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Krzysztof Wodiczko, The Veterans Project, 2009 © Krzysztof Wodiczko. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Lelong, New York.
The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston
with generous support from
the Polish Cultural Institute in New York


Wednesday, November 4, 2009 - Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wednesday, November 11, 6:30 PM
Krzysztof Wodiczko in Conversation with U.S. Veterans

The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)
100 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA
Admission: $15; students and seniors: $10; members and youth under 17: free; 5-9 PM every Thursday: free Tel: 617.478.3100
Hours: Tue-Wed 10-5, Thu-Fri 10-9, Sat-Sun 10-5

Only those who went through this experience of war can understand what really happens in this situation. But at least perhaps through the exhibition we come to understand how little we understand. - Krzysztof Wodiczko

Krzysztof Wodiczko's politically-charged work explores the relationship between art, democracy, human rights, violence, trauma, and healing; over the past three decades he has created over 80 large-cale public projections around the world. In these works, he transforms the stories, voices, and gestures of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances by projecting them onto public monuments and landmarks.

Since 2008, Wodiczko has been exploring the stories and experiences of veterans: The Veteran Vehicle Project (2008) and War Veteran Vehicle (2009) illustrate the complexity of social reintegration for returning soldiers through projections of their words and recordings of their testimonies. Veterans' Flame (2009), in which a projection of a flickering candle moves in sync with the sound of veterans telling their stories, was exhibited on Governor's Island in summer 2009 as part of Creative Time's first public art quadrennial, PLOT.

In this new, projection-based work for the ICA, Wodiczko advances this project by focusing on the narrated experiences of both soldiers engaged in active combat in Iraq and Iraqi civilians, looking at their shared experience of the chaos and confusion that war brings. Significantly, the artist has expanded our notion of the word "veteran" in his work, employing the term to encompass civilian survivors of war as well as military personnel. Additionally, in the new work for the ICA, instead of recordings of the participants' voices, Wodniczko for the first time integrates his own conversations with soldiers and civilians into a dramatic narrative representing their collective memories of the experience of war. "Through multiple projections and audio, The Veterans Project re-creates the ambiguity of war conditions inside the ICA gallery, bringing us closer to understanding the physical realities of war as well as its emotional and psychological impact," says Randi Hopkins, associate curator at the ICA. "Resembling a warehouse or military shelter, the gallery walls appear pierced or broken. What is happening outside is very near, very threatening, yet only partly understood."

Krzysztof Wodiczko was born in 1943 in Warsaw, Poland. He currently lives and works in Cambridge, MA and New York City. Since 1980, he has created more than 80 pioneering large-scale slide and video projections of politically-charged images on architectural façades and monuments worldwide. Wodiczko heads the Interrogative Design Group and is Director of the Center for Art, Culture, and Technology, formerly known as the Center for Advanced Visual Studies, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His work has appeared in many international exhibitions, including the Sao Paulo Biennale (1965, 1967, 1985); Documenta (1977, 1987); the Venice Biennale (1986, 2000); and the Whitney Biennial (2000), and is currently on view representing Poland this year in the national pavilion at the 53rd Annual Venice Biennale. He has had retrospective exhibitions at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Fundacio Tapies, Barcelona; and the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford. Wodiczko received the 1999 Hiroshima Art Prize for his contribution as an artist to world peace, and the 2004 College Art Association Award for Distinguished Body of Work.

The Veterans Project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

The Veterans Project is also made possible through the support of the Nimoy Foundation, LEF New England, Artists Resource Trust of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Galerie Lelong, and the Polish Cultural Institute in New York.

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