Piotr Skiba

I Grew Up Drinking This Water | bronze cast, 2018

Wrist cutting is one of the oldest practiced forms of suicide. Although Christianity explicitly condemns self-annihilation as a sin, human history knows many examples when taking one’s life meant acting for the higher good (for example for reasons of honour). In ancient Rome, suicide as a way of avoiding dishonourable death – for instance at the hands of praetorians – was regarded as an expression of strong will. In literature and pop culture, the motif of slitting one’s wrists often appears in the context of unhappy love.

Piotr Skiba’s installation does not focus on the rationale behind taking one’s life. Instead, it concentrates on suicide itself – a universal story rooted in the history of humankind – drawing our attention to this brutal, tragic, but also lofty act. In order to make the bronze cast, the artist used a matrix in the shape of his own forearm. However, the liquid trickling from it is not meant to imitate blood, which the artist chose to replace with water. Interestingly, blood has a double meaning in culture: locked within the body, it is endowed with the power of life, strength and sanctitude; as soon as it flows out of the body, it is associated with illness, impurity and death. Skiba transforms blood trickling from the forearm into water, a symbol of vitality, thereby bringing back blood’s life-giving force.

location: pavement, Cystersów 1


Piotr Skiba (b. 1980) is an author of films, objects and installations. He graduated from the Faculty of Painting and Sculpture of the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław. Since 2014, he has worked as a lecturer at the Faculty of Painting and New Media of the Szczecin Academy of the Arts. His works have been shown in museums, galleries and other cultural institutions in Poland, the US, Italy, Belgium and Germany, among others. Skiba lives and works in Wrocław and Szczecin.

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