PestsäuleJadwiga Sawicka


The Polish artist Jadwiga Sawicka interlaces the questioning of one’s own history as well as the “monument” function of art in public space with direct statements on social sensitivities. The title of her multi-media installation Pestsäule (Plague Column) alludes to the Wiener plague column at the Graben, one of the most well-known historic monuments in Vienna. For her 7.5-meter column rising upwards in the form of a metal construction, Jadwiga Sawicka used light boxes for an advertising industry aesthetics. This was contrasted with texts on existentialist themes, which were translated into Polish, German and English.

With “THEY WEBT & CRIED & DIED” and “WE WORK & BUY & SICKEN” the artist diagnosed our current consumer and capital society and related it to our perception of history: “The past is often considered as heroic, brutal and cruel, with its major wars, famines, scarcities and plagues. In comparison Europe’s present appears tame and subdued.” Via loudspeakers, a sound composition was played with drum rolls by Andrzej Juszczyk.

Mariahilfer Straße as location was selected deliberately: it has always been a bustling popular shopping area in Vienna. So Jadwiga Sawicka’s Pestsäule reached a particularly large number of Viennese and visitors to the city and showed them an artistic interpretation of consumption.


Mariahilfer Str. 1, 1070 Wien, Österreich

Further Information

Ursula Maria Probst

Partner and sponsor
Embassy of the Republic of Poland


PestsäuleJadwiga Sawicka

Time Period

November 17 to December 10, 2011



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