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Krzysztof Wodiczko


  • born in 1943 in Warsaw, Poland
  • immigrated to Guelph, Ontario in 1977
  • M.F.A., Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw, Poland (1962-1968)

At the beginning of his artistic career Krzysztof Wodiczko pursued a kind of art work that involved the projection of images onto gallery walls, working with the particular architecture of the venue. Settling in New York City in 1983, his art eventually took the form of large-scale projections, usually onto major public buildings, with a very specific political comment in mind. His works have involved projections in over a dozen countries, and have included a three-piece corporate suit onto the Bank of Montréal Tower in Halifax, Nova Scotia (1981), a nuclear missile onto a nineteenth-century columnar military tribute in Stuttgart, West Germany (1983), a Swastika on the South African Embassy in London, England (1985), and a gigantic eye projected onto the pediment of the Swiss Parliament building in Bern (1985). Commenting on this kind of work he wrote: "Only physical, public projection of the myth on the physical body of the myth (projection of myth on myth) can successfully demythify the myth. The look, the appearance, the costume, the mask of the building is the most valuable and expensive investment. In the power discourse of the "public" domain, the architectural form is the most secret and protected property. Public Projection involves questioning both the function and the ownership of this property" (1983). Wodiczko has also taken his art into galleries, and collaborated on public intervention pieces such as an exhibition with Jana Sterbak called The Homeless Projection: A Proposal for the City of New York (1986). This involved reflecting images of the homeless onto public buildings, echoing the reality of homeless life on an enormous scale by placing people back onto the architecture that defines their space every day. In 1988 Wodiczko created the Homeless Vehicle, a mobile shelter based on a shopping cart. He created two pieces concerned with the issue of immigration and communication, in 1992 devising Alien Staff, and in 1994, Mouthpiece. Mouthpiece was a work that fit onto a person's mouth and spouted pre-recorded speech, denying the real act of communication to the wearer. In Alien Staff, the artist created a kind of walking stick, to be carried by the immigrant, which is also a clear container housing valuable papers such as work visas, green cards, etc. Both of these works are part of an ongoing exploration of the immigrant experience, and were shown together in 1997 as Xenology: Immigrant Instruments 1992-1996. Wodiczko has also worked with immigrant teens, interviewing groups in Canadian schools in preparation for his participation in Calgary's ArtWeek '97. As well as commenting on the nature of government and various political regimes, Wodiczko also uses these pieces to address the issue of public art versus private art. He has written extensively on these concerns in magazines such as Assemblage, October, Dia Foundation, Discussions on Contemporary Culture, and Canadian Journal of Political and Social Theory. Wodiczko taught at the Warsaw Polytechnic until 1977, when he emigrated to Canada and at the University of Guelph (1977), the Ontario College of Art in Toronto (1979), and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Nova Scotia (1977-81). In 1991 he began teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, and since 1994 has been the Director of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies there.



1996 Xenology: Immigrant Instruments
Galerie Lelong, New York, New York


1992-89 Galerie Gabrielle Maubrie, Paris, France


1991 Josh Baer Gallery, New York, New York


1990-89 Exit Art, New York, New York (travelling)


1988 Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.

Clocktower, New York, New York


1986 49th Parallel, New York, New York


1985 Public Projections
Canada House Cultural Centre Gallery, London, England

Ydessa Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario


1984-77 Hal Bromm Gallery, New York, New York


1983 Ydessa Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1982 South Australian School of Art, Adelaide, Australia


1981 Eye Level Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Franklin Furnace, New York, New York


1978 Installation
Artist's Space Gallery, New York, New York

Hal Bromm Gallery, New York, New York


1977-73 References
Foksal Gallery, Warsaw, Poland;
PSI Institute for Art and Urban Resources, New York, New York


1977 Lines on Culture
York University, Toronto, Ontario

Lines on Art
Hal Bromm Gallery, New York, New York

Artist Space Gallery, New York, New York


1976 Drawings of Lines
Artist Space Gallery, New York, New York; Gallery Vehicule, Montréal, Québec


1975 Ladder
Gallery Akumlatory 2, Poznan, Poland

Retrospective Exhibition
University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois

Show of Selected Works
N.A.M.E. Gallery, Chicago, Illinois


1972 Passage
Gallery Wspolczesna, Warsaw, Poland



1995 Setagaya Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan; National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan; Museum of Modern Art, Saporo, Okaido (travelling)

Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland


1994 Kulturhuset, Stockholm, Sweden

Kunstmuseum, Bonn, Germany


1994-93 Museum of Fine Arts and Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Massachusetts


1993 Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark

Biénnale d'art contemporain
Lyon, France


1993-83 New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, New York

Centre G. Pompidou, Paris, France


1992 Musée d'art contemporain, Montréal, Québec

Musée d'art contemporain and E.L.A.C., Lyon, France


1991 Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California

Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana


1991-87 Exit Art, New York, New York


1990-86 John Weber Gallery, New York, New York


1990 Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

DAAD, Berlin, Germany


1989 Whitney Museum, New York, New York


1988 Edinburgh Festival
Edinburgh, Scotland


1986 Jana Sterbak, Krzysztof Wodiczko
49th Parallel, New York, New York; Nexus Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, Georgia (travelling)

Venice Biennale
Venice, Italy


1986-85 CIAC
Montréal, Québec


1985 Kunstmuseum, Bern, Switzerland

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

El Bohio, New York, New York


1985-67 Sao Paulo Biennale
Sao Paulo, Brazil


1984 Canada/New York
49th Parallel, New York, New York

Tower Gallery, New York, New York


1983 Artists from Canada
Kunstverein, Stuttgart, Germany

Présences polonaises
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France


1982-79 Sidney Biennale
Sidney, Australia


1977 Moving
Hal Bromm Gallery, New York, New York

Documenta 6
Kassel, Germany


1975-69 Paris Biennale
Paris, France



Borsa, Joan. "Krzysztof Wodiczko: Power and ideology." Vanguard 12 (November 1983): 14-17.

Grenville, Bruce. "Public art." Canadian Art 9, no. 3 (Fall 1992): 19.

Halle, Howard. "Alien nation: Immigrant sagas with a millennial twist." Time Out New York Issue 28 (3-10 April 1996): 24.

Horne, Stephen. "Krzysztof Wodiczko: Grand parade memorial projection." Vanguard 14 (November 1985): 30.

Howell, John. "Krzysztof Wodiczko." Artforum 23 (March 1985): 99-100.

Monk, Philip. "Krzysztof Wodiczko." Parachute 32 (September/October/November 1983): 45-46.

Review. New York Magazine (22 April 1996): 57.

Rogers, Steve. "Territories 2: Superimposing the city." Performance no. 36 (August/September 1985): 37-38.

Wodiczko, Krzysztof. Art Public, Art Critique. Paris, France: École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, 1995.

---. "Assemblage." Center for Advanced Visual Studies, MIT no. 23 (1995): n.p.

---. "Public Projections." Canadian Journal of Political and Social Theory 7 (Winter/Spring 1983): 184-188.


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