A bird flew out of a stone …

Characteristic of Bogdan Markowski’s sculptures is the “surrounding” of space through his works. Such a work is, among others “Heron”, which found its place in Poland, in the Albrechtówka near Kazimierz Dolny, on the Vistula river embankment. A unique place with a sense of space filling, a wide view of Janowiec and the wild Vistula river. In such a place, the “Heron” made of the clear marble, it attracts the viewer and encourages discovery of form and material, shortens the distance between the viewer and the art. We read the sculpture in the context of the space, as if it sat here only for a moment.  The heron rested on fragments of the marble block from which it was made, as if it were an allegory of the words of Michelangelo – “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it”.

The bird

In the spring, a multi tonne marble rock came to Witoszyn, the village close to Lublin in the Eastern part of Poland. Cut from a Sławniowice mine on the border with Czech Republic, and transported several hundred kilometers, it was laid tenderly on wooden beams in the outdoor studio of Bogdan Markowski, a Polish sculptor. After a few days a complete workshop was created, equipped with chisels, hammers, diamond saws, wedges, washers and the artist’s tabouret. There was also a large shade, because the sun was fierce that May. Soon gray powder started covering the place. In the mist, the powerful shape of the sculptor loomed, provoking repeated eruptions of dust. The artist was working slowly, but constantly.

Weeks passed. The stone was taking shape. One could recognize a composition typical for Markowski’s sculptures: a heavy but transparent solid on two supports. It was somewhat similar to his monumental wooden work constructed at the 1996 sculpture festival at Inami Machi in Japan. In fact, already his wooden sailor from the seventies of the last century had been forshadowing such an idea.  After that, there was a long series of “riven men” and “thinkers” represented by an empty space encircled by arms supported on the base. These sculptures form a significant part of the five decades of Markowski’s creative activity.

"Heron" marble sculpture H115cm (c) Polish sculptor Bogdan Markowski image Jan Szymanowski
“Heron” marble sculpture H115cm

Sławniowski marble is hard. Months passed. The shape of the sculpture was becoming well-defined. Each  stroke of the chisel was more significant and more critical. An error at this stage would be irreparable. The artist’s face showed signs of strain, his hands fainting with effort. The heat was pouring from the sky.
And finally, after months of hard work, a bird flew out of the stone.

Janusz Michalik, Jacek Sempolinski Art Gallery spa spot in Nałęczów.

"Heron" rear view, marble sculpture H115cm (c) Polish sculptor Bogdan Markowski image Jan Szymanowski
“Heron” rear view, marble sculpture H115cm

Together with my wife and our friends, we were able to participate in the entire creative process of the “Heron” project. As devotees of the art of Bogdan Markowski, we have become happy owners of several of his bronze sculptures that interact with our interiors in Kazimierz Dolny and Warsaw. These were our first sculptures, with which we lived and surprised us, how the sculpture can “organize” the space around itself, as it closely interfere with architecture. This prompted us to talk with Bogdan about creating a larger sculpture, from stone, to the garden. At the beginning of the conversations, it turned out that our wives had the same set of two names – Grażyna Teresa. Such a rare combination of names, in one place close to Kazimierz Dolny, was a sign that the project must succeed. Stormy discussions revolved around various ideas from which the heron emerged, as a reference to the Vistula river flowing several dozen meters from our garden, a wild river and always full of birds, my passion of birds photography, photo gallery in our house in Albrechtówka .

"Heron" marble sculpture 115cm hight (c) Polish sculptor Bogdan Markowski image Jan Szymanowski
“Heron” marble 115cm hight

This idea soon turned into a plaster bozzetto. We liked the sculpture concept so much that the project from the feasibility study entered the implementation phase. As beginner sculpture collectors, we did not realize the complexity of a complicated logistic operation with the acquisition of a more than 3-tonne marble block, transporting it to Bogdan’s lab, and finally “rejection of what is unnecessary” and the creation of “Heron”. The result of several months of work can be admired today in our garden, and the bronze bozzetto gives an idea of ​​the whole creative process.

Jan Szymanowski

"Heron" bronze H22cm (c) Polish Sculptor Bogdan Markowski image Jan Szymanowski
“Heron” bronze H22cm