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Joanna Rajkowska's "SORRY" project goes to Frankfurt

Joanna Rajkowska's

The "SORRY" sculpture is a concrete wall covered with glass shards on top. It is high enough to be a physical barrier to a person standing in front of it, just like the walls erected in many countries on the borders, preventing migrants from entering a country. The walls of the sculpture form a maze, but when the installation is viewed from above, the shape spells out the word "SORRY". The sculpture was displayed at the Warsaw campus of SWPS University from September 2022 to June 2023, and now “SORRY” is making its way to Frankfurt (Oder), where it will be showcased on the local boulevards.

Joanna Rajkowska's anti-monument for the first time in Germany

The "SORRY" installation will be displayed in Germany for the very first time. Its presentation will begin with a symposium that will focus on several current issues, such as socially conscious art , a discussion about the war in Ukraine, and a meeting with the artist – Joanna Rejkowska.sculpture designer. Presenting "SORRY" in Germany was possible thanks to the collaboration with the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder) and the Ecumenical Europe-Centre Frankfurt (Oder).

In Poland, the anti-monument was presented for the first time in an urban space at Kaponiera Roundabout in Poznań. The project was commissioned by the Wielkopolska Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts and the Vox Artis Foundation. SWPS University was a partner of the exhibition, and as of mid-September 2022, the sculpture was displayed at its Warsaw campus. The unveiling of the “SORRY” monument at SWPS University and a meeting with its designer took place during last year’s Science Festival. Now it is time for the anti-monument to spread its message further. Besides Frankfurt, the installation will travel to Berlin, Wroclaw, and many more cities.

Review the program of the exhibition in Frankfurt

SORRY for the injustice

According to the artist, the "SORRY" installation aims to expose the conduct of rich western societies, which generate economic, climate and migration crises situations. Joanna Rajkowska emphasizes that it was intended as an artistic commentary on the treatment of migrants, in particular the recent erection of the wall on the Polish-Belarussian border, although it also touches on the problem of "hostile architecture" in general, and the deepening social inequalities worldwide.

“The "SORRY" project was born out of my intuition that since the Holocaust we, as a community, have not experienced a more difficult moment that would test our maturity, responsibility, and solidarity. Refugees have been categorized as “better” and “worse”, “worthy” and “unworthy” of compassion and help. Invariably, according to racist standards. (...) The karma of death, misery, and contempt for life is powerful and cannot be erased even by sincere and heartfelt actions of people who provided help to other refugees at the same time. Through "SORRY" I have managed to fulfill one of my dreams and create an anti-monument. I don’t know why we don’t erect anti-monuments to various dark moments in human history, collective mistakes, and shared stupidity. Embarrassment is a powerful force”.

Joanna Rajkowska
designer of the "SORRY" installation
Joanna Rajkowska's design viewed from above at Poznań's Caponier roundabout
The project was commissioned by the Wielkopolska Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts and the Vox Artis Foundation.
Joanna Rajkowska's project viewed from the side
"Is SORRY an apology? It depends on the point of view: incomprehensible to the ordinary passerby, the hidden meaning of the sculpture can only be read from the windows of tall buildings or from a drone, from a position of knowledge and power", says a press release of the project.

Find out more about the project

Creator of the "SORRY" project

Joanna Rajkowska
 
Joanna Rajkowska

A versatile artist, Rajkowska is best known for her work in public space, where she uses real-life situations, energies, organisms and materials to construct sites, installations and ephemeral actions. She utilizes elements as diverse as plants, buildings, found objects, water, smoke or sound. Most of her works happen, live and age in public space. The outcomes of her projects range from urban axes and architectural projects, through geological fantasies, excavation sites to underwater sculptures. She produces films, photographs and models. Convinced that we, as humans, have failed to produce a viable, sustainable culture, she often confronts historical and sociopolitical contexts with the lives of species other than human. Tinted with disappointment, her work visualizes and questions the notion of the nature-culture divide.

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