Magdalena Abakanowicz, „Agora”

Grant Park, Chicago

The agora served as the centre of life for the people of ancient Greece. This was where social, economic and political life was bustling. Traditionally, it was also a place dedicated to the gods.
The agora also appeared in the heart of present-day Chicago. An open-air exhibition by Magdalena Abakanowicz was developed on a 3-acre site. The installation consists of 106 cast-iron figures, each of them 3 m tall and weighing 600 kg, frozen in motion. They are arranged in such a way that the observer can move freely between them and directly experience the force that the crowd exerts on the individual. Each sculpture is unique – just as no two people are the same in nature. This is the artist’s largest permanent installation.
The author personally supervised the installation of the figures to reflect her artistic vision. She compares the crowd to a headless organism and, according to her, it is not a decoration but an expression of our nature and consciousness.
Agora was funded by the Polish Ministry of Culture and Arts, the mayor of Chicago, the Polish American community, companies and private donors, including, among others, the artist’s friend, actor Robin Williams. Poland covered the cost of the casting, while the Chicago authorities covered the cost of transport and installation. The total cost of the project was estimated at USD 3.5 million. The installation links economic and cultural exchange between the sister cities of Chicago and Warsaw (collaborating since 1960).

Joanna Rajkowska, „SORRY”

Art Haven, ul. Roosevelta 22

Joanna Rajkowska’s SORRY is a sculpture – a concrete wall covered with glass shards on top, similar to structures known from borders or well-guarded areas. At first glance, the wall has the strange form of a labyrinth, which is unreadable at human eye level, constituting an insurmountable physical barrier. Only from a bird’s-eye perspective (e.g. from a drone), or from the windows of the surrounding buildings, it becomes apparent that the wall is arranged in the letters of the English word – ‘SORRY’.
Like most of Rajkowska’s works, also SORRY stems from an experience of the body: a sense of inaccessibility, exclusion and helplessness. On the one hand, it was inspired by so-called ‘hostile architecture’ and the exclusion of homeless people, which the artist observed while living in London. On the other hand, a direct impulse came from the refugee crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border.

Alicja Biała, “Totems

Art Haven, ul. Roosevelta 22

Originally, totems symbolised people’s relationship with mythical ancestors and nature. The ones created by Alicja Biała and Iwo Borkowicz are their opposite. They illustrate the destructive impact of people on nature.
From 16 May 2019, you can admire the unusual installation at Poznań’s Art Haven, near the Sheraton Poznań Hotel. The six hand-painted sculptures represent six crimes against Mother Earth – deforestation, water-wasting food production, plastic, smog, overexploitation of fisheries, and the extinction of wildlife populations. The exhibition is a three-dimensional painting totalling nearly 400 square metres.
The patterns and colours, characteristic of Alicja Biała’s work, illustrate the results of research into the condition of the natural environment. Each totem features a QR code directing to the data sources on the basis of which the artists created these monumental symbols of human activity.

David Černý, “Golem”

Marcinkowskiego Avenue, Poznań

Two and a half metres of steel is usually associated with weight, strength and constancy. However, the Golem sculpture by the Czech artist David Černý not only appears lightweight, ephemeral and openwork, but is also dynamic. It appears to be walking proudly along Marcinkowskiego Avenue.
The Golem is a legendary figure – an anthropomorphic being created out of clay. He is associated with the historical figure of Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the rabbi active in Poznań and Prague. He was said to have created an obedient Golem to protect the Jewish population of Prague from pogroms.
In its form, the sculpture refers to the Italian Futurists. The artist himself is famous for his widely discussed installations, including the Entropa exhibition. At the request of city officials, the Poznań sculpture was intended to be less controversial. Despite this, the monument was damaged several times by vandals.

Heinz Mack, Stela 2006,

Al. Marcinkowskiego

Heinz Mack’s open-air installation is located on Marcinkowskiego Avenue, between Wolności Square and the National Museum. It is a sculpture in the form of an eighteen-metre steel pole with a motor-driven head rotating three/four times per minute. The top of the installation is formed by triangular forms made of steel sheeting. Thanks to the polished metal material used, the stele is a kind of light generator reflecting rays of sun during the day. This leads to a visual transformation of the sculptural form.
Heinz Mack is the author of dozens of spatial forms in the form of stelae, in many cities, not only in Europe but also in the United States or Japan, which are related to his interest in light, movement and space.