A woman in a headpiece – a 2.5 metre high work of steel has been erected outside Wawel Royal Castle

Woman in a Headlock is the author’s interpretation of one of the Wawel heads adorning the ceiling of the Envoy Hall at Wawel Royal Castle. The contemporary version of this sculpture, created in 2023 by Paweł Orłowski, was made in the ‘low poly’ style.It explores new possibilities of artistic expression, the source of which lies in modernity

The work was inspired by the exhibition The Picture of the Golden Age at Wawel Royal Castle, which shows the richness of visual culture during the reign of the last Jagiellons. It is an abbreviated treatment of carving portraits from the Renaissance period, reflecting the artist’s idea that art should reflect the ‘here’ and ‘now’, show the spirit of the times, their rhythm, atmosphere and ideas

Orłowski carefully considered the style of the Renaissance head by Sebastian Tauerbach. In this fusion of two different aesthetics, the traditional form of the wooden head was enriched with a contemporary geometric aspect. This contrast between past and present became a key element of the new work

The geometrisation used emphasises the abstract aspect of the interpreted object, encouraging viewers to reflect on the shape and structure of the historical sculpture. Steel Woman in a Headlock also presents a contemporary view of art, where classical elements have been reinterpreted through the current context – the opening of the largest exhibition in the history of the Wawel Royal Castle

The solutions used in the interpretation of the Wawel Woman in a Headlock are bold, expressive and arrest the attention of the casual passer-by, which will certainly be facilitated by the place where the monumental head is displayed. At the exit of Kanonicza Street, walking towards Wawel, it will be impossible to miss

The contemporary installation not only expresses respect for history and the giants who shaped it, but is also an opportunity to present a new, fresh look at the past, to weave a tale of history together with the contemporary viewer

Text compilation: Urszula Wolak-Dudek

See also: Sculpture | Curiosities | Museum | Krakow

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