The Amber Room
Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design, Art in Public Space Studio, Art Mediation Chair
work made under the supervision of Dr Tomasz Opania
“Due to its venue, this year’s SURVIVAL makes it possible to travel in time. Wrapped in mystery, the history of the Wallenberg-Pachaly palace provides fertile ground for speculations about its past. What did the walls hide? In the Polish society, conspiracy theories fulfil the role of media events. Lies disguised as assumptions become truths. A particularly important question in recent years has been one about what you believe in. The Amber Room is a symbol of a lost artwork and stolen national capital. Its history dates back to 1701, when Frederick I of Prussia ordered Gdańsk master craftsmen to produce the lavish interiors of the room. During WW2 the treasure got lost and has never been found. All we know is that in 1942 it was transported to the castle in Königsberg, and then the track is lost. The media regularly inform about progress in the search and present arguments concerning the ownership of the treasure. The real story has evolved into a legend and opens up an area for speculation, because all that is left is a single photograph. Now the spirit of the Amber Room haunts the Wallenberg-Pachaly palace. By putting on special goggles, the visitor is given the possibility to venture into virtual reality and look at the venue from the perspective of a dreamer or believer in conspiracy theories.
What you see is the Baltic amber, the Gold of the North, the treasure of the Polish nation. Lost, looted, perhaps it never actually existed? Virtual reality drags the guest into a game of truth. In the multi-dimensional dialogue with reality, the viewer can reflect on the fluid character of capital. Can the value of culture be expressed in numbers? How to valuate a lost treasure?”
photo: Wojciech Chrubasik