object / 2017
gazebo in Brzeźno’s Haffner Park
When Anna Czaban invited me to participate in this year’s edition of NARRACJE Festival, she immediately pointed my attention to a specific counterpoint of Brzeźno’s panorama, which has been gone for over half a century: the Monument to the 17th Heavy Artillery Regiment erected in 1928 and destroyed at the turn of the 1960s. I found myself in an atypical situation: instead of exploring the district and roaming around Brzeźno’s streets, nooks and crannies in search of inspiration, I instantly focused my attention on a very specific phenomenon, or rather a phantom thereof.
We hit the bull’s-eye. The curator, with whom I have already worked in a series of projects (such as the Pink Obelisk or Diamond), is perfectly familiar with my passion for enormous trinkets and idealised forms. The monument to the fallen Prussian artillerymen was a tall column topped with a golden sphere. One could hardly imagine a more phallic geometry, and I find this rudimentary aspect of sculpture particularly appealing. In this case, though, what fascinated me even more than the monumental erection was the absurd story associated with the statue: the Munchausen-like flight of the golden sphere. I do not know what military engineers oversaw the ‘dismantling’ of the statue, suffice it to say that the explosive charge planted by sappers was so powerful that “as a result of the detonation, the golden sphere flew over the whole park and landed in front of one of the houses on Krasickiego Street, while debris from the statue even reached Walki Młodych Street in the fishing part of Brzeźno.” A rather terrifying vision, yet tremendously appealing at the same time, with its fable-like, attractive symbolism.
Since the original golden sphere was 130 cm in diameter – the exact size of the rescaled Pearl I once prepared for an exhibition on Rococo held at the Królikarnia Museum in Warsaw – the easiest solution would be to transfer the existing object to the park as a peculiar, softened after-image of its predecessor. Seen as a ‘gift of the waters,’ it could be a good match for the seaside context. Still, I felt sorry about giving up gold and all its inherent connotations: from glory to glitter.
The surroundings are romantic and interestingly polarised. The gloomy, fascinating bunkers forming part of the coastal fortifications defending the Bay of Gdańsk are in stark contrast to the park promenade and its sentimental aura. Here we find benches as if created specially for lovebirds and a gazebo inviting us to dance, where one could easily imagine an orchestra – in a nutshell, a perfectly ‘romance’ scenery, at the same time adequately polluted with a melancholy that inevitably accompanies any northern sea.
As a result, I decided to prepare an object that, albeit slightly smaller, directly refers to the history of Brzeźno’s sculpture. I chose the gazebo as my location: the golden sphere, suspended, like a bead, on a steel rope in the centre, seems to levitate like a mirror disco ball. Covered with golden chrome, it turns into a perfectly spherical looking glass, a trap for passers-by, reflecting and repossessing the surrounding world.
I hope that for some viewers it will also serve as an opportunity to recall Roadside Picnic by the Strugatsky brothers, one of the most important books I read in my youth. The wish-granting golden sphere was the most coveted, inaccessible artefact, the legend of the zone. What could one wish for, if one could ask for anything, yet only the deepest desires could be fulfilled? Like Red Shoehart, I can only reiterate the final words of Arthur Barbridge: “HAPPINESS, FREE, FOR EVERYONE, AND LET NO ONE BE FORGOTTEN!”
Maurycy Gomulicki, Warsaw, October 2017
Maurycy Gomulicki (b. 1969)
is an artist, photographer, author of objects and installations, collector and anthropologist of popular culture, hedonist and inveterate preacher of the Culture of Delight. He graduated from the Faculty of Graphic Arts of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (specialising in printmaking with a minor in painting). He went on to study at universities in Spain and Mexico. Many of his projects strike a dialogue with eroticism and pornography. An important element of Gomulicki’s works in intense colour, explored both in terms of its vital potential as well as its social and cultural dimension. The artist lives and works in Poland and Mexico.