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Brooklyn Street Art

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“The Head of John the Baptist” in a Water Fountain in Łódź, Poland

Posted on July 4, 2017

For a decade we’ve been saying that art in the streets of the modern city lies along a continuum between illegal, autonomous interventions and those that are officially sanctioned by institutions. In today’s posting from Łódź, Poland, we’re much nearer to the latter end of that continuum.

Szymon Ryczek for UNIQA Art Łódź project. Łódź, Poland. June 2017. (photo © Michał Bieżyński)

Part of UNIQA Art Łódź, a public art project that itself has metamorphosed from a multi-year mural program by (primarily) Street Artists on city walls to its current public sculpture program under the direction of Michał Bieżyński, here we have the head of John the Baptist.

Weighted with references to Biblical story of the martyr in spiritual opposition to King Herod and baptism by water, organizers also say that the sculpture commemorates the Jewish victims in Łódź ghettos during a time when their culture and lives were once blossoming, later destroyed by the Occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany. With the decapitated head as a symbol, one also may draw a connection with the highly staged videos circulated in recent years that purport to show hooded ISIS militants beheading people.

Szymon Ryczek for UNIQA Art Łódź project. Łódź, Poland. June 2017. (photo © Michał Bieżyński)

Sited on a pedestal in Old Town Park in its central pond, the location is in the part of the city where the Jewish community once settled, and the visual itself may be quite disturbing to viewers as it reflects a mirror image here until the end of the season. The artist Szymon Ryczek is a recent graduate of the Faculty of Graphic Art and Painting, Strzemiński Academy of Art in Łódź and the sculpture is made of epoxy resin dusted with carbon dust.

Previous artists in the sculpture program have included Lump, Etam and Robert Proch, Crystal Wagner, and Mona Tusz. The next project will be a large-scale sculpture by two Warsaw artists Tomasz Górnicki and Chazme at the end of July at the Łódź Fabryczna train station.

Szymon Ryczek for UNIQA Art Łódź project. Łódź, Poland. June 2017. (photo © Michał Bieżyński)

 

 

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