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Wodiczko Will Direct CAVS

By Stacey E. Blau
Staff Reporter

Krzysztof Wodiczko was appointed director of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies last month. Wodiczko is internationally renowned for his work in image-projection creations relating to social issues.

"Professor Wodiczko is exactly the right person to lead CAVS as it breaks new ground in invigorating the exploration of the connections between art and technology," said Dean of the School of Architecture William J. Mitchell, who made the announcement on Aug. 31.

Wodiczko was appointed associate professor of architecture and will begin serving as CAVS director in February. He is currently at the ...cole de Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts in Paris preparing a retrospective exhibition for display in Warsaw.

Wodiczko is also traveling in Europe working on the Alien Staff Project, according to Christine C. De Metruis of Gallery Lelong, an art gallery in New York that Wodiczko is affiliated with.

Wodiczko is interviewing resident aliens in Finland, France, Poland, Spain, and Sweden about their experiences in their foreign countries. Videos of these interviews are then played on televisions atop staffs carried around city streets to solicit reactions from individuals who are interested in the videos. "It's the interaction that he is really aiming for," De Metruis said.

Gallery Lelong will be hosting an exhibition of Wodiczko's work in late spring.

Wodiczko has also had a number of solo exhibitions and public installations in both the United States and Europe, and will have another next year in Japan.

He has been a visiting professor at the California Institute of Arts, Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and the Institut des Hautes ...tudes en Plastiques in Paris.

Much of Wodiczko's work focuses on social issues, particularly homelessness. Homelessness "has been a recurring theme in Wodiczko's work since 1984, when he projected a padlock and chain on the Astor Building in New York City, home of the New Museum of Contemporary Art," said Peter Boswell, associate curator of the Walker Art Center and organizer of a recent Wodiczko exhibition at the Center. "The projection was inspired by the presence in the same neighborhood of empty [floors in the Astor Building] and homeless people."

Boswell described Wodiczko's projections as "shimmering, ephemeral displays of colored light. Typically, they use seductive means - monumental, even threatening forms cast in radiant, immaterial hues - to convey unsettlingly elusive images relating to concrete social issues."

Boswell attributed the theme of homelessness in Wodiczko's installations to his "status as a displaced person a perpetual outsider." He described Wodiczko as a cultural refugee from Poland.

He has been "living as a resident alien since 1977, first in Canada, then in the United States. In addition, his work has kept him continually in transit."

Wodiczko will be succeeding Professor of Architecture Emeritus Otto Piene, who retired in September 1993 after his 20-year stint as CAVS director. Piene is famous for "his huge inflatable stunning sky sculptures," said Mary L. Haller, director of arts communication for the Office of the Arts.

Piene created sculptures of starbursts for the 750-year celebration of the city of Berlin.

Paul L. Earls, who works on music-modulated laser installations and events at CAVS, and Elizabeth Goldring, exhibits and projects director of CAVS, will act as directors of CAVS until Wodiczko returns in February.