Jerzy Lemon was a great visionary and humanitarian. Art served him to defend human dignity. This renaissance man was a social worker, activating various energies, and showed many talents. He had a childish curiosity about the world. His personal charm, erudition and elegance attracted people, artists, students and allies to the construction project of the Gdask Shakespeare Theater.
Basil Krsky is included in the GTS Book of Condolence / Photography by Jerzy Pinkas
For Jurek, the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theater was not only an institution that cultivated the tradition of theatrical art and supported its development, it was also a philosophical concept. There is a very clear theme of art in his thinking, which defends culture against instrumental use not only against human freedom, but also against any ideological exploitation. York expressed this thought in the following words: All attempts to seize people’s minds begin with an attack on the tongue. The indecisive is disgust, distortion and marginalization. And this is what the theater has always opposed. Theater is not just a building in which plays are performed. It is a space in which memory, its codecs, and its language are protected in a certain way. There you cannot pretend or cheat.
From the very beginning, his idea was well known and warmly supported by our mutual friend Andrzej Wajda. If I am tempted to point out a place for Jurik among those greats who have died, I will look for Wajda next door. They were both creators of art and citizens, creating their own businesses, and at the same time, a work space that others entered and felt very comfortable in. They impose nothing on anyone, invite him into a space of creative freedom, and rejoice in the successes of others. They were able to combine their artistic activities with supporting the development of other people’s talents. This is a very rare skill in our time – the time of narcissistic society.
Shakespeare’s theater – idea, place, and thing – was the work of Euric. Together with the European Solidarity Center (ECS), it is one of the most powerful architectural proposals and an ideological redefinition of the Gdansk historical space. Both buildings did not disturb anything, nor did they question the integrity of the historic center of the city, but became a symbol of a new phase of (rebuilding) Gdansk. Shakespeare’s theater and ECS have created a bridge between the past and the future in an ideal way – they are the harbingers of the future, but they serve the past and secure the continuity of memory. They are, for what they are, covering the loopholes that caused the devastation caused by the Third Reich, the war and then communism. It was Yurek’s accomplishments that created a great gift for our generation. The construction of the Shakespeare Theater closes the major phase of rebuilding the city after the fall of communism, which was Bowie Adamovich’s vision.
Shakespeare’s theater is a world stage and its deepest idea was, York. And in collaboration with the architect Renato Rizzi, he designed every detail and everything suitable for artists and viewers. It can be said that he brought out this structure as a great stage, where you can play not only Elizabethan drama, but every contemporary theatrical act in the world. The flexibility of this edifice, the openness of the stage, the ceiling that lends itself to stability in less than a minute – this is what he dreamed of at first and then realized. It is a global theater and the first completely from scratch to build a drama theater in Poland in 40 years! He could have invented it this way, because he was a genius expert in world theater, and at the same time a very modest, humble man in the theater art workshop. When I ask him who has found these wonderful productions from different parts of the world that are hosted in Shakespeare’s theater every year, he was a little surprised. I realize I was calling for probation officers. He himself was the curator of the rich program of Shakespeare Theater. At the time, not appreciating the versatility of its uses, I was stuck in the stereotype of an Elizabethan theater expert. He saw all contemporary European and continental shows long before they came to Gdansk.
Both our institution, the European Solidarity Center and the Gdask Shakespeare Theater, opened around the same time. We opened our activity on August 31, 2014, and Jurek opened the theater on September 19. This is what the fate of Gdansk wanted. First, we united through joint activities to spread two new cultural institutions, then programmatic cooperation, and finally friendship. Jurek supported me a lot, inspired me and invited me on an adventure with theater, language and art. I admired his commitment, spirit, and creation only of notable cultural events.
Jurek is no longer with us today, but two modern buildings speak of European Gdańsk. It is its wings and invites you to the city that at the beginning of the twenty-first century sealed the wounds of the disasters of the last century, and whose inhabitants feel that they are full citizens of Europe, in an ideological sense as well. This would not have been possible without Yurek and his charismatic personality. I think Professor Jerzy Lemmon will not be born anytime soon. York was the man of the century.
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