Krzysztof Wodiczko and Jarosław Kozakiewicz Disarming Culture. Józef Rotblat Institute for Disarmament of Culture and Abolition of War Project
06.10 – 27.11.2016 Krzysztof Wodiczko and Jarosław Kozakiewicz Disarming Culture. Józef Rotblat Institute for Disarmament of Culture and Abolition of War Project
Zachęta – National Gallery of Art
collaboration on the part of Zachęta: Julia Leopold
Disarming Culture is a project which aims to initiate a debate on the need to reformulate the ways of thinking about history and memory. Krzysztof Wodiczko and Jarosław Kozakiewicz propose to develop the idea of the Józef Rotblat Institute for Disarmament of Culture and Abolition of War — a space which would become a symbolic challenge for the culture of war, still sustained in collective memory.
The project includes both an architectural vision, and a multidimensional analysis of the tradition of art’s involvement in the glorification of war. The starting point is an iconographic study of war monuments, memorials reflecting ideologies, according to which history is seen solely in terms of struggles, victories and defeats. The artists propose to look at the ‘armament’ of contemporary culture in its various forms — from art to pop culture, offering military gadgets and war games for children.
The idea behind the Centre is to create an Eastern European equivalent of the project of transforming the Arc de Triomphe in Paris into the World Institute for Abolition of Wars (2010), presented by Krzysztof Wodiczko in the form of an architectural construction surrounding the Parisian monument. The Warsaw project is situated on the Saxon Axis — in the vicinity of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as a key place for shaping the collective memory of Poles.
The project by Wodiczko and Kozakiewicz is a ‘non-war’ monument, its structure voking the idea of openness and pluralism. Instead of closing memory in a symbolic form, the artists propose an architectural vision of a space enabling to work through the past, a space for discussion on cultural and historical narratives — both rooted and contemporary.
Krzysztof Wodiczko (b. 1943 in Warsaw). Studied industrial design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Since 1994, he has been associated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was, among others, director of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies. Currently, he teaches at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. He lives in New York. Initially he created objects, the most significant being the Personal Instrument (1969) picking up sounds from the surroundings through special gloves, Vehicle, a platform on wheels driven by the movement of a person walking on it, and Ladder, a foreshortening of spatial perspective breaking the rules of illusion. After leaving Poland, the artist's works gained a pro-social dimension. Creating further objects, he spoke up for excluded groups: the homeless, immigrants, victims of war and of violence. Some famous works were created at that time, such as the Homeless Vehicle (1989), Alien Staff (1992) and Mouthpiece (Porte-parole) (1994). Wodiczko dealt with problems of victims and threats of war in numerous projections on monuments and facades of well-known public buildings, including the front of the Zachęta gallery in 2005, where he let women — victims of violence — speak. In 1998 Wodiczko was a recipient of the 4th Hiroshima Art Prize for “…honoring the achievements of artists who have contributed most to the peace of all humankind in the field of contemporary art”. In 2009 he represented Poland at the 53rd Venice Biennale with the exhibition Guests speaking about the lot of immigrants. The involvement of the artist in anti-war themes is epitomised in his project of the World Institute for the Abolition of War (2010) — a structure surrounding Arc de Triomphe in Paris. He is also co-author of the Monument to the Abolition of Slavery in Nantes (2012). In 2012, his book The Abolition of War (Polish edition: Obalenie wojen, Kraków: MOCAK, 2013) was released.
Jarosław Kozakiewicz (b. 1961) is an artist working at the junction of art, science and architecture. A graduate of the sculpture department at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts and Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York. Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Kozakiewicz’s artistic and architectural projects are inspired by contemporary ecology, genetics, physics, astronomy and ancient cosmological concepts in search of cross-references between the microand macrocosm. Aware of the analogy between the human body and the natural world, he challenges the anthropometric nature of the Vitruvian Man as the traditional paradigm for architecture and instead proposes an organic paradigm, ‘interior geometry’, where space is determined by the lines connecting the orifices of the body responsible for vital functions. The artist’s quests resulted in, i.a. utopian and critical projects in the field of architecture, urban planning, land art. Some of them were awarded in prestigious architectural competitions, among others for the design of the Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu in Toruń (2004) and the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (2007). In 2005, his project won the international competition for the Reconciliation Park in the vicinity of the Museum in Auschwitz-Birkenau, and in 2007 his Project Mars was completed — many hectares of earthen sculpture, transforming the landscape of the lignite mines around the lake Baerwald in Germany. Other projects are often Utopian solutions for environmental problems, symbolic spatial planning (Transfer, 2006) or architecture (Oxygen Towers, 2005). In 2006, Kozakiewicz represented Poland at the 10th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice.
Teaser Disarming Culture was made as a part of the Zgromadzenie. Sztuka Wspólnoty [Gatherings. Community Art] Festival, organised by Nowy Theatre in collaboration with Dramatyczny Theatre
Artists' works in the Zachęta collection
Krzysztof Wodiczko and Jarosław Kozakiewicz
Disarming Culture. Józef Rotblat Institute for Disarmament of Culture and Abolition of War Project
06.10 – 27.11.2016
Zachęta – National Gallery of Art
pl. Małachowskiego 3, 00-916 Warsaw
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Thursday – free entry
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