Observation Point for Changes in Art
Warcino near Miastko, summer 1978
During a retreat attended by art theoreticians, art historians, and artists, amid lively discussions and lectures about new trends and tendencies in art, I came up with the idea of an outdoor installation that would be relevant in the context.
I planned to install, on a tall tree, an elevated seat, like for a hunter, with a pink rope ladder leading to it. A large information panel would be placed below, stating the work’s title, author, and date of making, while in the park, leading from the main building, arrows would be installed, saying (in Polish): “To the Observation Point for Changes in Art”.
The difficulty was that there was no way to put up the seat so high; we lacked the ladders. I asked for the fire brigade’s assistance, which wasn’t forthcoming, so I joked that we needed to start a small controlled fire.
It so happened that on the following day a fire broke out in a storage, kept under lock and key, where bed mattresses were kept. The firemen came and extinguished the fire, making possible the execution of my work. Although I was completely innocent, the event’s commissioner, Andrzej Kostołowski, accused me of starting the fire. My work corresponded closely with the essence of the retreat. The installation was well received, and I was accused of witchcraft and threatened with the prospect of being burned at the stake in the town’s market square; another happening is in the making, I was being told. I felt like a medieval witch. Such strange coincidences had happened before. Praying for Rain was followed by terrible rainstorms, there were floods, and some held me responsible for that. My intention had naturally been to win good luck, ingenuity, and success, in life, including in personal life. But people took the title at face value.