Thursday, 18 October 2012

Not beyond repair

A thank-you to Kolin for the tip-off on this story - the attempted destruction by a drunken vandal of the floral rainbow that has stood on Pl. Zbawiciela since before the Euro 2012 football championships.

The 29 year-old opponent of peace, love and understanding was caught red-handed by the police, and was found to be seven times over the drink-drive limit. He set fire to one end of the rainbow, and was apprehended while trying to do likewise to the other side. What his motivation was may become clear during his court appearance. (Drunken prank? Dare? Performance art? Political statement? We'll see.)

Four days after the incident, I popped by to see it for myself. Above: the southern end of the rainbow was seriously damaged. Still, the exposed steel lattice-work structure looks starkly impressive against the background of the church of the Holiest Redeemer.

About half of the 16,000 artificial flowers have burnt away. The artist, Julita Wójcik, has pledged that the rainbow will be rebuilt. Below: the southern end was not so badly affected. Still, I guess that when it comes to replacing the flowers, the existing ones will go, as their colour will not match new ones on account of fading in the sunlight.

It's worth recalling that when I polled readers as to whether the the rainbow should stay as a permanent feature of the Warsaw cityscape, only one-third voted yes. That was back in late June, just three weeks after its unveiling. Time makes us more accepting of the ways things are. Joanna Rajkowska's artificial palm tree on Rondo De Gaulle'a (below) has been there for ten years, and I think Warsaw has taken it to heart.

Big public art has a place in any city. It civilises, it enhances citizens' sense of pride in their home town. It is a sign of a city's imagination and innovative thought.

This time last year:
Why no one is Occupying Warsaw

This two years ago:
Of sausages and drains

This time three years ago:
In search of the Sublime Aesthetic at 36,000 ft

This time five years ago:
London from the air

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