I first learned of Krzysztof Wodiczko and his work when he came to speak at the MFA. A friend and I escaped the Museum School during our lunch break to hear him talk. At the time (I think it was the middle of junior year), I was having serious doubts (again) about art’s ability to make an impact on people at all and whether I would be able to do anything meaningful or relevant to society as an artist. Seeing Wodiczko’s work helped mitigate these doubts a great deal, if not put a decisive end to them.
Polish-born artist Krzysztof Wodiczko is best known for his large-scale video projections of everyday people onto monuments and other public edifices. These projections often portray these ordinary volunteers candidly telling stories of their lives and experiences, usually centered around painful ordeal or personal suffering. His work has been installed and shown in public spaces in over a dozen countries, ranging from the town squares of authoritarian governments to right here on our National Mall in D.C. Wodiczko also designs technological devices or machines worn on the body that help construct situations in which people can share their personal stories with others.
Nearly all of Wodiczko’s work follows a socio-political theme. For instance, in his monumental projections work, he chooses to film people whose lives have intersected with war, conflict, homelessness, social inequity, gang violence. In all these works, the melding of private and public spheres is immediately obvious.