ul. M. Konopnickiej 26, 30-302 Kraków
tel. 0-12 267 27 03; 0-12 267 37 53 fax. 0-12 267 40 79
The exhibition Common Earth, authored by two female artists living
in France: Shigeko Hirakawa and Elisabeth Wierzbicka ‘Wela’, aims
to show the interaction of cultures, as well as convergence and
differences in the approach to the topic ‘man and the environment’.
Raising important environmental issues, such as energy, life, oxygen,
water, deforestation, etc. the artists point to the risk of changes in
ecosystems caused by human activities. Shigeko Hirakawa and Wela’s
creative attitudes and choice of themes confirm their common sense
of responsibility for the ecology of our planet.
The exhibition Common Earth is meant to provoke viewers to rethink
and hopefully change their approach to the environment.
Shigeko Hirakawa is a Japanese environmental artist, based in
Paris, France since 1983 and active internationally, in such countries
as Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Japan, the USA or
In early 2004 – shocked by the scale of air pollution – the artist
initiated her first environmental project Air in Peril. Its aim was to
highlight the role of trees and their activity in the photosynthetic
process – the Earth’s only system producing oxygen. The project,
involving such installations as Tree of Photosynthesis or Molecule
of Oxygen, was exhibited to much acclaim in France, Japan and the
In Krakow, Shigeko Hirakawa is showing her new installations as
well as documentary films and photographs referring to the Air in
Peril project. The artist hopes that her installations will contribute
to reflection on the problem of deforestation, and the title of the
exhibition, Common Earth, will turn our minds towards our planet,
in relation to which we have not only rights but also responsibilities
for the future.
Selected recent exhibitions: Jumièges – A ciel ouvert (Jumièges –
Open Air) (Seine-Maritime, 2013), exhibition at the Arts and Nature
Centre (Chaumont-sur-Loire, 2012), individual exhibition Forest of
Photosynthesis (Kanaz Forest of Creation, 2011), Habiter la Terre
(Inhabit the Earth) at the 5th International Biennial of Contemporary
Art (Melle, 2011), individual exhibition Rainbow of Humanity (Antony,
2010), Rouen impressionnée (Rouen, 2010), Artist File at the National
Art Centre (Tokyo, 2009).
Elżbieta Wierzbicka (art name ‘Wela’) is a Polish-French visual
and installation artist. In 1984–1989, she studied at the Academy
of Fine Arts in Krakow, completing her diploma project under
Professor Stanisław Wejman. Living and working in Paris, she has
shown her works in over 150 group and individual exhibitions in a
number of countries, among these: France, the United Kingdom,
Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Norway, Japan, the USA, Spain, and
Her artistic interventions, in the vein of contextual and
environmental art, are numerous and diverse, covering a wide
range of spectacular installations – from ones that radically affect
the order of the specific location to those that are difficult to
notice, practically blending into the environment.
Wela’s works make references to man’s relationship with nature,
memory, and identity. The artist’s approach is derived from
reflection on the multiple meanings of a work of art and the
metaphors that it carries, and also on the viewer’s subjective
perception of exhibited works.
Wela has completed over a dozen monumental public installations,
for such institutions as: Shangyuan Art Museum (Beijing, 2012);
Copernicus Science Centre (Warsaw, 2011); Futuroscope (Poitiers,
2009, 2011); Chateau Auvers-sur-Oise (2008); Luxembourg
Gardens (Paris, 2007); Viva Cité Street Art Festival (Sotteville-lès-
Rouen, 2006); European Sculpture Meeting (Montauban, 2005);
‘Aux Actes Citoyens’ theatre festival, (Tomblaine, 2005); Europos
Parkas Open-air Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
In the exhibition Common Earth, Wela is showing her installations
and objects commenting on the relations between modern man
and nature. The artist seeks to inspire viewers to reflect on the
importance of conservation of the natural environment.