Sleepers Seen from Another Angle
Gazeta Wyborcza Lodz
June 25th, 2010
While strolling down Franciszkanska, Drewnowska and Lagiewnicka, one encounters intriguing installations. Agnes Janich, the artist behind the project, placed earmuffs, sleepers and doll dresses on several Lodz buildings.
Janich comes from Lodz. She was born here 24 years ago, but she grew up in South Africa and graduated from college in New York. She does photographs, films, performances and installations. Her work was presented on four continents already. Now she returns to her hometown through art.
I conceived Bits and Pieces during a recent stroll through Baluty - she recalls. I dedicate it to child workers of the gheto, who died here of hunger and exhaustion. The Lodz ghetto is unique in this way - its babies didn't even make it to the crematoria. I want to remind people of what happened here before life went on after the war. These children have no graves nor families to remember them.
The facade of the 35 Lagiewnicka St hospital will be covered with sleepers, the one at 14 Franciszkanska St- with pink doll dresses, and the one at 77 Drewnowska St - with white earmuffs.
The effect is mind-boggling. Passers-by stop and exchange remarks on the piece. Memory is coming back. I don't want to account for history, attribute guilt or glorify the victim, Janich says. I want to recall the memory of harsh times which the inhabitants of Baluty took with honor. It was here that I, as a six-year-old, dragged my mother to the kiosk to buy the Bits and Pieces children magazine. My tiny, unskilled hands made little dresses. Weird replicas of my mother's clothes. Recalling reality, but unreal, just like the world of the children of the ghetto. It would be a fraud of reality to allow the memory of these kids to fade away.
Agnes Janich's project is part of the Meetings with Cultural Diversity The Faces of Lodz and is organized by the Wschodnia Gallery and the Bureau of Promotion, Tourism and International Cooperation of the City of Lodz.