«A medieval massacre of a modern art object» or a defense of Lviv’s aura?: Mozart Jr statue debate rages on

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If the deputies support the petition at the session 25 November, they must develop a plan for dismantling the monument within the month.
Photo by Daria Kucher for Tvoe Misto

Photo by Daria Kucher for Tvoe Misto

On Thursday 25 November, at the regular session of the Lviv City Council, deputies will consider a petition to dismantle the monument to Franz Xaver Mozart, which was erected in August on Yevhen Malanyuk Square in Lviv.

The statue was unveiled on Eugene Malaniuk Square in the city center 26 August to commemorate 230 years since the birth of the Austrian composer, the youngest son of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Franz Xaver, who lived and worked in Lviv. This sculpture was created by Austrian artist Sebastian Schweikert in the suburbs of Salzburg.

The work of art caused some consternation in the public, and Lviv artist Natalia Krynychanka registered the petition to dismantle it. She demanded to reconsider the legality of the installation of the sculpture and dismantle it, because it «distorts the historical and artistic space of Lviv.» In October, the petition garnered the required 500 votes of support. Thus now, the deputies of the Lviv City Council have to consider it at the meeting tomorrow. They may decide either to support or reject it.

Read also: Mozart’s son lived in Lviv; now he’s back as a statue

If the deputies support the appeal, they must develop a plan for its implementation within a month, namely to dismantle the monument.

Among those who opposed the dismantling is conductor Oksana Lyniv, the initiator of the monument’s construction in Lviv. She hopes that Lviv will not allow «a medieval massacre of a modern art object.» In addition, the leading German media of classical music CRESCENDO published material against the dismantling of this sculpture. 

Meanwhile, the petitioner Natalia Krynychanka says such materials create pressure on the City Council deputies. 

Lviv Now asked deputies from the Lviv faction how they would vote on Thursday. Petro Adamyk, the head of the largest faction «European Solidarity» responds that there is no single decision of the faction, deputies will vote according to their conscience.

«I do not think that this is such an important issue that the faction needs to decide. Everyone will decide how to vote, I don’t make politics out of it, it’s a matter of personal vision of aesthetics. I am for dismantling the monument and transferring it to the Museum of Contemporary Art. But there is already pressure on those who support the petition. We, those who will vote to take the statue to the museum, will be perceived as retrogrades,» – he said.

Victoria Dovzhyk, the head of the second-largest faction of the Lviv City Council, «Samopomich», says they will soon consult on this decision at a meeting of the faction. However, she is against the dismantling of the monument. At the same time, the head of the «Warta» faction in the Lviv City Council, Yuriy Martyniuk, also says that there is no single position of their political force on this issue. He also has not made a final decision about his vote yet.

Read also: Xaver Mozart statue has evoked outrage among Lviv residents. The sculptor explains his perspective

«I will not say that I understand art, I do not share the admiration of those people who say that this is a genius work of art and its place in this area. I have not decided yet, but I am inclined to support this petition,» – he said.

The head of the faction «Holos», Vitaliy Trots, adds that his colleagues will not support the dismantling of the monument.

«There is no decision of the faction yet, but we will not support dismantling beforehand. Art is such that if you do not understand it today, it does not mean that it will not become relevant tomorrow,» – said the deputy.

Lviv Now is also waiting for answers from the head of the «Svoboda» faction Ruslan Koshulynsky.

After an active discussion of the sculpture of Franz Xaver Mozart in Lviv on Malanyuk Square, Lviv Now held a public discussion on the topic: «Why did the erection of a monument to Mozart Jr. in Lviv cause a scandal?».

Iryna Podoliak, a former Deputy Minister of Culture and former City Council official, believes that this is a voluntary gesture that has nothing to do with a democratic society. Instead, the chief architect of Lviv, Anton Kolomeytsev, asserts that all procedural points have been complied with and that the procedure for erecting monuments does not involve public discussion. According to him, the project was approved by the Department of Architecture and Historic Environment after the approval of the executive committee, and then the Galician administration gave permission for the improvement of landscaping.

The sculptor, Sebastian Schweikert, explained previously his artistic vision:

​​»Franz Xaver Mozart was the son of a brilliant composer and conductor – Amadeus Mozart. We see him staying in the shadows throughout all his life. Everyone respected him as the son of a genius, but not as an individual. In my sculpture, I put a little boy who wore his father’s wig, which was too big for him. At first glance, it looks bizarre, but if you look under it, inside – you will see Xaver Mozart himself. You will see his eyes, cheeks, the real him.»

Victoria Savitska

By Vitalii Holich

You can read a Ukrainian language version of this story here.

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