Chopin between the Earth and Sky

14. 02. 2023

The existing Chopin passageway leads from the Plečnik passageway to the entrance to the underground car park beneath Kongresni trg (Congress Square). After ten years it has turned out that placing a bronze bust of the composer and virtuoso Frédéric Chopin – the work of one of Poland’s most esteemed sculptors, Adam Roman, and a gift from Poland on the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries – in a dark, rarely frequented, and unattractive passageway, was not a good decision. The arrangement of the platform in front of the entrance to the new Šumi Centre offers a unique opportunity to relocate Chopin’s statue there, on a new pedestal, and in a carefully chosen location. The proposal to relocate the statue was made last year by HE Krzysztof Olendzki, the Polish Ambassador, and Darko Brlek, the Artistic and General Director of the Ljubljana Festival. The commission for the erection of monuments also expressed its support for the initiative. According to a meticulous study of the memorial’s relocation – prepared in several variants by the architect Samo Groleger – the composer’s bust will stand on a specially designed half-pillar, visible from the Kazina building, Slovenska cesta and the passage from Trg Republike (Republic Square). It will be accompanied by a specially designed bench on a new pavement. The monument commission also agrees with the proposal to place the bust in the background of Plečnik’s layout of Kongresni trg.

In addition, and in the atrium next to the new platform, the abandoned Emonska vrata gallery (formerly the Bukvarna second-hand bookshop) will be converted into an information point for the promotion of Slovenian archaeology.

The relocation of the Chopin monument is also linked to the memory of Emil Korytko, a Polish political activist, linguist, poet and collector of Slovenian folk songs, who lived in exile in Ljubljana until his death in 1839. Korytko was culturally active in the nearby Kazina palace, which has recently become the new home of the Academy of Music. The new location of the composer and pianist’s bust has thus also acquired both historical and symbolic significance. We plan to relocate Chopin’s bust by 1 March, the 213th anniversary of the composer’s birth.  

Janez Koželj,
Deputy Mayor of the City of Ljubljana