Portfolio: Christian Jankowski reinvigorates interest in Poland's monuments with the help of champion weightlifters
Sunday 26 January 2014
Destroyed by the Second World War, and still raw from both Nazi occupation and its subsequent 45 years of Soviet rule, Warsaw is a city whose history is writ large upon its public spaces.
Yet, from the Ghetto Heroes Monument, before which the German Chancellor Willy Brandt famously kneeled in 1970, to Communist-era memorials such as the statue of Ludwik Warynski, the 19th-century activist who pioneered the country's socialist movement, the Polish capital is home to myriad monuments that, through time, have started to mean less to its people. The statue of Warynski, for instance, is currently being renovated out of the city, and a new site for it is being sought – though not everyone wants it back.
Which got Christian Jankowski to thinking. "There is something about Poland's dark history and its mistrust of power structures that is everywhere in its contemporary art," says the German photographer. "But you have to revitalise that history for people to re-engage with it."
Employing the services of the country's champion weightlifters, he aimed to reinvigorate locals' interest in their history by framing it in a new way, with the lifters literally placing the burden of Warsaw's past on their shoulders.
Their efforts startled a few onlookers – but none so much as the guards outside the American Embassy when they turned up to lift the statue of Ronald Reagan. "I have to admit that we didn't get permission for that; it did make me slightly nervous."
Heavy Weight History is at Lisson Gallery, London NW1, from Friday to 8 March
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 10 ways we damage our teeth – without realising
- 2 There is something wrong but very right about this Bible illustration
- 3 iPhone 'effective power' text: how to be safe from iOS bug that lets people crash your phone
- 4 Photo of wedding guest proposing to girlfriend in front of bride and groom goes viral
- 5 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: it's just gravity — not a Mexican demon being summoned
Royal Academy of Arts' Tim Marlow: Bronze statue of lovers embracing at St Pancras station is a lesson in 'how not to do' public art
Britain's Hardest Grafter: Petition set up as Twitter reacts to BBC 'poverty porn' series pitting low-paid workers against each other
Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
Big Brother contestant Aaron Frew removed from house for 'inappropriate behaviour' after flashing fellow contestants
ASAP Rocky gives nauseating response to explicit Rita Ora rap: 'I'm not saying she's a terrible person'
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'