„Public Home“ is an investigation of a non-existent property and an exploration of what defines personal space. Gaby Steiner`s work raises questions about how fast urban districts should or should not change and if the separation of private and public in society is still a valise concept. With her project she intends to force discussions about pursuits of security, and questions of ownership and personal autonomy. This book project circles around a man who is homeless on this own property. His house was demolished by the New York City housing officials due to safety issues as it was about to collapse. Since then Jerzy`s property is defined as vacant land by the Department of Building in Brooklyn. Jerzy Sulek, who came to NYC in the 1970s as a trained architect is the personification of the paradox of public exposure and visibility alongside loneliness and isolation in society. His private life is public to everybody passing by. This situation is a symbol to the precarious human conditions in contemporary urban life. Over several years Gaby Steiner has crafted a portrait of Jerzy`s life and was witness to seasonal transformations of his property, examined visual processes of the disintegration of his few belongings exposed to the changing weather conditions. Jerzy managed to keep a structured lifestyle with a precise daily schedule which contains reading, writing, exercising and doing architectural work. This project illustrates the eternal conflict of balance between order and disorder.
Once in the summer we went out for dinner. The restaurant had outside seating. Jerzy said “I dont want to be outside in the open air!” – Gaby Steiner