“Monument of Smile”

235.Lwów 4-9.07.2003Made by: Oleg Diergaczow, cafe”Dzyga” in Lviv, The Ukraine (Photo: Gosia Głowacka, July 2003)

The Monument of Smile is located in Lviv in front of the cafe “Dzyga” in the Armenian Street. It is a very unique monument in the world. Although you can also find a monument to smile in Libiąż near Chrzanów, similar to this in Lviv is only one in the world. The author of this sculpture is well known cartoonist Oleg Diergaczow.

The sculpture shows the smiling fish, which lies on a concrete pedestal. Instead of fin, this fish has been equipped with human hands. This monument is one of the smallest in Lviv. Its height with the pedestal reaches somewhere around one meter. Every seven years, the monument is replaced by a new one and each of them smiles on its own specific way.

However, the most pleasant is that all the people who see this sculpture for the first time, mandatory are smiling 🙂 :).



“Opera on demand”

MysterySinger1Performance Artist: Anna Samborska (artistic nickname: Bernal Opera), Hunters Point, San Francisco, USA (Photo: Charles Leonard, 18.10. 2015)

The happening “Opera on Demand” was performed by Anna Samborska, surrounded by a mysterious aura, since she was not well known at the time of the performance, which lasted 7 hours. During this time 21 arias including Tosca, Carmen, Queen of the Night, Brunhilda (Wagner), Lucia di Lammermoor and Pat Nixon’s aria from the opera Nixon in China (John Adams) were sung on the request of the audience. The location was the shipyard buildung on the naval base Hunters Point during the Open Days (Open Studios). The place turned out to be perfect because of the acoustics, informal atmosphere, quiet flow of visitors, the possibility of direct interaction and lack of pressure to sell anything. Most people treated the figure in red as an installation, but many asked for their favorite arias or wanted the artist to choose something for them. It was given the impression that for many it was a unique experience.

The figure in red is the symbol of art which thrives in Hunters Point – the largest artist community in the world. It has over 200 art studios of both professional and amateur artists of various fields. The artist has been there since 2002.

_____________________________________________________________________   Anna Samborska explores many creative fields: visual arts, installation and photography.  As the founder of Bernal Opera she performs in house concerts, street concerts and also leads vocal workshops.  She lives in Bernal Heights, a neighborhood in San Francisco. She is also an author, writer and translator..

Bernal Opera blog: www.bernalopera.wordpress.com www.annasamborska.com.


“The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe”

holocaust denkmal2holocaust demkmal1Project: Peter Eisenman, Berlin, Germany (Photo: Gosia Głowacka and René Sachse, 12.03.2016)

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (German: Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas), also known as the Holocaust Memorial (German: Holocaust-Mahnmal), is a memorial in Berlin to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold. It consists of a 19,000 m2 (4.7-acre) site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or “stelae”, arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. The stelae are 2.38 m (7 ft 10 in) long, 0.95 m (3 ft 1 in) wide and vary in height from 0.2 to 4.7 m (7.9 in to 15 ft 5.0 in).[2] They are organized in rows, 54 of them going north–south, and 87 heading east–west at right angles but set slightly askew. An attached underground “Place of Information” (German: Ort der Information) holds the names of approximately 3 million Jewish Holocaust victims, obtained from the Israeli museum Yad Vashem.

Building began on April 1, 2003, and was finished on December 15, 2004. It was inaugurated on May 10, 2005, sixty years after the end of World War II, and opened to the public two days later. It is located one block south of the Brandenburg Gate, in the Friedrichstadt neighborhood. The cost of construction was approximately €25 million.

According to Eisenman’s project text, the stelae are designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere, and the whole sculpture aims to represent a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason. The Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe official English website, states that the design represents a radical approach to the traditional concept of a memorial, partly because Eisenman said the number and design of the monument had no symbolic significance.However, observers have noted the memorial’s resemblance to a cementery.

On January 27, 2000 a celebration was held marking the symbolic beginning of construction on the memorial site. The first provisional stelae were erected in May 2001. An international symposium on the Memorial and the Information Centre together with historians, museum experts, art historians and experts on architectural theory was held by the Foundation in November 2001. In the spring of 2003, work began on the construction of the Memorial. At the same time, an information point was erected at the fence surrounding the construction site. On December 15, 2004 there was a public ceremony to put the last of the 2,711 stelae in place. The official ceremony opening of the memorial was on May 10, and the Memorial and the Information Centre was opened to the public on May 12, 2005. By the end of 2005 around 350,000 people had visited the Information Centre.

