2000_Grzegorz Klaman, Gates II

Grzegorz Klaman (born 1959 in Nowy Targ, Poland; lives and works in Gdánsk, Poland).

The artist was commissioned by the Gdánsk city government and the Polish trade union “Solidarity” to make a work of public sculpture. Klaman made two sculptures, Gates I and Gates II, the latter quoting Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International (1919–20).

“[The work was conceived] as a response to the triumphalist official discourse on the history of Solidarity [ …] Klaman’s Gates grew out of counter-history and critique of the official state discourse that took control of the history of the anti-communist movement. The official history of Solidarity is not only triumphalist, but also and above all Christian. It is filled with religious symbolism, such as crosses, images of the Virgin Mary, and papal iconography… The artist’s allusion to Tatlin… provides eloquent evidence of the artist’s subversive intentions. It is quite clear that the ideologues of the political right employed by the state do not associate the [Third International] with the history of ‘their’ Solidarity.”
—Piotr Piotrowski, Art and Democracy in Post-Communist Europe (London: Reaktion Books, 2012), 159.

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