Creator of ‘Sisyphus Stones’ Says His Odyssey is Over

Photo by Marianne Hettinger.

Uliks Gryka, the artist who has been building a series of stone sculptures along the edge of the Hudson River since last year, said he was stopping his project earlier this month.

Gryka, who was born in Albania but immigrated to the U.S. about a decade ago when he was in his mid-20’s, has been balancing large stones on top of each other, creating sculptures that almost resemble human figures in clusters along the river. He started the project on August 6, 2017, according to radio station PRI.

The work was first noticed by West Side Rag readers, who sent in photos last August. Gryka eventually got national and even international attention for the work. His work was dubbed the “Sisyphus Stones,” because it was often knocked down or disassembled by other people, forcing Gryka to reassemble the stones.

PRI says that Gryka planned to stop after August 6, the one year anniversary.

But in the end, Gryka decided to end the project on its one-year anniversary. At first he said he’d level it himself — to leave the place as he’d found it. But as the date neared, he said, “I’ve spoken to many people about the idea, and many people are like ‘You don’t have to do that. Like you literally don’t do it. Because you are going to, that is going to be very violent.’”

So, he decided he’d simply walk away and let nature take its course.

A filmmaker named Boris Berlin is now planning to make a documentary about Gryka, and put the short film below on YouTube.

ART, NEWS, OUTDOORS | 14 comments | permalink
    1. Jen says:

      It looks interesting but isn’t it dangerous to have unstable rock sculptures in public parks? A child can run to it and be hurt if it crumbles.

      • C says:

        Yeah we should also ban rocks, beaches, and literally anything else made of matter so we can save Jen’s unsupervised children.

        • Jen says:

          I will just use the leash on the kids so they are “supervised” according to childless ignorants.

          • Dissident says:

            I will just use the leash on the kids so they are “supervised” according to childless ignorants.

            Good rejoinder.

            I wonder, though, will you literally put your children on a leash? Or only figuratively do so?

        • Dissident says:

          the stone sculptures are literally on the bank of the Hudson River.

          As opposed to being only figuratively on the river bank?

      • jbucko says:

        First of all, the stone sculptures are literally on the bank of the Hudson River and no child should be playing unsupervised that close to the water. Secondly, they are beautiful works of art and parents should respect that on behalf of any child young enough to get near them and not understand their purpose. [face plants head in hands]

      • Joe says:

        Meh. Children heal quickly.

    2. wombatNYC says:

      Please don’t retire. We want more of this project

    3. dannyboy says:

      His stone statues are quite beautiful. I find nothing futile in them. Like any art, they are of course impermanent. But art’s beauty draws us to the permanent.

    4. sturosen says:

      The first time I saw these I was amazed. I still am, even though I have seen them dozens of times. I was fortunate to actually witness the artist constructing them. They well could be the most amazing public art installation in NYC. They can only be appreciated in person.

    5. geoff says:

      Beautiful they are and popular too. Similar structures, in many sizes, some huge, have been built for decades on shorelines world wide. Has nobody seen them in their travels? Seaside, riverside, lakeside everywhere they are ubiquitous.

      Look at this link for photos:

      And of course the grandaddy of all Canada’s Innuit north is home to many Inukshuks centuries old and as awe inspiring as stonehenge.

      Of course, they stand because they are stable. Until they are made stable, they will fall over.

    6. Fay Barrows says:

      beautiful visuals and wonderful music. the sculptures – are they man made or natural.

    7. Ira Gershenhorn says:

      Eye candy vs. something real. NYers prefer eye candy. Very depressing. Art vs. beaches. NYers will choose Art. Convenience vs. life. NYers prefer convenience. It goes on and on. News vs. spectacle. NYers prefer spectacle.

    8. Amala says:

      I like it when you let us just enjoy directly the power and beauty of the stone sculptures. Think about that – just from one filmmaker to another. Keep it simple, clear and on the same level as the art work itself.