Bródno Sculpture Park

Bródno Sculpture Park

The Bródno Sculpture Park, inaugurated in June 2009, is intended to be a long-term project, involving artists, residents of Bródno district, city council officers and an art institution – the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. The park has very quickly become one of the most recognizable spaces for public art in this part of Europe.

This park, located in the residential estate of Bródno, a part of the district of Targówek, had not been frequented by art lovers before. Being a unique example of a local initiative, the park refers to various traditions of art being exhibited outside of galleries and museums. The park helps implement the formula of “social sculpture” and public art in general. Each of the works presented in the Bródno Sculpture Park has a different character, durability, style and level of “functionality.”

To this project contributed the following artists: Paweł Althamer, Youssouf Dara, Olafur Eliasson, Jens Haaning, the group Nowolipie, Susan Philipsz, Katarzyna Przezwańska, Monika Sosnowska, and Rirkrit Tiravanija.

The Garden of Eden, 2009
Paweł Althamer

„The Garden of Eden” is a garden-sculpture created with the cooperation of Bródno residents, including children from the local elementary school no. 285. The little paradise in Bródnowski Park is composed of various species of trees and shrubs. This green corner changes its shape every year. “If there is a paradise at all, here between these blocks of flats, it's inside me, right here” - says the artist. “Not only were the apples picked, but the benches were pulled out and the street lamps broken! So I thought I should share my discovery with others as quickly as possible.” In 2010 a photograph of local residents taken in “The Garden of Eden” was given to the nearby Christ King church as a “holy picture” celebrating the paradisaic element of life in a concrete neighborhood.

Sylwia, 2010
Paweł Althamer and Grupa Nowolipie

The “Sylwia” sculpture was a cooperation between Paweł Althamer and the Nowolipie group. In 1995 the artist started doing pottery workshops with a group of people suffering from multiple sclerosis, for whom art was a form of therapy and rehabilitation. Together they created a park fountain in the form of a snake-haired woman lying on the water. “Sylwia” was the name of the model who posed for it. Each part of the chimera was designed by a different member of the group. The sculpture is made of bronze. It was placed in the reservoir next to “The Garden of Eden”.

Toguna, 2011
Youssouf Dara and Paweł Althamer

Althamer met Youssouf Dara during his first trip to Mali. The two sculptors recreated an important meeting place for the Dogon tribe, which Dara comes from, in Bródno. A toguna is a wooden shed with a thick roof based on sculpted columns. It's a significant element of Dogon culture, serving as a place for meetings and village gatherings. The structure in Bródnowski Park is not only a potential place for social integration - it also serves the mundane function of a bus stop.

Bródno, 2012
Jens Haaning 

The Danish artist usually tackles the issues of national identity, immigration, racism and assimilation, as well as relations between language and politics. He creates his projects in the context of a place, as a result of research on the specificity of a given city or neighborhood. This time the artist came up with a massive sculpture installation made of bricks and cement: a sign saying BRÓDNO placed on the top of a hill in the park. As Jens Haaning said himself: “What is important to me is the fact that the sculpture in Bródno is made of bricks. This comes from my, perhaps naive, perspective on social democracy, from which I see Poland in relation to a celebration of collective work and effort that underlies the creation of a »paradise« in Bródno”.

You Are Not Alone (Would There Be Earth Without the Sun?), 2010
Susan Philipsz

The sound installation titled “You Are Not Alone (Would There Be Earth Without the Sun?)” is the first “invisible” sculpture in Bródnowski Park. The artist designed a sound clock that strikes, just like a pendulum clock, every fifteen minutes. Philipsz assigned each hour with a signal from a Polish radio station. The artist played all the signals on a vibraphone. Plilipsz's clock serves as a delicate soundtrack for the park, while also referring to the Polish opposition tradition, in which the radio was a necessary and easily available tool of political resistance. The title comes from an interview with Lech Wałęsa. Asked about the influence of the mass use of radio sets by Poles (and therefore access to stations such as Free Europe) on the opposition activities of Solidarność, he answered, surprised: “Would there be Earth without the Sun?”.

