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Building Nationhood: The Polish Pavilion Grapples with Politics

A detached slab of marble apparently hovers above six columns in the centrepiece of the Polish Pavilion - a seemingly impossible hallucination that recreates the Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz 1937 funereal monument

Impossible Objects immerses you in the issues of nationhood and its representation in architecture − and Modernism’s role. The main installation is a massive 1:1 replica of the 1937 black marble baldacchino-like canopy erected over the entrance to the tomb in Crakow of Marshal Józef Piłsudski, the founder and early leader of the Second Polish Republic after 1918, who on his death became the subject of almost cult-like veneration.

The canopy’s final design by Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz is depicted through drawings and design variations, which underline the complex processes by which the architect resolved the need to represent history and national symbolism, while incorporating Modernist influences. Here you feel the weight of history that bears on architecture as a tool in determining notions of nationhood and identity, setting off resonances with conflicts still playing out worldwide today.

Impossible Objects

Curated by the Polish Institute of Architecture and Jakub Woynarowski

Photographs by Andrea Avezzù

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