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Joanna Rajkowska

The Hatchling, 2019

Mixed media (acrylic plaster, sound equipment, paint) 180 x 240 x 180 cm

The Hatchling is a large-scale replica of the egg of a blackbird (Turdus merula), one of Britain’s most common birds, known for its well-liked song and distinctive blue-green coloured brown-speckled eggs. From inside the sculpture, sounds of hatching chicks can be heard, recorded by ornithologists with a microphone. The whole egg acts as a speaker, inviting visitors to touch and listen carefully to the beginning of new, fragile and defenceless life. In winter, British blackbirds are joined by large numbers of migrants from Europe, mainly Scandinavia, the Baltic States, Russia and Germany. The sculpture reminds us of the many birds that live with us in cities – something we tend to forget. The Hatchling is a reminder of the fragility of the natural environment, the survival of which determines our own existence. 

©Joanna Rajkowska, courtesy l’étrangère
Sound for The Hatchling was composed by Suavas Lewy.


Joanna Rajkowska (b. 1968, Bydgoszcz, Poland) studied History of Art at the Jagiellonian University, Kraków (1988-92), Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts, Kraków (1992-93) and participated in the Studio Semester Programme at the State University of New York (1994-95).

Rajkowska works with objects, film and photography but is best known for her works in public space, which include performative and participatory projects and installations. Her critically engaged approach is borne out of a conviction that we, as humans, have failed to produce a viable, sustainable culture and she often uses the lives of non-human species to confront historical and socio-political issues.

Rajkowska has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally. Her public projects include commissions by United Nations Environment Programme (Poland, 2019), Frieze Projects (London, 2012), 7th Berlin Biennale (Germany, 2012), The Showroom (London, 2010), Arts Council Turkey (2010), Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (Poland, 2009) and several projects by the Centre of Contemporary Art Zamek Ujazdowski, Warsaw, Poland (between 2000 and 2019), including the iconic Greetings from Jerusalem Avenue, a permanent installation in the centre of Warsaw (2002). The Hatchling was presented at Frieze Sculpture London 2019. Rajkowska lives and works in Warsaw and London.

1: Vassilis Skopelitis
2: Charlotte Booth
3: Charlotte Booth

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