Facing the power of Cosmos, I feel like a child and with the eyes of a child, I look at the sky. The sense that we are only super small, entirely dependent elements in this unlimited Nature brings relief. Adopting this perspective places us, humans, exactly where we are. The awareness that only within our galaxy, where the solar system is located, there may be up to 400 billion planets, and in the so-called visible universe there are 350 billion large galaxies and 3.5 trillion dwarf galaxies – allows us to get an appropriate distance from our ego. We can weave ideas and hypotheses. We can enjoy our greatness packed with modern technologies and design. Perspective change exercises bring me to the Earth, allow me to enjoy the fact of being here and teach me to respect it. The same Earth – a planet in the Cosmos, a trace element of the Universe – the only one in the Solar System that gives the possibility of life to organisms – how diverse and rich in resources – is the most natural and the only human environment.
The installation was created for the exhibition “The Moon and Sobieski’s Shield. Old Heveliana and Contemporary Art ”.
The exhibition is the result of a creative exchange between employees of the museum, PAN’s Gdańsk Library, and artists from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw.
The exhibition lasts until August 15th.
Place of the exhibition: the palace, the historical park of the Wilanów residence, the Orangery.
When creating the site-specific installation in a space of the Wilanów Palace, it was important to me to fit in with the specificity and identity of the place. The cosmological theme is the key to understanding the structure of the palace. It finds its expression in the building’s architecture, spatial plan and decorations. On the facade of the palace, there are motifs related to the cosmic order. I wanted to enter into a kind of a dialogue with the history and tissue of this place – both with the symbolism and colours of the facade and the rich patterned geometry of the baroque gardens. At the same time, I wanted to achieve the effect of both lightness and dynamics of the installation – when suddenly set in motion by the wind, it begins to rotate. The colours refer to the colourful images created by Hevelius. Originally, in the 17th century, there were fountains on the terraces along the axis of the palace. As their appearance has not been established, only their outline is marked in the form of brick patterns on the floor. In the centre of the main circle, “Cosmos” is located.
A founder of the Wilanów residence – King Jan III Sobieski, was very involved both in observing heaven and supporting research on astrology. His close relationship, cooperation and patronage of the works of Johannes Hevelius contributed to the development of Polish science and art. The original works of this outstanding astronomer and artist, presented at the exhibition, entered into UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2021.
Main curator: prof. Dorota Folga Januszewska
Supporting curators: Aleksandra Głowacz, Marta Gołąbek
Exhibition design: dr hab. Barbara Kowalewska
Graphic design: prof. Lech Majewski
Organisers: Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów, Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw
Partners: Gdańsk Library of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Polish Astronomical Society
A compendium of information about the exhibition “The Moon and Sobieski’s Shield” and the events accompanying the exhibition:
Link to the exhibition at the Wilanów Palace