more than all Shakespeare – and I can walk no way to find out?

#2: Hmm, maybe that haiku was never written because its author died in poverty, as most funds went to promote Shakespeare?

Release your anger. I’m giving you a short list of ‘why da
heck don’t I know ’em‘ artists:

PAINTING: Andrzej Wróblewski, died 30, when mountaineering. (Admittedly, a James Deany way of dying scores bonus points for the artist.) If you want to get a handful of his pictures on fine paper, buy this thing. Mind, it’s not an album of Wróblewski’s paintwork.

Shot by a Nazi

It is Arw, a script by Stanisław Czycz [a weirdnik in his own right], about Wróblewski’s life. The script was never put in motion – had it been, the movie would have been made by an honorary Oscar awardee, Andrzej Wajda, who commissioned the script-writing. You may want to find out for yourself why.


THEATRE: Jerzy Grotowski. Nuff said. (As you may know him after all.)
Can NoneTheatre come to YouTube? Apocalypsis Cum Figuris, an example.


POETRY: Bolesław Leśmian. This one is tough — to fully appreciate the flavour of the whisky Leśmian (though I think he’d probably think of himself as absinth, fresh meadow fragrant), one needs to know Polish natively, have a knack for words. Appreciation for deathly eroticism is appreciated, too. If your favourite scene of Wuthering Heights was Heathcliff lovingly opening Cathy’s grave, you’ll catch it.

Cathy, you’ll die on 20th March

Leśmian is a good way to find out if your Polish is native enough. If you don’t find anything extraordinary in the guy’s work, you still have much to learn. (It goes for several millions Poles, too, I know. So?)


SCULPTURE: Read here: “This artist / sculptor created and wrote more by age 30 than DaVinci did his whole life.”. The opinion comes from Maynard James Keenan (of Tool, one of so few things why America should be spared, for a time.) Whom does he mean?

Szukalski, Defense

Stanisław Szukalski, his name flowing a bit more vividly in the memesphere recently. I spotted several sources about the artist this year, and if this post could be another straw that breaks the silence’s neck, may it be!
Some intro in Polish here. Some info in English here. Propagate the meme, people. Sons of Yeti, as he would dub you, don’t you love the guy who made this?


POLITICS: The mere alliteration should catch your attention: “poet, private printer, pamphleteer, pagan and pretender to the Polish throne” — Phrone would be as good. — Or Phorn. Well yes, Potocki de Montalk, a Polish New Zealander, authored “Here Lies John Penis“.

Alexandros Pantazopoulos shot it

As well as “Katyn Manifesto“. We can finally talk about it — and not be arrested by British secret agents. (More can be found in the post “The Count” blogged here.)


FILM: I can’t tag Jan Potocki (yes, another by that name) in any Polish category, for his Saragossa Manuscript was written in French. But the book–based movie was all Polish.

The Weird Sisters

“Luis Bunuel (who seldom viewed movies more than once) liked the film so much he watched it three times” — Which makes 9 hours of watching. (I think I already said that.) — Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese financed the restoration of the movie. (Their efforts are the other of so few things why America should be spared, for a time.) [Wait, wait, maybe I must not put Potocki in any human category? For all we know, “we” including Neil Gaiman here, Potocki was a werewolf. He died like one, at least.]


MUSIC: No way. Music speaks One Language. I mean, if I can easily pick up a Polish folk dance in the main Godzilla theme, for instance, why should one translate music? And into what?


I have more. But your suggestions for additions are welcome.

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