A man who cannot get up | exhibition view, New ASP, Katowice
A man who cannot get up | exhibition view, New ASP, Katowice
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A man who cannot get up is the fifth project by the Travel Agency art collective organised as part of the Parallax exhibition in the new building of the Katowice Academy. The main character of this edition was a lost monument of a worker commissioned by Oscar Troplowitz from a Berlin sculptor Arthur Bock. For many years nobody remembered about the monument. It lay in boxes for around 15 years. It was only in 1930 that the work was placed in Reichspraesidentenplatz (today Pilsudski Square). The monument showed a huge man, emerging from water, as if getting up off his knees and resting his left hand on a large hammer. The allegoric character of the sculpture posed some problems for understanding (…), Gliwice’s inhabitants joked about the work, calling it a man who cannot get up. It contradicted the author’s initial idea: the man was to symbolise the rapidly developing industry.

For us the sculpture became an allegory of the post-industrial Silesia and the role of culture and artists in a worker’s community. At the exhibition, the monument was presented only in a pre-war post card, and the main element of the display was a 1 : 1 scan of the place where it was supposed to have been buried. The work was accompanied by a monumental inscription in Antique, carved in a wall: A man who cannot get up and a show of Roman Polanski’s film Two Men and a Wardrobe. As the project was part of the exhibition that marked the opening of a new Katowice Academy’s building, the inscription with its archaic form was to refer to the bygone character of the problem, while the wardrobe from the film asked questions about the new direction for the Academy and the role of art in a post-industrial society.

NEW ASP, Katowice

Included context by historical materials: Two Men and a Wardrobe (1958) by Roman Polanski