Untitled (Painting Interventions), 2010
Katarzyna Przezwańska

In the summer of 2010 Katarzyna Przezwańska performed a dozen painting interventions in Bródnowski Park, using the area's “natural” features. Przezwańska's abstract painting appears in relation to cracks in the sidewalk, concrete pathways, asphalt holes and found park infrastructure: pots, reservoirs, benches. The artist noticed the worn construction materials and used found objects that had sculptural properties. The open air paintings underline the exotic character of a park in the middle of a concrete neighborhood. The colors used by the artist are usually borrowed from the facades of nearby buildings, with bright pink and yellow appearing here and there.

Grating, 2009
Monika Sosnowska

The sculpture titled “Grating” is a reference to the local Polish tradition of public space sculptures, which is a consequence of the artist's interest in modernist heritage, but also in construction mistakes and amateur, grassroots shaping of the common and private spaces by residents of pre-fabricated blocks of flats. Sosnowska's sculpture is a sphere, installed directly on the ground, made of ornamentally shaped reinforcement bars. It is the result of an observation of shapes and patterns of gratings installed by residents in Bródno that protect ground floor apartments, kiosks and shops from burglary.

Guardian Angel, 2013
Roman Stańczak

Roman Stańczak was an important artist from the workshop of prof. Grzegorz Kowalski at Warsaw's Academy of Fine Arts. However, he withdrew from art completely in 1996. In 2012 a chance meeting with Paweł Althamer, an old college friend, was the beginning of a new chapter in Stańczak's life and a return to creating art. „Guardian Angel” is a monument to a meeting with an artist-friend and a farewell to a radical life experiment, but also a private exorcism. It's a monumental figurative wooden sculpture that emits a golden shine. The „Angel” protects the „Garden of Eden” – a garden planted by Althamer with the help of his friends in Bródnowski Park in 2009.

untitled (overturned tea house with the coffee maker), 2009
Rirkrit Tiravanija

Rirkrit Tiravanija's sculpture is a pavilion for one or two people that can be used for having tea or coffee, but also as shelter from rain. It's a steel-covered cube made with cheap materials that reflects nearby trees and grass. This objects encourages meetings between neighbors, but also a creative use of a work of art. In 2010 the original tea house returned to Germany and was replaced by a copy designed by Paweł Althamer, which often hosts an impromptu park coffeehouse run by local residents.

To Be Found, 2014
Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei's Warsaw sculpture is composed of three cylindrical pits filled with broken crockery, soil and peat. The pits are 100 meters apart, forming a isosceles triangle. The crockery buried in the ground are replicas of a famous Chinese temple vase from the middle of the 14th century, sold at auction in 2005 for a record 27 million dollars. The original vase was made in the time of the Chinese Yuan dynasty (1279-1398), probably between the years 1330 and 1370. The blue and white vase is decorated with a scene depicting strategist and teacher Wang Yi seated on a chariot drawn by a tiger and a panther. The project, despite being clearly material, with a volume and a weight (over 300 kilograms) is invisible and inaccessible to the viewer. The artist's idea was for the artwork to function as a conceptual myth, a sort of urban legend.

Make Yourself At Home, 2015
Honorata Martin

In the summer of 2015 Honorata Martin moved into the Bródno Sculpture Park for several weeks. It was the realization of the idea of a social sculpture, for which interpersonal relations are the primary material. The artist pointed out the need for using visual arts as a form of communication, away from museums and art galleries. Painting, sculpture and drawing became the basis for the creation of a small community with the residents of Bródno who participated in the performance. Two material traces are left after this elusive activity: a bas-relief of a “God the Monkey” made by the artist and installed where her tent was set up (in Paweł Althamer's “Garden of Eden”) and pavement paintings of poems by Andrzej Przybysz, a local poet and an engaged participant of the “Make Yourself At Home” performance.

Stall bar, 2016
Nik Kosmas

Stall bars are one of the most basic and universal strength and stretching exercise equipment. The history of stall bars started in the early 19th century when Pehr Henrik Ling (1766 - 1839) – a Swedish physical education pioneer – created an exercise device to help with his arthritis. In 1813, with the support of the Swedish king, he founded a national institute where gymnastics was taught like an art. Nik Kosmas is fascinated by their open form and multi-functionality - he underlines that not only can they be used for an endless number of different exercises, but also for drying towels, installing a shelf system or playing erotic games. 

