The Oxygenerator - Joanna Rajkowska
The Oxygenerator was a temporary installation in the public space of Grzybowski Square in Warsaw. In 2007, it won a poll for the Event of the Year.
The main feature of the site-specific work was a metre-deep artificial pond with an area of 140m2 integrated into the space of an urban lawn. Rajkowska’s project was preceded by archaeological excavation of the site. The pond was surrounded by greenery and a set of coloured, streamlined laminated seats, designed especially for this project by Michał Kwasieborski. The surface of the water was covered with water lilies, and the edges of the Oxygenerator were equipped with ozonizing and fog–creating apparatus that, despite the artificial mist covering the pond, made gas bubbles appear on its surface.
Rajkowska deliberately chose to place the installation at Grzybowski Square as it is situated on the site of the former ghetto – one of the main destinations on the route taken by Jews visiting Warsaw’s historic memorial sites. Near the square stands a synagogue, a church of All Saints, apartment blocks dating back to the communist period, and modern corporate skyscrapers separated by small private hardware stores that look like relics of the nineteenth century.
According to Rajkowska, public space is often an area of conflict that is not fully disclosed, but one can sense its existence. However, the artist’s intention was not to make the Oxygenator reveal the various parties to the conflict that would lead to a confrontation, just the opposite: the picturesque pond was to enable one to spend an enjoyable time in this particular space.
Project's curator: Kaja Pawełek; produced by The Centre for Contemorary Art Ujazdowski Palce in Warsaw
Author: Ewa Gorządek, January 2015, transl. GSCulture.pl