Battle of the Buddha
Jeffrey Wisniewski is an artist whose work becomes more relevant as news headlines shape the histories that describe society today. His art is not strictly political rather his work regularly employs objects linked to commodities, such as oil drums, corn, or solar panels which are a signature motif throughout his work. In past seminal works, Wisniewski sent an entire American colonial house through a wood chipper, in another project he dropped a one ton steel trough attached to a lace parachute out of an airplane. Weighty judgments do not feign the pretense of the serious in Wisniewski’s artmaking, rather he lets the story tell itself.
Like a portrait painter whose subject slips in and out of view, Wisniewski brings us context without a subject. In his sculptures, he leaves us with the shell of a person, the detritus of their personalities left behind in their clothing and their settings. It is a person who has dissolved into thin air subsumed and sublimated by his surroundings. They have surrendered their identities leaving us with memo references told by the residue of their accoutrements.
In Battle of the Buddha, Jeffrey Wisniewski creates a choreographed fight scene between good and evil Buddhas utilizing motion capture technology. The video begins with one levitating Buddha which then separates into one gold and one red who battle each other rolling half naked around an empty, starkly lit space. These are not beings that we wish to emulate and yet we recognize them with the same familiarity by which we know our own hands.
Wisniewski’s work uses the broad strokes of global fluctuations combined with a seamless utterance of art history, poetry and the media’s language of desperation. He tells us about ourselves giving us something to laugh about even as the world sinks deeper into its self-realized nightmares.
Jeffrey Wisniewski has gained international recognition through solo exhibitions including Artpace San Antonio, Texas (2009) Gallerie Rolf Ricke, Köln, Germany (2003); Gallerie Sima, Nürnberg, Germany (2003); David Zwirner, New York, New York (1995); Nordanstadt-Skarstedt (1992) and Centre d’Arte Contemporain, Theirs, France (1991). Wisniewski’s work has also been featured in numerous group exhibitions including Museum for Modern Art (MMK Frankfurt am Main), Frankfurt, Germany 2007); “Sweet Temptations,” Kunstverein St. Gallen Kunstmuseum, St. Gallen, Switzerland (2005); The Munster Project, Munster, Germany (1997) and “Ripple Across the Water”, The Watari Museum, (1995) Tokyo, Japan; “In Through the Out Door”: Almost 25 Different Things, PS 1 Institute for Contemporary Art, Long Island City, NY (1991). In 1997 Wisniewski was a recipient of the DAAD prize awarded by the German government.