I Prize in the design competition for a Monument to the Cursed Soldiers

Wroclaw, Poland
2020
  • How to symbolically depict all Cursed Soldiers, heroes acting in the underground, often anonymous, lonely, trapped, stabbed, imprisoned and erased?
  • How to create a work of sculptural art, which is also a modern composition enriching the space in the city day and night, often viewed only from the windows of a car or public transport?
  • How to activate your imagination, move artistic sensations, show the depth of the message, honor heroes, evoke reflection and arouse feelings of respect for their fate, while giving a clear message to young generations?

The original idea to answer these questions is to create unique sculptures made of thick artistic glass – a material that vividly, mysteriously and exceptionally moves the imagination and constantly plays with light and shadows. Monumental glass casts with a proprietary gray graphic layer of painting will allude to the old photos of soldiers. Glass artistic monumental sculptures – silhouettes of soldiers in a 1: 1 scale are placed in cuboids, also made of artistic glass, safe – tempered, with a kiln’s original texture.

This artistic solution creates solids – multidimensional sculptures with mysterious gray glass figures inside, and above all, with an endless play of light and shadow, as well as subtle optical effects resulting from different textures, transparency and thickness in kiln-formed glass. The figures are set inside the solids in different directions. Depending on the angle of observation of the moving viewer, the glass figures are more or less visible. Symbolically, this is the effect of their underground activity or attempts of the authorities of that time to erase them.

The silhouettes aren’t set on pedestals. Heroic Cursed Soldiers are like honest and upright people among us. However, the solids surrounding the figures are higher, emphasizing their nobility of spirit, and in addition referring in scale to the large, urban context of the square. We do not see their faces accurately, we do not have signatures with a military rank, we do not distinguish with their name, date of death … but we feel their fear and situation with no way out. We become aware of their tragic and hopeless situation limiting the freedom of life, their experiences and dramas, cruelty, loneliness, and finally often prison, cell and death.

There are nine sculptures, each different, freely shaped in the kiln. Arranged evenly on the square in “military” order and style, luminous solids about 3 meters high already from a distance are associated with soldiers.

The planned monument, together with a comprehensive solution of small architecture, lighting of the square and lighting of sculptures, and the existing and planned greenery will enrich this rather dark and currently neglected fragment of the city’s public space, creating new quality during the day and after dark, while honoring the heroes – the Cursed Soldiers.

Project: arch. Tomasz Urbanowicz & arch. Konrad Urbanowicz.