Paweł Althamer

One of Poland’s most famous artists worldwide. His work has contributed to redefining the concept of “social sculpture”. He employs a wide range of techniques and methods, working in figure sculpture, as well as social actions and performance. He is known for being uncompromising and loyal to his artistic vocation.

Youssouf Dara

A Dogon sculptor, the author of the Bródno toguna. Art plays an important role in the Dogon society: the people believe that with the artists’ magical skills, the Universe is kept alive. Once every sixty years, Sigui is organized – this is an eight-year long ceremony supposed to “renew the Cosmos”. The central figure in the ceremony is a few meters tall wooden structure called Mother of Masks. For each ceremony a new figure is produced by a tribal sculptor.

Olafur Eliasson

Born in 1967 in Copenhagen, Denmark, to Icelandic parents, Olafur Eliasson is one of the most recognized living artists in the world. He rose to fame thanks to the grand installation The Weather Project exhibited in 2003 at Tate Modern in London: the artists created a gigantic yellow sun, using a system of lamps and mirrors. In 2010, Eliasson won a competition to design an Art Pavilion to mark Poland’s 2011 EU presidency. At the junction of Karowa Street and Krakowskie Przedmieście Street a white and red structure called Your Reality Machine was located, which housed numerous cultural and political events.

Jens Haaning

Born in 1965, currently lives and works in Copenhagen. His works have been presented in such institutions as the Migros Museum in Zurich, the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Institute for Contemporary Art in London, De Appel in Amsterdam and Secession in Vienna.

Nik Kosmas

Born 1985 in Minneapolis, lives and works in Berlin. Together with Daniel Keller, Kosmas cofounded AIDS-3D in 2006 – an artist collective that produced installations, net-based works, and performances until it was disbanded in 2013. Since then, he has worked as a personal trainer and entrepreneur. Kosmas’s stall bars, meant as a practical, commercial product, has been exposed and used for training within the main exhibition of the 9th Berlin Biennale (2016).

Susan Philipsz

Lives and works in Berlin. She is mainly interested in sound, human voice production and its relationship with the architectural space. Emotional and psychological influence of her music on her audience is also extremely important for her. Sound installations of Susan Philipsz are frequently created outside of the galleries and museums, in reference to various elements of architecture: bridges, ruins, underpasses, city parks and cemeteries. Her works were presented at many prestigious international exhibitions, i.e. Manifesta 3 in Ljubljana (2000) and 4th Berlin Biennale (2006). In 2010 she was awarded with the Turner Prize.

Katarzyna Przezwańska

A graduate from the Department of Painting at Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Her work reflects her interest in modernism in general, modernist utopia and the avant-garde movements of the early 20th century. A crucial feature of her work is color and its perception with reference to spatial properties of architecture. Przezwańska’s artworks take a form of abstract, three-dimensional images, full of color inspired by the nearest urban surroundings.

Monika Sosnowska

One of the most widely recognised young-generation artists. She represented Poland at the 2007 Venice Biennale. Earlier, she participated in, among other events, Manifesta 4 in Frankfurt (2002) and the show Clandestine at the 51st Venice Biennale of Art (2003). In 2006, she had a solo show at the New York Museum of Modern Art, and in 2008 an exhibition at the prestigious Schaulager in Basel.

Roman Stańczak

Born in 1969 in Szczecin. He is a sculptor, living and creating his works in Wesoła, near Warsaw. In the early 90s, he combined the so-called ‘critical art’ (associated primarily with professor Grzegorz Kowalski’s art workshop at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts Sculpture Department, where he studied) with a spiritual quest. Ever since the end of 1996, he has been dealing with ... life.

Rirkrit Tiravanija

In his work, the Thai artist (born in 1961) focuses on creating situations, cooperations with a group, opportunities to break social barriers, making new contacts. At times, Tiravanija limits to preparing meals with the neighbors to the gallery where his work is presented. The artist’s projects have been realized at most prestigious institutions and exhibitions: Venice Biennale, Sao Paulo Biennale, etc. In 2004, he received the Hugo Boss Prize awarded by the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

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