Zakota was afraid of the statue, which looked like a plane wreck. “The Journey” of Roman Stackzak – Culture

What does the wreck in Zachita symbolize?

Sculpture of Roman Stachak looks like a wreck. Cables are tangled around a stripped hull, metal droops low, and folded wings hide in the cockpit. The association with the most famous air tragedy in Poland could not be stopped, although the artist wanted to tell us a different story by plane. In fact, it’s a modern jet, bought by an artist, then opened up, smashed like a huge steel fish, and reassembled to replace the hull’s interior with the outer casing. – Inversion – the artist himself calls this practice.

Behind the work there is an extraordinary story of Stackzak himself, who in the nineties was one of the most interesting artists, the voice of the younger generation, relentlessly confronting the problems of society. While working with Katarzyna Kozyra, Artur Żmijewski and Pawe Althamer, he created a site for contemporary art in Poland. However, a personal problem stood in the way of Stańczak.

Because of alcoholism, the artist disappeared from the art world for many years. The document “Lot” by Łukasz Ronduda, who was previously awarded the Golden Lion for Anna Zakrzewska’s “All Our Fears”, tells it.


“Lot” tells the story of Stańczak’s slow return to art. About how he came back to life after 15 years of the alcoholic abyss, and the symbol of this return was the plane prepared for the Venice Biennale – the most important event in the art world. In the film, the artist, like a rock star in a suit, holds a grinder in his hands, which is broken off by a plane. The huge instrument slowly opens like the belly of a whale, inside which is the biblical Jonasz and the artist – Roman Stackzak. This is how we understand the giant plane that Stachuck crossed.

But in Polish art, the plane clearly has more meanings. In 2009, Pawe Althamer painted a gorgeous Boeing gold, and then invited dozens of Warsaw residents in gold costumes to board the plane. The plane arrived in Brussels. Two years later, the conservative artist, Jacek Adamas, created the work “Artforum”, indicating the title of the most famous art magazine in the world. Its cover has a gold Althamera plane, and the back cover is a photo of the wreckage of the Tupolev taken on April 10, 2011.

A symbol of the new government?

Critics who reviewed the Venice Biennale noted that the Stackzak plane is an icon. It’s like reversing modernization, the systematic changes that took place in Poland, made it possible for one to buy planes, and others to fade outside the boundaries of society. Some critics drew attention to the context of the Smolensk disaster. Ultimately, it became a large and important component of political change in Poland, as populist politicians exploited the part of society affected by the transformation. And “Flight” suggests a different meaning of the plane, which is to become a self-portrait of the artist, saying, “Sometimes I have to make a disaster and then fix it.”

In Zachęta, the plane acquired another meaning, it became a symbol of new powers. Fearing that someone in law and justice will find out, and even worse – they will think that it is a mockery of the Smolensk disaster.

It was said behind the scenes that director Janusz Janowski did not want to show “Lot” in Zachita. Meanwhile, the film about the artist won one of the awards at the Millennium Docs Against Gravity Festival, and the work gained publicity. If Zachita did not organize a discussion on the meanings of the “flight” of Roman Stackzak, then it may turn out that, in the name of fear of the reaction of the Ministry, this will lead to the fact that the Stachak plane will be discussed only in the context of the Smolensk disaster.

Read also: Professor Maria Poprzica talks about the new authorities in Zachita

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