Fountain

Second part of the exhibition "Hiccup", Re Gallery, MOCAK, Cracow, PL, 2015

Around one and a half years ago, while looking through a family album from my childhood, I came across a picture. It was a photograph of me and my cousin. The photo was dated 1997; I was 10 years old then. I was
standing in the Main Square in Cracow, right by the fountain. At that moment, a picture of naked Niemczyk taking a bath in the fountain automatically came to my mind. It’s actually his ass being portrayed as it faces the camera. At the time I was exploring Niemczyk, I came back to the documentation of his action in the fountain and the picture from my family archives. The fountain that physically connected us didn’t exist anymore. It was removed from the Main Square. The fountain had been designed by Professor Wiktor Zin as a memorial of the Main Square renovation in 1962 – 1964. Around one and a half years ago, I started thinking about what happened to the fountain designed by Professor Zin. What happened with the thing in which Niemczyk took a bath and in front of which I stood posing for another picture to be put in the next family album from holidays. A few months later, thanks to some people, I found the place where the fountain was stored. The fountain differed dramatically from the one I remembered and knew from those two pictures. It had been split into approximately 40 granite pieces, buried in bushes for more or less 7 years, wrapped in stretch film for protection, under which I could see water, mould and moss. A completely new microworld was formed under the film – exotic and inaccessible. The fountain resembled a stony cemetery, where everyone that had ever had any contact with it was buried.

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exhibition view
Stone slab with a relief copy of a technical drawing by the architect Wiktor Zin. This fountain fragment was stolen, upon which the relief was added. It ultimately became part of a performance at the Archaeological Museum in Cracow.

I spent a week associating with the fountain cemetery, sitting on the pieces, smoking cigarettes, urinating, blowing soap bubbles, talking on the phone... – all those things one could do by the city fountain.

One photography presents moment of me sitting in this speci c place.
Last day, as a result of the guards’ heedlessness, I manager to get there by car. I decided to steal a piece (dimensions 41x41x10cm, weight 90kg). For more than a year this part has been a material structure embodying a particle of the events of its life. There’s a relief on its surface – my own interference in the fountain. It presents simple ed horizontal projection. A circle with zodiac signs is located in the centre, then three metal parts in the shape of simplistic frogs out of which water used to pour out. Next, smaller square on a platform inscribed in a bigger one with rounded edges.

A few weeks later on the Main Square in Cracow, just by the place where the fountain used to be located and where now is a different one I conducted a performance named deafening/cleaning. What I essentially did was to deafen one out of four plays of St. Mary’s Trumpet Call – the one addressed to town councilors. The sound you can hear i san audio documentation of my action and one of the photos is a visual record of it.

Scream, documentation of performance at Main Square, Cracow, PL, 2015

One step forward, one step back, one step down

The final step in a sequence of activities involving the fountain designed by Professor Wiktor Zin and commemorating the activities of Krzysztof Niemczyk was the depositing of a stone fragment with the Museum of Archaeology in Cracow, PL. Thus, the object became a part of institutional archives: it was introduced into the institutional system while obtaining the status of an archival artwork.

Krzysztof Niemczyk. Taking a bath in the fountain on the Main Square in front of the St. Mary’s Basilica, Cracow, PL photo from A. Ptaszkowska’s archives
documentation of a performance;  burying the object in the gardens of the Museum of Archaeology in Cracow, 2015

On 20 May 2015, shortly after 7 a.m., a nude man dug a hole 75 cm deep, where my object was deposited. Then it was buried. The pit is located 93 man’s steps from the place where a gravel lane begins next to the museum entrance (including 89 steps along the lane and the remaining steps across the green square), 6 steps off the fencing between the gardens and the stonemason’s workshop, 32 steps from the entrance gate of the gardens.

text of deposit:

I, the undersigned, Przemysław Branas, deposit my artwork in the archives of the Museum of Archaeology in Cracow for an indeterminate period. The artefact dimensions are 419x419x120 mm, its weight is ca. 80 kg. The object was deposited underground in the gardens of the Museum on 20 May 2015.