“John the Baptist’s Head” a sculpture by Szymon Ryczek in Lodz, Poland
A fifth artistic realisation as part of UNIQA Art Łódź project, organised by Łódź Events Centre, has been produced in Park Staromiejski (Old Town Park). This time it’s a scultpure showing John the Baptist’s cut-off head. The sculpture has been created by Szymon Ryczek – a graduate of the Faculty of Graphic Art and Painting, Strzemiński Academy of Art in Łódź.
‘Szymon Ryczek’s sculpture is an excellent example of a site specific realisation, where an art object is closely linked to the location where it is made. In this case, both the form and content of the sculpture perfectly match the history and identity of the Old Town Park’, says Michał Bieżyński, of Łódź Events Centre, the artistic director of UNIQA Art Łódź project.
Szymon Ryczek, author of the sculpture: “The place of installation as well as its title reveal two contexts, equally essential and connecting with each other. The first one is the social context of the 21st century history. The area of today’s park was then flooded. At the turn of the century the lands were properly drained and transformed into streets and houses inhabited mainly by destitute Jewish families. The second world war brought an end to the blossoming life and trade, buildings were demolished while their inhabitants were sent to ghettos. The second context, the paschal one, is observed here. Deaths of inhabitants of Lodz as well as the death of John the Baptist were not vain. John the Baptist proclaimed the meaning of a sacrifice which leads to the new life. His activity led him to the martyrdom read as a symbol of spiritual opposition to King Herod. In this meaning the inhabitants of Lodz murdered by Germans shared John the Baptist’s fate. Placing the sculpture near water is optically significant. The pond thus becomes a symbolic medium linked to water of life baptised by John. The sculpture is to commemorate victims in the ghetto and the city of Łódź occupied by the German Reich”.