In the first year after it opened in May 2005, the monument attracted over 3.5 million visitors. It is estimated that some 5 million visitors have visited the Information Centre between its opening in May 2005 and December 2015. Over the past 10 years (2006 – 2015), an average of 460,000 people have visited, or over 10,000 per day. The foundation operating the memorial considered this a success; its head, Uwe Neumärker, called the memorial a “tourist magnet”.

The monument has been criticized for only commemorating the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, however, other memorials have subsequently opened which commemorate other identifiable groups that were also victims of the Nazis, for example, the Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism (in 2008) and the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Victims of National Socialism (in 2012). Many critics argued that the design should include names of victims, as well as the numbers of people killed and the places where the killings occurred. Meanwhile, architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff claimed the memorial “is able to convey the scope of the Holocaust’s horrors without stooping to sentimentality – showing how abstraction can be the most powerful tool for conveying the complexities of human emotion.”

(source: Wikipedia)

“The Kelpies”

Sculptor: Andy Scott, on the Forth and Clyde Canal, Falkirk, Scotland, United Kingdom (Photo: Rafal Grzymala, March/April 2016)

The Kelpies are 30-metre high horse-head sculptures, standing next to a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal, and near River Carron, in The Helix, a new parkland project built to connect 16 communities in the Falkirk Council Area, Scotland. The sculptures were designed by sculptor Andy Scott and were completed in October 2013.The sculptures form a gateway at the eastern entrance to the Forth and Clyde canal, and the new canal extension built as part of The Helix land transformation project. The Kelpies are a monument to horse powered heritage across Scotland.

The sculptures opened to the public in April 2014. As part of the project, they will have their own visitor centre, and sit beside a newly developed canal turning pool and extension. This canal extension reconnects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the River Forth, and improves navigation between the East and West of Scotland.

The name was chosen by Scottish Canals at the inception of The Helix project, in 2005. The Kelpies name reflected the mythological transforming beasts possessing the strength and endurance of 10 horses; a quality that is analogous with the transformational change and endurance of Scotland’s inland waterways. The Kelpies represent the lineage of the heavy horse of Scottish industry and economy, pulling the wagons, ploughs, barges and coalships that shaped the geographical layout of the Falkirk area.

According to sculptor Andy Scott, “The original concept of mythical water horses was a valid starting point for the artistic development of the structures.” He also said that he “took that concept and moved with it towards a more equine and contemporary response, shifting from any mythological references towards a socio-historical monument intended to celebrate the horse’s role in industry and agriculture as well as the obvious association with the canals as tow horses”. In 2008 Scott created three-metre-high miniature versions in his Glasgow studio. These were then scanned by lasers to help the steel fabricators create accurate full-scale components.

According to Scott the end result would be “Water-borne, towering gateways into The Helix, the Forth and Clyde Canal and Scotland, translating the legacy of the area into proud equine guardians”.

During the first year following the opening, nearly 1 million Built of structural steel with a stainless steel cladding, The Kelpies are 30 metres high and weigh 300 tonnes each. Each Kelpie has 464 individual steel sheets on the exterior, of which only 2 required adjustment on site. Construction began in June 2013, and was complete by October 2013. However the process of fabricating the steel was several years in the making. SH Structures, of Yorkshire, carried out this fabrication and also managed the erection of the sculptures on site. The Kelpies are positioned either side of a specially constructed lock and basin, part of the redeveloped Kelpies Hub.people visited the sculptures.

(source: Wikipedia)

German Historical Museum

historisches museum1Designer: Ieoh Ming Pei, Berlin, Germany (Photo: René Sachse, 12.03.2016)

The German Historical Museum (Deutsches Historisches Museum), DHM for short, is a museum in Berlin devoted to German history and defines itself as a place of enlightenment and understanding of the shared history of Germans and Europeans. It is often viewed as one of the most important museums in Berlin and is one of the most frequented.

The museum is located in the Zeughaus (armoury) on the avenue Unter den Linden as well as in the adjacent Exhibition Hall designed by I. M. Pei.

The German Historical Museum is under the legal form of a foundation registered by the Federal Republic of Germany. Its highest-ranking body is the Board of Trustees (Kuratorium) with representatives of the Federal Government, the German Bundestag (Parliament) and the governments of the German Länder, or states.

