Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw
in: “Warsaw Under Construction #1” 2009
site-specific installation on Plac Defilad
scaffoldings, billboards, large format prints, painting, approx. 11 x 7 x 4 m
The Big Argument is a project accompanying the program of “Warsaw Under Construction”. Using a billboard cluster on the seats of honor in front of the Palace of Culture in Warsaw, Daniela Brahm underlines the impetuous and complex character of conflicts evoked by attempts to manage and conquer public space by groups of conflicting interests. The eight-meter high installation refers, among others, to the future role of the Museum building which, aiming to order the public sphere of the city centre, becomes the subject of disputes and antagonisms itself. Brahm imitates the language of the omnipresent advertisement – the large-format billboards and ubiquitous information boards and signboards, using them at the same time as a carrier of activist announcements concerning disputes among the users of the Parade Square.
She emphasizes the violence and complex character of conflicts that accompany the development and grabbing of public sphere by groups and communities driven by contradictory interests. At the same time, Brahm defines the city as “the biggest exhibition in the world”, treating art as a kind of magnifying glass, through which we look at pending urban, political and social processes.
In a world where almost everything has already been designed (“from jeans to genes” – as Hal Foster puts it in a well-known essay, Design and Crime), there are still places that stubbornly resist the regular planning, the enclaves of architectonic anarchy, where anything might yet be designed, to the benefit of the residents. For the time being, Warsaw remains such a place.
(text by Sebastian Cichocki, curator at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw)