Filmoteka Muzeum

Documentation of the exhibition presented at the Polish Pavilion during the 53rd Venice Biennale.

For the 2009 Venice Biennale, Wodiczko presented a work that explored the concept of the Other, focusing particular attention on the situation of immigrants. During this presentation multiple projections on the interior walls of the pavilion created the illusion of translucent windows. From behind these windows, shadows were visible, the voices of the immigrants washing the windows proximate. The immigrants enjoy a moment of rest, sharing their problems with the audience.

Although an impression is created that the people behind these illusionary windows are proximate to the audience, the translucent windows blur their figures, illustrating, metaphorically, their social invisibility and a complicated “guest” status. The curator of the exhibition, Bożena Czubak has written of the work: “In Wodiczko’s screening (...) it’s about the visibility of the invisible, about vision itself, as well as, inevitably, a lack of vision. On the one hand, the immigrants behind the windows, their faces fade against the opaque image, whilst, on the other hand, they are unable to see those who look at them”.

In earlier projections, Wodiczko repeatedly draws attention to the problems people excluded from social space encounter. Presenting their voices and images on the exterior of prestigious buildings all around the world – like in the projection Sans Papiers dedicated to immigrants and presented in the Kunstmuseum in Basel in 2006 – the artist often engages with the symbolic message of architecture, disrupting the form’s language and unmasking how architecture, as a medium of power, exerts political control. Although in this instance the intervention concerned the building’s interior, it can be considered as analogous to the artist's previous work; a direct challenge to both the Polish Pavilion and the Giardini as areas of social exclusion.

Description based on: B. Czubak, Goście, [in:] Krzysztof Wodiczko. Goście, kat. wyst. w Pawilonie Polskim na 53. Biennale Sztuki w Wenecji, Warszawa 2009; B. Czubak, Sztuka domeny publicznej, [in:] Krzysztof Wodiczko. Sztuka domeny publicznej, ed. B. Czubak, Warsaw 2011.

Year: 2009
Duration: 12'40"
Language: Polish (english subtitles)
Source: HD video

© Krzysztof Wodiczko

Acquisition date: Jul 18, 2012
Acquisition: deposit
Ownership form: deposit