Jacek Fota

2013 - Ongoing

Warsaw, Masovian Voivodeship, Poland

PKiN is the abbreviation of the Polish name (Pałac Kultury i Nauki) for the Palace of Culture and Science in the country’s capital, Warsaw. This huge building containing in excess of 3200 rooms was a gift from the Soviet Union under Stalin to the people of Poland and was created between 1952 and 1955. Construction elements include some of the finest workmanship by craftsmen from Poland and the Soviet Union.

Images delve behind the scenes of this magnificent structure as it exists today. Fota’s distanced views evoke a sense of the range of public responses – awe, respect, and perhaps even some resentment of this overwhelming structure, with all its elements and all its history. Fota states that his goal was to document how the palace functions on the inside, “to convey the mysterious, surreal ambience” which the Palace exudes.

And sure enough, the administrators and caretakers of the palace are depicted as relatively small elements of the photographs in which they appear. The general impression of the viewer is one of distance, which enhances the mysteries of what is shown. The viewer also feels overcome by the sheer number and size of the many magnificent structural elements, as they mix with items neglected or in disrepair, mere reflections of the “glory” of former times.

text by © Gerhard Clausing

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  • View of the Palace of Culture from the car park roof on Nowogrodzka Street.

  • Alexandr and Eugene, vocalists from the Aleksandrov Choir.

  • Palms at the Studio Theatre smoking room, left behind after performance

  • Celina Gorecka, guardian of the cats residing at the Palace basement

  • Congress Hall prior to redecoration

  • Attics above Congress Hall

  • Ventilation room, Zone W

  • Large sport hall at the Palace of Youth

  • Marianna Sokolowska-Ciczewska, participant at the artistic gymnastics class at the Palace of Youth

  • Ventilation scheme at the main control room

  • Hanna Szczubelek, the Palace's chronicler since 1960

  • Redecoration of the swimming pool at the Palace of Youth

  • Halina Wojakowska, Archive Department of the Capital City of Warsaw

  • Kettle at the main control room

  • Wladyslaw Galinski, shoemaker from the Dramatyczny Theatre

  • Skylight at the Congress Hall

  • Swimming pool floor right before general redecoration commenced in July 2013.