Greetings from Jerusalem, 2002-ongoing
Conceived as ‘a social experiment’, an imitation of a 15 metre-high palm tree was installed in the middle of a busy roundabout at the junction of Aleje Jerozolimskie (Jerusalem Avenue) and Nowy Świat in Warsaw.
The project originated from the artist’s visit to Israel, during the outburst of second Intifada. It made her realize the void left by the absence of the Jewish community in Poland and the significance of the history and etymology of Aleje Jerozolimskie to Warsaw identity. By adding an almost surreally alien element, a palm tree common in the Middle East, in the spot that previously served as a location for a Christmas tree, the artist highlighted and challenged the invisibility of the street’s name.
As the Polish expression ‘hit by a palm tree’ refers to something unthinkable, a behaviour that verges on being silly, even idiotic, the project thus embodies substantial humour and irony, which saves it from linear reading and suggests something that escapes palpable understanding.
A major element in the scenography for a 24-hour street spectacle, the palm tree undermines and deconstructs situations occurring within its visual reach. 10 years of project’s existence generated a series of political events, performances and happenings under the palm tree. It became an unofficial symbol of Warsaw.