Friday, 31 October 2014
Wrocław: The Wrong Way to Cross a Road
The pedestrian underpass at the intersection of streets Pilsudskiego and Swidnicka in Wroclaw seems to have a fatal flaw: they forgot to build an entrance!
This arresting piece of street art shows life-size figures of people descending into the pavement on one side of the road, and emerging out of the pavement on the other side. What's that all about then?
The collection of sculptures is called Przejscie, which translates variously as 'transition', 'passageway', 'crossing', 'ordeal' and 'experience'. It was created by Polish artist Jerzy Kalina and was installed on the 24th anniversary of the introduction of martial law in Poland on 13th December 1981.
The descending figures represent 'The Dissapeared'; the ordinary citizens who went missing at the time as if they were swallowed up by the Earth. The figures on the other side of the road represent the return and rise of the ordinary citizen when martial law was relinquished in 1983. The sculptures are also supposed to represent the anonymity of the ordinary people you pass in the street un-noticed, who might be dissidents risking their life and health for the good of the country, disappearing into the underground.
Previously, in 1977, the installation was at the intersection of Swietokrzyskiej and Mazowieckiej in Warsaw.
Whatever you think of its meaning, this piece of art is quite extraordinary, and seems to fit in perfectly with the streets of Wroclaw.