A Hollow Head - Artistic Vision of Igor Mitoraj

head sculpture in Krakow  web size watermarkA huge, black sculpture of a hollow, bandaged head lies on its side in the middle of Krakow’s Main Square. The classic image and shape reminds me of fallen statuary in ancient Pompeii. Yet, this anomaly of modern art in the middle of classic Krakow begs the question – what is it, why is it there and what does it mean?

The meaning of modern art escapes me at first glance
Like much of modern art, I appreciate that it’s art, and that it’s someone’s artistic interpretation of something. In this case I just can’t tell what that something is, unless it’s the ultimate example of blank eyes staring back at you. If I stand next to it, I am still shorter than the nose. The significance of the art escaped me, so I looked further.

Similar sculptures by well-known Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj’s are sought all over the world
The work is named Eros Bendato and is the creation of  well-known Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj (1944 – 2014). Variations of the sculpture are installed in Vancouver, London, Paris, Italy and more. The symbolism of bandages represents “contemporary suffering,” especially of his own country, Poland. All the sculptures appear to be broken fragments of heads, busts, faces, as if we are all incomplete. They all have a distinct look to them. Since the sculptor graduated from art school in Krakow, I guess it is appropriate to install one of his large works in the center of Krakow. These are high level interpretations, but his work is sought after.

A hollow head represents my current brain on summer vacation
For now I can relate to the metaphor of a hollow head. Just as I’m trying to wrap up this project, my brain seems to have gone on summer vacation, the ideas flowing out with the tide. I’ve been doing more reading than writing, which is energizing but results in fewer words on the page. I am hopeful that my brain and creativity is on sabbatical. Regardless, after a little bit of research into Mitoraj, who died last fall, I do appreciate his work more.

One a side note: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is raising $1 million dollars for their own 12 foot long, 7 feet tall, and 4,000 pound bronze Mitoraj sculpture of an empty head, to be permanently installed late June 2015.

Article on Minneapolis Institute of Arts

More info on Igor Mitoraj

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Great piece! I’ve been to Krakow so I enjoyed this very much. It’s an interesting place with a young, creative vibe,. different than Warsaw. Yet, I can’t forget what happened there during WWII. There’s an underlying sadness in Poland for me.

    • Katrina Shawver
      June 20, 2015 10:42 am

      Thanks! Great comment. I never understand modern art at first glance, so looking into this was interesting for me. It’s certainly distinctive, that’s for sure.

  • Lucy Spychalski
    June 22, 2015 8:51 am

    In my view, this art by Igor Mitoraj is a symbol of sad unfinished events that may reflect the life reality of a group or happenings in an individual person’s life. One could apply this symbolism to WWII sad events in Krakow or one could relate this artistic expression to unfinished event in individual’s personal life at this present time in any location.

    • Katrina Shawver
      June 23, 2015 5:50 pm

      Thanks. What a great comment. I was surprised to find his work all over the world – each one slightly different and yet intriguing.


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