Krzysztof Wodiczko: Zacheta National Gallery of Art

By Bartelik, Marek | Artforum International, May 2006 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Krzysztof Wodiczko: Zacheta National Gallery of Art


Bartelik, Marek, Artforum International


As Krzysztof Wodiczko well knows, Poland's history abounds in traumatic events. One such occurred on December 16, 1922, when Eligiusz Niewiadomski, a conservative artist and critic, assassinated Gabriel Narutowicz, the first democratically elected president of Poland, in the Zacheta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw. Wodiczko considers this event a significant moment not only for the history of the gallery--a national monument and the host to this exhibition--but also for that of the nation. "The history of memorials," Wodiczko argues, "is the history of the machines that only help bad things happen again," and he uses such monuments against themselves as screens on to which he can project his warning images.

This exhibition, "Pomnikoterapia" (Monument Therapy), had two parts: a site-specific projection on the main facade of the Zacheta and selected documentation of other projects from around the world, along with a presentation of this most important Polish artist's well-known "instruments"--for example, The Mouthpiece, 1994, or Dis-armor, 2000, high-tech contraptions equipped with sensitive cameras and monitors, which enable those carrying them to observe while being observed, and thus reverse the dynamics of the Panopticon.

Warsaw Projection, 2005, addressed the abuse of women in Poland, which is usually kept hidden as a "private matter" rather than dealt with as a serious problem. Thus, what normally remains in darkness was brought into the light; the secret was made public. Yet the message was delivered with a certain ambiguity (including humor)--a mode of presentation that could be seen as a form of Brechtian Verfremdungseffekt, or an effect of deliberate estrangement. Revealing his sensitivity in dealing with the pain of others by giving compelling visual form to their deep emotions, Wodiczko nevertheless avoided providing a consistent and continuous account of human suffering, leaving room for individual stories to be told in all their complexity by the Polish women themselves.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Krzysztof Wodiczko: Zacheta National Gallery of Art
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?