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During a brief outdoor session, students of the Audio Sphere Studio of the Faculty of Multimedia Communication at the University of Arts in Poznan managed to take advantage of their first impressions.  The participants had never before visited the Fryderyk Chopin Museum in Żelazowa Wola.  Before travelling there, they familiarized themselves with Krystian Burda’s 1960/61 film The Road to Żelazowa Wola, which provided a very particular introduction to a subject as encoded in a work of art 52 years ago.  This was then confronted with the modern view of a cultural institution.  The short visit of these young adepts evoked their desire to express their feelings, and to deepen their reflections on historical facts, the arrangement of the park, and their vision of the development of the Museum.  The very young age of the participants could be seen as a guarantee that they were acting freely, without compromise, and with a certain distance to institutions such as the Museum.

A large majority of these young artists create site-specific objects/sculptures/installations, that is, those which refer directly to the environment in which they are situated.  The context of the park, and the rhythm so strongly accentuated in Burda’s film, acted as direct stimulus to creation in this historically unique location.

The exhibition is progressive in nature, consisting of several scenes and individual openings for each artist involved.  The works will be layered throughout the spaces of the park; they may enter into ‘dialogue’ with each other, or there may be a ‘monologue’ as a result of which numerous unpredictable contexts may arise.

The exhibition participants are:  Aleksandra Godlewska, Aleksandra Krasnodębska, Grupa OKO (Aleksandra Grunholz, Klaudia Jarecka, Olga Ozierańska), Hubert Wińczyk, Katarzyna Postaremczak, Maciej Rudzin, Mateusz Dryjer, Mikołaj Podworny, Tomasz Koszewnik, Wiktoria Bukowy.

Curators: Leszek Knaflewski, Daniel Koniusz


1. The Park/Areas of intervention

In delineating a park, we cut it off from its surroundings.  Even if the park as landscape is integrated with what surrounds it, it remains in opposition.

In delineating a park, we emphasise the closed area in which we compose ‘difference’.  That difference is an interference with the continuity of reality, which sets off ‘what surrounds us’.  It changes our view not only of that place, but of others which follow.

In intervening in the commemorative park, our aesthetic approach is confronted with the dimensions of conservation, the law, organization, institutions and, broadly speaking, world views.  The interventions, and objections to them, show where the borders lie.  They show us ourselves.  Our limitations – not always to be taken negatively.

In intervening in the monument, we change it by adding the tone and form of an ‘always present’ narrator.  The old voice is no longer so confident, and ideas may appear disturbed or strangely incoherent.  Other.

In delineating The Road to Żelazowa Wola in 1960, Krystian Burda sought to arrange abstract spatial forms along a distance of ten kilometers.  As seen from a travelling car, these were to play with rhythm, alter perspectives.  Embedded in the landscape, they would impose their alien form.  Alien, yet having at the level of abstract rhythm a common denominator with nature and the countryside – nature as seen by the composing eye of culture.

In overwriting and inscribing the park with interventions, the young artists delineate their own route to Żelazowa Wola, sometimes arriving at nature and architecture, sometimes at Chopin, or rhythm in music, in art.  Determining their own place in and in relation to Żelazowa Wola.  Introducing their own cultural rhythm, or going against the natural processes which in the park are subjected to the discipline of revitalization which sometimes approaches the ‘sterility’ of modern cities.


II. Stepping in [Interpolating]/Transition

In stepping in, we make remarks in a text which, at least from a conservator’s assumptions, is closed.  Comments in the margins, but also between the lines/planes.  We don’t just want to read between the lines, but to write between them.

As every interpretation does, even of a canonical text.  We write our interpretation by means of our  individual, but often generational and environmental world view.

In stepping in, we collide with our own opinion, heard in an unfamiliar context.  In stepping in, we step out of the safety of certainty.

In putting what is foreign into what is recognizable, we test the feeling of rejection, of something untamed.  This non-integrity of things may make us aware of what is hidden within ourselves.  Things we don’t want to remember/see/hear, or with which we do not identify.  In putting what is known into what is recognizable, we test the degrees and limits of changes of accent.  The integrity of things may make us aware of what we know about ourselves.  Things we want to affirm, or to identify with.

