Heavy Weight History

Moving weightlifting away from preconceived ideas of oily, grunting men in a fetid-smelling corner of a gym and into the political sphere is Christian Jankowski’s latest project, Heavy Weight History.

Christian Jankowski Heavy Weight History, 2013 Video, 25 min. colour, sound

Source: © Christian Jankowski; courtesy Lisson Gallery, London

Christian JankowskiHeavy Weight History, 2013Video, 25 min. colour, sound

The German artist’s new show at London’s Lisson Gallery will present a series of photographs, a 25-minute film and an installation, created in the wake of a trip to Poland, in which weightlifters were invited to try and pick up a series of huge public sculptures in Poland’s capital, Warsaw.

Christian Jankowski Heavy Weight History, 2013 Video, 25 min. colour, sound

Source: © Christian Jankowski; courtesy Lisson Gallery, London

Christian Jankowski Heavy Weight History, 2013 Video, 25 min. colour, sound

The burly bunch are seen sporting their national colours of red and white while attempting to uproot the enormous, dense monuments.

Christian Jankowski Heavy Weight History, 2013 Video, 25 min. colour, sound

Source: © Christian Jankowski; courtesy Lisson Gallery, London

Christian JankowskiHeavy Weight History, 2013Video, 25 min. colour, sound

Those they approached include more than one Communist-era memorial, a Ronald Reagan statue and the figure of Syrenka the Mermaid, an ‘often-vandalised’ symbol of the city, says the gallery, first erected in 1859.

Christian Jankowski Heavy Weight History, 2013 Video, 25 min. colour, sound

Source: © Christian Jankowski; courtesy Lisson Gallery, London

Christian Jankowski Heavy Weight History, 2013 Video, 25 min. colour, sound

The efforts of the group to lift these pieces aim to suggest the notion of ‘attempting to lift the very burden of history on to their shoulders’, according to Lisson Gallery, with Jankowski ‘questioning the continued relevance and future siting of public sculpture’.

Christian Jankowski Heavy Weight History, 2013 Video, 25 min. colour, sound

Source: © Christian Jankowski; courtesy Lisson Gallery, London

Christian Jankowski Heavy Weight History, 2013 Video, 25 min. colour, sound

The film takes a documentary feel in the style of a reality television show, with Jankowski bringing in a sports commentator well-known in his native Poland to describe the exploits of the beefy fellows.

Christian Jankowski Heavy Weight History, 2013 Video, 25 min. colour, sound

Source: © Christian Jankowski; courtesy Lisson Gallery, London

Christian JankowskiHeavy Weight History, 2013Video, 25 min. colour, sound

Alongside the Heavy Weight History film, Lisson Gallery will also be showing  Jankowski’s 2012 film Crying for the March of Humanity, which sees the artist remake a Mexican soap opera, replacing the dialogue with the actors sobbing.

Christian Jankowski, Heavy Weight History, runs from 31 January – 8 March at Lisson Gallery, 52-54 Bell Street, London NW1www.lissongallery.com

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