The Polish Pavilion was built as a metaphorical space, subjugated to the motto of the Polish presentation: See the Beauty. It lies within the extensively defined subject sub-themes of the Expo 2005 in Aichi: Nature’s Matrix – Art of Life – Development for Eco-Communities. The presentation itself is focused on two leading themes: the person of Fryderyk Chopin and the Salt Mine in Wieliczka, in an especially arranged scenery, imitating the subterranean salt chambers.
The main elements of architecture creating the space of the exhibition are: experimental wall of the pavilion, executed in prototype technology based on a modular build of three-dimensional bent steel frames, covered with white willow (genus Salix), a variety of the willow generally associated with Chopin’s music (compare, e.g.: monument to Chopin in Warsaw’s Royal Baths) and the landscape of the Masovia Region; the expressive and light form, reminiscent of the white cloud chased by winds, was computer-generated, and its execution was entrusted to artists – craftsmen from around Rudnik nad Sanem; the symbolic cross-section across Poland from the sea in the north to the alpine peaks of the south provides at the same time a multifunctional, theatrical space for multimedia projections (presenting key themes of the pavilion), musical concerts, meetings with artists, etc. Suspended within this space, over the scene, is a glass sculpture of a grand piano (by Tomasz Urbanowicz), while a passage towards the “mountains” is accompanied by Echo: a multimedia installation (by Aleksander Janicki), combining images and short films (five projections on the floor plane) with locally focused sound.
The “underground” salt chamber, paved with authentic salt blocks from Wieliczka is dramatic, and contrasts with the “overground” space, contemporary in its design and illustrating over 600 years of the mine’s history and attracting all the senses of the spectator. Speaking both in the high-tech and low-tech architectural tongue, the design of the pavilion is an attempt to build the image of Poland as a modern country, with dynamically developing technologies, and at the same time, caring for the historical memory and tradition, handicraft and ecology, and contemporary culture and art, architecture notably included.
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