Nearly three dozen suspension sculptures designed by Polish artist Jerzy Jotka Kedziora will be on display in three Columbus parks and at the Main Library. The gravity-defying sculptures explore the concept of balance, as well as significant moments in Polish history. The sculptures will be on display until March 2020.
Two acrobats floating in the air. A golfer mid-swing suspended above the sidewalk. Charlie Chaplin climbing a ladder to nowhere.
They are among nearly three dozen gravity-defying sculptures on display across Columbus beginning this weekend.
The sculptures, created by Polish artist Jerzy Jotka Kedziora, are part of an exhibition called “Suspension: Balancing Art, Nature, and Culture.” The pieces will be on display in three Columbus parks — Schiller, Livingston and Thurber — and at the Main Library from Sunday until March 1. The exhibit is presented by the Friends of Schiller Park in association with the Art & Balance Foundation of Poland.
Bringing a major public art exhibition to a city usually requires months of planning, permits and coordination. But all the pieces fell together for Katharine Moore, president of the Friends of Schiller Park, in just a few weeks.
Moore was on the search for one piece of art to display in Schiller Park, but instead she stumbled on Kedziora’s collection of suspension sculptures. She connected with Kedziora’s studio in Krakow and started talking to Joanna Rapicka, foreign relations director for the studio.
As it turned out, Rapicka told Moore that the exhibition was on display in Long Island. How would Moore like to help extend its stay in the United States?
Moore jumped on the opportunity and began working with the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department to bring the sculptures here. Friends of Schiller Park spent $10,000 to transport the works and the crew to install it.
Kedziora requested that some of the sculptures be placed near Nationwide Children’s Hospital because he believes art and health have a connection, so Livingston Park was chosen. Moore, who also is the executive director of the Jefferson Center for Learning and the Arts, knew that nearby Thurber Park would be a great locale. And Schiller Park could always use a few more sculptures.
What caught her eye, Moore said, was the way each sculpture explores the idea of balance. Each figure — made of an epoxy resin with metallic elements — is suspended on a single wire, often between two trees.
“They are just so spectacular,” Moore said. “Having something just up in the air like that — it’s a kind of kinetic experience.”
“They play with the wind,” said Rapicka. “Weather is important. Sometimes they’re moving a lot; sometimes they’re not.”
Many of Kedziora’s sculptures feature athletic figures exhibiting strength. He also draws inspiration from Poland’s history of upheaval.
Two sculptures placed at Schiller Park, “Man-Bell” and “Woman-Bell,” pay homage to Polish revolutionaries during the country’s rejection of communism. Church bells would sound to alert people when and where to go for secret meetings. The security services knew that the bells were calling something, but did not know in which church, Rapicka said.
A crew of six installed all the sculptures across the city on Thursday and Friday. Kedziora ran between crews stringing up sculptures at each of Schiller Park’s entrances, making sure that the figures sit perfectly in the sky.
One of the most dramatic sculptures, that of a man rowing while suspended about the park’s pond, drew a crowd as Kedziora’s team put it together.
Moore said she’s thrilled to have the pieces together in some of the city’s most historic spaces.
“When you have a historic park, you need to be careful because you want to respect the park,” Moore said, “but these pieces bring a new energy.”