The public art installation “Between The Water And The Sky” turns Kładka Bernatka, a pedestrian bridge over the Wisła linking Kazimierz and Podgorze, into a contemporary art gallery. Installed in early September 2016, internationally recognized Polish sculptor and artist Jerzy Kędziora brings his signature ‘floating’ statues to Krakow. Spread out over the expanse of the 130m long bridge, ten human-like figures gracefully balance in dramatic acrobatic positions on thin steel wires attached to the crisscrossing support beams. Taken together, it is as if a troupe of urban trapeze artists became frozen in suspended animation during the middle of a performance.
Kędziora has developed an innovative approach to the sculpture and presentation of the human figure- In Krakow, human statues are often the static climax atop a monumental pedestal (think Adam Mickiewicz atop his platform in the Main Square). In a break with this tradition, Kędziora removes the understructure from his statues and replaces it with nothing but air and thin wire. This forces his creations to come alive and into their own existence. With the support cables having just a little bounce and give, the statues become animated with slight sways and movements. A paradox on display: statues in motion-
The quiet Kładka Bernatka, a calm pedestrian and bicycle bridge unspoiled by car traffic and other distractions, makes it an ideal host for such a serene even magical installation, where viewers can comfortably take in the work. “Between The Water And The Sky” is a literal description of the position of the installation, with the cold waters of the Wisła running below and the often smoggy sky lingering above. Each figure is a small wonder, can exist on its own and is worthy of individual examination. Each pose is unique, singular and stimulating- However, the true strength of the exhibition is felt when all the works and their context are considered in total.
With a larger scale, new themes of juxtapositions and contrasts emerge. The installation places delicate fine sculpture against a large-scale tectonic expression of urban engineering. It is art on science. Yet the displays are not in conflict with one another, but instead in conversation, with each becoming visible in the other. Is balance not inner engineering? Also, from this perspective, Kędziora did not remove the podium from beneath the sculptures, but by placing them on the bridge, has given them the most monumental one of all.
“Between The Water And The Sky” is the most significant temporary installation currently on display in Krakow, bringing art into public space and embedding it into the daily life experience of a large number of individuals. It shows the possibility of unique spaces becoming opportunities for art and is a superb example of its execution.