Joanna Rajkowska covered the walls of buildings in one of Łódź's courtyards with small pieces of mirrors. The project was realized as part of the 2014 Dialogue of Four Cultures Festival.
This installation by Joanna Rajkowska, the creator of the famed palm tree in Warsaw’s city centre, is one of the most spectacular public art projects in Łódź – involved in its production were the city’s inhabitants and students of the local Academy of Fine Arts. The mirror mosaic covering the buildings’ walls generates an impressive visual effect that transforms its surrounding.
The reflected fragments of the surrounding and of the sky, and the abundance of light that will appear in this rather dark courtyard, are intended to turn it into something very light, flickering, and surreal.
– Rajkowska says.
She decided to realize her project in a narrow court at 3 Piotrkowska Street, the location of the oldest (but no longer open) hotel in Łódź – the Polski Hotel, built in the mid-19th century. Having been abandoned at the beginning of the 20th century, it was turned into a council estate after World War Two. Forgotten and untouched for years, it was eventually added to the project Mia100 kamienic (The City of Tenements), which aims to revive the treasures of Łódź’s architecture.
The new ornament, designed by Joanna Rajkowska is based on irregular pieces of cut up mirrors. The assumption is to bring out all of the architectural details – splays, door frames, cornices, and all other irregularities on the elevation.
Rosa’s Passage bears double meaning for me. On one hand, it’s making a direct reference to the location […] the courtyard is supposed to become a passage, a gateway to Zachodnia Street, where the Manufaktura shopping and cultural complex is, and to which the social centre is shifting from Piotrkowska Street. The idea behind it is to built a special place – a trail, and at the same time, to manipulate people’s attention and their physical presence. On the other hand, Rosa’s Passage illustrates the path that my daughter Rosa went through – from not seeing to seeing – the project’s author says.
In 2012, the artist posted on Facebook about her daughter being diagnosed with retinoblastoma – a type of eye cancer.
For now, we believe that, following six cycles of chemotherapy, Rosa will undergo a laser operation or radiotherapy in London, where this kind of treatment is best done at private clinics. It will cost around 20 thousand pounds.
The art environment, and not only, reacted instantly. Two fundraising campaigns were organized, to cover the cost of consultations, tests, and the girl’s operation. Rosa made it.
This year’s edition of the festival revolved around the subject of equal rights of those who are commonly described as disabled. It was that disability is a meaningless notion, just like ability.
– Zbigniew Brzoza, the director of the Dialogue of Four Cultures Festival, said.
The artist’s intention was to leave the viewer amazed at the mere possibility of sight. The architectural skin that has grown on the Polski Hotel’s annexes is nothing else than a retina, the eyes’ light-sensitive instrument. So, the viewer’s eyes in actuality look at themselves. The sole fact that moving by one millimeter results in a completely different view of the mosaic’s reflection, proves an image relative and dependant on the eye’s capabilities, point of reference, and the possible perspective .
– the press materials explained.
During the opening of Joanna Rajkowska’s installation (October 18, 2014) a photo competition open to all visitors took place. The best photograph of Rosa’s Passage was to be printed in a form of a postcard.
Sources: organizer’s materials, ed. Agnieszka Sural, 17.10.2014, transl. AM, January 2015Agnieszka Sural