press release

The aim of the project is to start a collection of contemporary sculpture by the best, renowned artists, both Polish and from abroad, in Nowa Huta, the neglected post-industrial district of Krakow. The artists have selected or will select particular spots for their sculptures that will be presented to Nowa Huta and its community.

In 2004 the artists will prepare documentation and plans. It seems worth mentioning that the understanding of the term ‘monuments’ is very broad, they can be traditional sculptures as well as e.g. public projections. We also plan a publication showing the effects of this initial step of our project.

In the following couple of years, the works will be accomplished in the urban space.

The main focus of our attention is Plac Centralny, the main square of Nowa Huta built after the Second World War to serve as the center of the new, communist city. This place robbed of the Lenin Monument calls for new works to give it character and meaning in the new times. Nowa Huta itself, which has lately become fashionable as a peculiar museum of totalitarian architecture, also needs new cultural life to re-value its identity.

There are few places in Poland where one can find good, modern sculpture in the public space. Consequently, this collection – apart from the fact that it may become a factor initiating unavoidable changes in Nowa Huta – might attract tourists to this otherwise neglected district.

Artists taking part in the project:

David Rabinowitch (b. 1943, Toronto) works on developing the idea of sculpture as formulated by Alfred Tarski, a mathematician of Polish origin, whose achievements are a long-standing source of inspiration for Rabinowitch. The sculpture will be made of pieces of metal found on the spot, which refers to the reasons for the erection and existence of Nowa Huta.

Jochen Gerz (b. 1940, Berlin), a well-known German artist, the author of series of monuments and interactive sculptures in public space, who, by questioning and developing the concept of monument, comments on the issue of the meeting of individual memory and the history of a place. The artist’s website

Wilhelm Sasnal (b. 1972, Tarnów), a well-known Polish painter and filmmaker, gaining international fame. His subtle works, though giving an overwhelming impression that they are a creation of an introvert, at the same time result from a lively interest in public life, mass-media and catastrophes. The artist's biographical note

Krzysztof Wodiczko (b. 1943, Warszawa) visual artist working in video and photography, the author of technologically complicated objects. One of the best known Polish contemporary artists, who has been living in America for many years. The possibility to refer through art to urgent problems of contemporary societies – alienation, strangeness, loss of roots, poverty, as well as art’s existence in the public space are the main focus of his creative work.

Monuments of Nowa Huta is an art project created for the public space. It’s mission is to create a maximum cultural and environmental impact through establishing new modern sculpture in Nowa Huta, a town next to Crakow. Monuments of Nowa Hutas main objective is in the dissemination and initiating of change and difference as a prelude for individualistic thinking. Along with creating new pieces of art for Nowa Huta the organisers, Bunkier Sztuki are intent in recording the process of artistic production, maintaining a relationship with our target groups, creating exhibitions, and publishing material. The project reaches out at all people within a community and to many Polish people in Poland and abroad. We will: produce sculpture, make film, publish leaflets and exhibition material, host a conference and design feedback material to measure the feeling within the community. Monuments of Nowa Huta can be seen as a whole, taking some few years to complete, and in parts with an artist creating and directing his or her own part. Monuments of Nowa Huta employs the skills and experience of many people creates products and makes changes in an area which has needed new stimulus for many years. In using German artists and professionals to work with Polish people and institutions we are creating an experience that benefits all.

Needs Addressed

The targeted area where Monuments of Nowa Huta will operate in an old centrally planned industrial steel complex built after the Second World War. It is very much in need of a diversity of new images being now empty of the old communistic sculpture that went before. In addition to this need to fill vacant spaces and provide good sculpture for the community, another curious need has arisen. People are starting to visit the Huta as they are interested in the totalitarian architecture of the twentieth century; this brings much needed economic activity to the area. Monuments of Nowa Huta encourages visits to the Huta by being a high profile project that aims at media coverage within Poland and targets the international tourist industry. A third need that our project addresses is that of prestige. While employing a well known German artist who will visit and create projects and sculpture, a sense of worth and esteem is created in the town; something new to be interested in. Using local television media to highlight the project in its various stages, the newness and perhaps controversial nature of the scheme is guaranteed an audience.

Importance for the field Art in the Public Space

Monuments of Nowa Huta is a project that brings art out of the gallery context and into the public space. Of course this is nothing really new since many contemporary artistic activities encompass such notions. However, Monuments of Nowa Huta is important for the field of art in the public space in that it uses a qualitative evaluation and feedback system that is different. A lot of the reaction to the project is to be captured by a film made documenting the production of the sculpture. Since the nature of the whole project has the aspect of being built from individual and definite parts, each sculptural project can be experimented with in various ways. Using film, photographs, published materials and procedures to augment our project we will be producing a kind of blueprint for establishing new sculpture in Poland.


Monuments of Nowa Huta
Koordinator: Anna Smolak

mit David Rabinowitch, Jochen Gerz, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Wilhelm Sasnal