In stepping in, we disrupt the rhythm of the main text.  Often, this is not mere syncopation, but another rhythmic order.  In stepping in, we can pull out a hidden or unnoticed rhythm of phenomena.  The music of Chopin is one layer of the soundscape of the park, a counterpoint to it, but at  the same time it is alien to the natural rhythm/rhythms of nature.  The latter, unpredictable for being organic, enter into a dialogue with the former, which itself is organically related to the composer’s life, the pianist’s hands, the way his body felt sound.

In passing through, we carry what we have seen in our memory, and superimpose this on the future.  This alters how we see.

In passing through, without preconceptions we may overlook things, but without preconceptions we may also perceive the invisible.  From the sacrum of the place we may extract the false note of a high register, or a fresh sublimity.

In passing through, we may extricate ourselves from worn-out habits.  Provided that, in stepping in, we overtake ourselves.

In passing through the park, we ourselves step in.

[Maciej Janicki]


In his 1960 diploma piece, the film The Road to Żelazowa Wola, the young Krystian Burda looked at the monument to the creativity of Chopin in a way which was unusual at that time.  For students of the University of Arts in Poznan, that depiction provided a starting point for deepening their contemplation of this exceptional place in terms of both its history and its landscape architecture.  The result is art objects, sculptures and installations which are site-specific (that is, which refer directly to the environment in which they are situated).

In the film, the question of rhythm dominates:  the rhythms of steps, of trees observed from a passing car, of a piano keyboard.  Semantically, rhythm is primarily related to two fields – biology and music – and in the Chopin park, those two meanings combine in a specific way.  The careful composition of greenery and pathways.  Organised nature.  Tranquility which allows one to rest, to ponder, to hear more.  Chopin’s birthplace, moreover, contains a collection of his notes, musical notation and instruments  – objects which stand in for or hold a promise of music.

In this long-standing arrangement, the students are discreetly introducing new elements.  These refer to the formation of space and to the specifics of the park, connected as it is with one of Poland’s most important composers.  A fountain metronome, a footbridge piano, an audio carousel (in the form of an enormous music-box playing an unpredictable melody), a tree-mounted gutter from which pours forth a curious rainy song.  Various sounds build up in layers, combining in rhythm; the installations take on mutual relations.  A woodpecker knocking in the bark of a tree, contemplative works of electronic music, each dedicated to a different phase of the moon – cycles, loops, audio waves.

All the sounds free associations in the mind. Lack of knowledge provides an even wider field for the imagination to roam.  In a little wooden hut which keeps what is inside closely hidden, the contents suggest sounds emitted from a speaker, a passing fancy, an accidental ‘listener’; there are more pictures:  small girls singing, the hum of bees, a train on the move…

As well as the musical interventions, there are subtle ‘visual intrigues’.  A cluster of unnaturally large ‘drops’ frozen solid.  Warped mirrors mounted in opposing planes beneath a bridge which obstinately expand the manicured space of the park.  Anchored to the bottom of a pond, drifting like a buoy, a huge disco ball plays with the sun’s reflections.  A multi-faceted screen for the sun gives rise to optical illusions, its undulating structure suggesting the concept of biological rhythm.

At last, one is allowed to step off the official path through the park – onto a spiral trail to nowhere inspired by the mathematical model known as the Fibonacci curve, which is manifest in the way leaves are distributed on plant stems, as well as in melodic lines.

Nature inspires in ever different ways.  Under the same heaven – how things are perceived changes.  Someone’s house becomes a museum.

Visiting the park for the first time during the outdoor session of the Audio Sphere Studio, students of the University of Arts in Poznan confronted their personal feelings and reflections on the film The Road to Żelazowa Wola with the modern vision of a cultural institution. The works they created, therefore, draw on the historical past, current appearance, the function of the Museum and park, and the vision for its development.

Rhythm remained the key concept.

To feel it, it’s enough to take in the arrangement of the pathways in the park.  The cycle of the moon.  To detect certain regularities in the world around us.

[Dominika Miakisz]