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Joanna Rajkowska proposes "Chick" for Five Corners Square. Conservationist skeptical

01 of April '21

Artist Joanna Rajkowska has designed a huge egg for Warsaw's Five Corners Square. The installation "Chick. Mockingbird", two meters high, would stand on the square, which is being renovated. However, the conservation services are opposed to the artist's idea.

peculiarity of the place


Chick. Kos in London

Photo by Justyna Scheuring Courtesy of gallery l'étrangère, London

Joanna Rajkowska is the author of the palm tree from the de Gaulle traffic circle and the Dotleniacz from pl. Grzybowski - some of the most recognizable and successful artistic interventions in Warsaw's public space. Now, together with the architects responsible for the reconstruction of Five Corners Square - Michal Kempinski and the WXCA studio - she has proposed that the renovated square be enriched with a sculpture. A place for this type of object was, after all, provided in the draft development plan. Moreover, the artist's studio is located next door, so the work would also have a personal dimension. It was, incidentally, during the site visits conducted by architects in the course of designing the square that neighbors identified Joanna Rajkowska as the person who could be involved in transforming this space. Justification for the artist's work is also provided by the history of the place.

In the 18th century, hecas - bloody and cruel shows of animal fights, or animal hunts - were held there. Every place in the world has its palimpsest history, which is worth digging into. (...) the intersection of Chmielna, Bracka and Krucza Streets, in its current form, seems a relatively innocent center of consumption and entertainment. However, it is worth remembering that two centuries ago many beings were slaughtered there - for the pleasure of spectators.

Aleksandra Jach

interactive egg


Chick. Kos in London

Photo by Justyna Scheuring, Courtesy of gallery l'étrangère, London

"Chick" has already been presented to the public once. In 2019, Joanna Rajkowska took part in Frieze Sculpture in London. In consultation with architects and ZDM, the premiere of the object designed for Warsaw took place there. The difference was the species of bird chosen - in London it was a blackbird egg. A sound system was installed in the slaughterhouse, as well as an inductor that made the egg vibrate, emitting the sounds of the hatching bird.

conservationist rather against

Plac Pięciu Rogów

Five Corners Square

photo: Warsaw City Hall

However, conservation services may stand in the way of the sculpture's realization. Architects have been waiting since mid-2020 for an official response from the Provincial Conservator of Monuments. They only have a skeptical opinion from the advisory Council for Monument Protection. The specialists on it would have seen more literal references to its history. The preservation guidelines, however, did not include any indication of the egg.

Kacper Kępiński

The vote has already been cast