ADAM W. BYRA

goodbye stalin

Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw is the tallest building in Poland. Constructed between 1952 and 1955, the building was a gift from the Soviet Union to the people of Poland. Designed by Russian architect Lev Rudnev and built by 3500 workers from the Soviet Union, of whom 16 died during the process, the building is highly controversial as by many Poles it is still being seen as a symbol of Soviet domination over communist Poland.

I have started working on the project in 2012, the year which marked 50th anniversary of the start of construction of the palace. At that time it has been a common subject in mainstream media whether the building should be preserved, becoming the biggest historic evidence of the past era, or, as our current Minister of Foreign Affairs Radek Sikorski advocates, be demolished making space for the new symbol of free, democratic country. Opponents of the demolition often raise the argument of building now being the most recognizable landmark of Warsaw and the costs of such operation. It is comprehensible, that from the economic point of view, such a demolition cannot be afforded by the city council. Not at present nor anytime in the near future. Hence, „Goodbye Stalin” is a visual manifestation of what many of the citizens advocate for, but from obvious reasons cannot be achieved.