Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Located on the edge of Warsaw’s Mokotów neighborhood, one will find an unique park that used to be a rabbit hunting grounds for one of Poland’s kings.

Today, you’ll find the grounds at Królikarnia Palace covered with sculptures and four neon signs, as part of a special exhibit called “Come Alight!” by the Bęc Zmiana Foundation and local artists, architects and researchers. The exhibit is open to the public through October 5th. According to the palace’s website, the “neon sign is for us, above all, a symbol of urban dynamics, energy, color and life shared by all city dwellers.”

I recently re-explored Królikarnia with a friend and even watched a special showing of a film called “Neon,” which covered the old neon signs around Warsaw. It was a fascinating documentary and made me want to go out and photograph the city’s remaining neon signs before they all disappear from the landscape!

As you enter the park, you can’t help but notice the wonky-hanging “Warszawa” sign. Local artists Natalia Romik and Sebastian Kucharek used the neon sign letters of the railway station Warszawa Gdańska. The original version preserved only the initial letters WAR, now installed on the fence, while the “rest of the damaged elements have been scattered by the artists in an expressive gesture around the sign.” I simply liked the sign because it refers to the current capital city where we live!
That’s the problem with art; I often like it, but I don’t understand it.
Downhill from the palace, you’ll encounter the neon sign Nowe Życie (New Life). This 1970s sign comes from an “agricultural cooperative” in a village near Bydgoszcz, about 300 km northwest of Warsaw. What does “New Life” mean to you?
The third neon sign spells Lenistwo (Laziness) in green letters. Polish artist Szymon Kobylarz preserved eight pieces of old neon signs to create this installation, which is supposed to reflect the “right to leisure for all residents.”
The fourth neon sign is located behind the palace’s walls, and one that we did not find that day. However, you’ll also find numerous works by the famed Polish sculptor and Auschwitz survivor Xawery Dunikowski on the grounds. You cannot miss “The Soul Escaping the Body,” a sculpture that is replicated on Dunikowski’s tombstone. To me, the sculpture looks more like a couple about to kiss. 
And sculptures by other artists located throughout the park.
Królikarnia simply is a wonderful place to explore off the typical tourist path in Warsaw. You’ll even find a cute café inside the museum where you enjoy a coffee or beer. If you have the time, I’d highly recommend strolling around the grounds and admiring the sculptures and whatever other art you may encounter.
The sculpture museum is located within the restored Królikarnia Palace.
Królikarnia Palace and Park
ul. Puławska 113a
Phone: (+48) 22 843 15 86
Website: http://www.krolikarnia.mnw.art.pl
Hours: 11.00 a.m.-6.00 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday; On Thursdays, open til 8.00 p.m.
Admission fees: 8 zł normal/4 zł reduced; Free Admission on Thursdays.

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kami said...

that's a really weird thing but I've never been to Królikarnia! Must change that soon!

Joy said...

@kami, you would live it, especially the old neon signs right now!

AnGiE Z said...

Hi Joy! How is the fall weather over there? m trying to pack for a six week trip to Warsaw (Oct- first half of November). I'm from SE Asia so I always struggle with cold weather packing.

Do I need a long coat or is a fleece jacket enough to get me through the cold?

Joy said...

@Angie, fall weather is up and down. Some days are warm, up to 50s & 60s, during the day but then as cold as the 30s at night. So I guess it depends on your tolerance. You shouldn't need a full winter coat yet but definitely lots of warm layers.

The interiors of buildings and the public transportation gets awfully hot, so you just need to dress warmly for the outside. I'm doing a light cardigan and tshirt under a trenchcoat right now with the occasional scarf. :-)