“When Joanna Rajkowska set about realizing her project in June 2007, she could only hope it would be well received by the inhabitants and visitors of the area around pl. Grzybowski in Warsaw.
The oxygenated pond, with its sprinklers, water lilies, goldfish and stone-like seats, was supposed to be a temporary enrichment to the concrete surroundings of the square. Yet, what has happened after three months of the oxygenator’s existence, is that signatures have been collected to persuade city authorities to allow it to remain there permanently.
Raikowska, creator of the project, is a renowned Warsaw artist.
Her idea in designing the so-called oxygenator was to create a place where people could pause, breathe fresh air and simply be together.
The choice of the location of the project was by no means accidental. pl. Grzybowski is a meeting point of several different paths of memory.
Situated halfway between a Polish Socialist Party commemorative stone and a monument of Pope John Paul II, the only preserved Warsaw’s synagogue and a Catholic church known for its nationalistic sympathies, the square itself is a living paradox.
It is a dead zone, Rajkowska told the magazine “”Wysokie Obcasy.””
The square is assumed to be the place of the last battle of the Ghetto Uprising.
According to Rajkowska, the area is in such a neglected, unattractive and stigmatized area that the artist decided to place a small, meter-deep pond, surrounded by flowers and ornamental bushes, with special devices for creating mist and filling the water with ozone bubbles. The whole arrangement seemed to belong to a different world, she added.
Its purpose was to constitute a spot where people whose paths cross the area of pl. Grzybowski, though mostly strangers, could be together for a while, not for the sake of communication, but to form a momentary community of passers-by. Throughout the summer the oxygenator played this role perfectly.
The installation was dismantled in November, but thanks to the initiative of the local people it will return to Pl. Grzybowski in spring, in a different, permanent form
“”We will do whatever it takes to find funds for maintaining the pond,”” said City Secretary Artur Leszkiewicz told Gazeta Wyborcza Stoleczna.
His opinion is shared by representatives of the local authorities who agreed to keep the oxygenator in its place for good.