The museum was founded on 28 October 1987 on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of the founding of Berlin; it was inaugurated in the Reichstag Building in former West Berlin. After the success of an exhibition on Prussia, which was shown in the Martin-Gropius-Bau in 1981, the then Governing Mayor of (West) Berlin, Richard von Weizäcker, commissioned four prominent historians – Hartmut Boockmann, Eberhard Jäckel, Hagen Schulze and Michael Stürmer – to prepare a memorandum, which appeared in January 1982 under the title Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin. The project enjoyed great support from Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who termed the founding of a German historical museum in Berlin a national priority of European importance in his speech on the State of the Nation before the German Bundestag on 27 February 1985. A commission consisting of 16 leading historians, art historians and museum directors worked out a concept for the museum in 1985/86 and put it up for discussion in public hearings in 1986. The final version became the basis for the founding of the DHM. The core of the Museum’s brief was to present German history in an international context. Multi-perspective perceptions aimed to encourage an understanding of the viewpoint of others in order to allow for a high level of reflection on history and culture in a time of the internationalisation of everyday life and the globalisation of work and commerce. On 28 July 1987 the partnership agreement was signed between the Federal Republic of Germany and the land of (West) Berlin concerning the establishment of the temporary trusteeship of the German Historical Museum as a private limited company.

Originally the Museum was to be located near the Reichstag Building at the Spreebogen, the government complex at the bend of the River Spree. The architecture competition for the project was won by the Italian architect Aldo Rossi in 1988. However, in 1989 the fall of the Berlin Wall led to a change of plans: on the day of reunification on 3 October 1990 the Federal Government transferred the collection and premises of the former Museum für Deutsche Geschichte (Museum for German History) to the DHM; the last government of the GDR had already dissolved that museum in September 1990 and made its property and contents available to the DHM. And thus the Zeughaus of 1695 – the oldest building on Unter den Linden – became the seat of the German Historical Museum. The first exhibitions were shown in the Zeughaus in September 1991.

The DHM began expanding its collections shortly after its founding. Opening in December 1994, the former Permanent Exhibition, then entitled German History in Images and Testimonials, presented an initial cross-section of the collection with more than 2000 exhibits.

The façade of the Zeughaus was restored between 1994 and 1998 on the basis of historical documents. The building was closed from 1998 until 2003 while extensive restoration measures were carried out by the architectural office of Winfried Brenne. In the course of the construction of the new adjacent museum hall by Ieoh Ming Pei between 1998 and 2003, glass roofing was once more installed above the Schlüterhof, the inner courtyard with the masks by Andreas Schlüter. The new building by I. M. Pei with a surface area of 2,700 square meters on four floors, and structurally engineered by Leslie E. Robertson Associates, was opened for temporary exhibitions in 2003. The Permanent Exhibition German History in Images and Artefacts was inaugurated in the Zeughaus by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel on 2 June 2006. As of 30 December 2008 the DHM assumed the legal form of a Public Law Foundation of the Federal Government (Stiftung öffentlichen Rechts des Bundes). Founded in 2009 to establish a centre for the remembrance and documentation of flight and expulsion, the Stiftung Flucht, Vertreibung, Versöhnung (Foundation Flight, Expulsion, Reconciliation) is under the aegis of the German Historical Museum.

(source: Wikipedia)



Character designed by: Adam Kilian, sculpture: Marcin Mielczarek, Sienkiewicz Park, Lodz, Poland (Photo: Assaad Mouawad, August 2013)

The unveiling of the monument took place October 10th, 2012, the date of starting the third edition of Se-Ma-For Film Festival.

The monument is about 1 meter tall and weighs ten kilograms. In his right hand Plastuś holds a school bell, with which in the TV series he woke up his friends from pencil case every morning. The bell has a real movable suspended heart. Plastuś has his left hand based on his diary. The sculpture stands near the Primary School No. 173 and on the playground in the Henryk Sienkiewicz park, refering to the fact that Plastuś had his adventures on the school bench (the pencil case, together with the indwelling Plastusiem were owned by Tosia – a girl attending primary school).

The unveiling ceremony attended, among others, Zofia Ołdak – director of the show Plastus’ diary. Also present were Radoslaw Stepien – Deputy Mayor of Łódź  and the heirs of copyright of  the Plastus’ character. At the time of the event the statue was partly surrounded by a wooden model of a school pencil case.

In November 2013, vandals poured corrosive liquid over the monument. In December 2013 the sculpture was dismantled and taken back to the renovation. March 21st, 2014, the first day of the calendar spring, there has been a re-unveiling of the monument.

(Source: Wikipedia)