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Christian Jankowski

Heavy Weight History

video, 25'46''

For the project and film entitled Heavy Weight History, Jankowski invited powerlifting and weightlifting champions, as well as the well-known journalist and sports commentator Michał Olszański. The project combining art, sport, and history consisted in the attempt by weightlifters to lift selected Warsaw monuments. Dealing with the commemorated figures and their history, as well the actual weight of the monuments was not an easy task. The athletes confronted the statue of Ludwik Waryński, Willy Brandt, the Warsaw Mermaid, Ronald Reagan and one of the soldiers from the so-called Four Sleepers statue (the now dismantled Monument to the Polish-Soviet Brotherhood of Arms in Warsaw).

This enormous effort by weightlifters and powerlifters had a twofold meaning. On the one hand, it was a symbolic attempt to face history, showing that it is often a literal burden for us, and that dealing with historical memory requires enormous strength. On the other hand, the artist took up the issue of the functioning of public space and places marked with symbolism

The monuments came from different times and political narratives, some of them relegated to the dustbin of history. Jankowski decided to approach historic monuments humorously and with a pinch of salt, which does not exclude serious reflection on the presence of history in our contemporary life. A daring story told by Olszański, introducing the stories of monuments, their creators and commemorated figures, seems to ask the question whether in todays world monuments are still helpful in bringing history to life, or whether they make it lifeless and heavy beyond our strength.

Christian Jankowski is a German multimedia artist. In his work, he uses video, photography and installations, painting, and performance. He studied at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg and is professor of sculpture (installation, performance, video) at the Art Department of the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart.

In his work, the artist examines the interactions between the world of art and other spheres of life style, psychology, and rituals by subjecting them to critical analysis. Often, he cooperates with representatives of various circles with politicians, TV presenters, and even delegates of the Vatican.