The Abolition of War

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War Veteran Vehicle, 2009 Liverpool © Krzysztof Wodiczko. Photography courtesy Robert Ochshorn.
The Abolition of War

10a Acton St
London WC1X 9NG
United Kingdom
October 19th, 2011 - January 14th, 2012

fitzrovia, bloomsbury
0207 713 5097
Wednesday - Saturday 12.00 - 5.30
political art, documentary mixed-media video-art, conceptual


WORK is pleased to present The Abolition of War, a new solo exhibition by Krzysztof Wodiczko.

Wodiczko is internationally renowned for his politically charged, large-scale public projections and ongoing series of designs for personal communication instruments and survival vehicles. Central to his practice is the exploration of social and political marginalisation, and the creation of suitable platforms for alienated and excluded communities to “develop their shattered abilities to communicate” and testify about their personal experiences.

The two projects featured in this exhibition, The Flame and War Veteran Vehicle, bring into focus the post-traumatic condition experienced by returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan. Both projects are based on a set of interviews conducted by the artist with anonymous war veterans and their families, which reveal the difficulties of re-integration and the impossibility of re-connecting with their previous lives.

The Flame, first presented at Governors Island, New York in 2009, is a projection of a single flame flickering in response to the emotional impact of vocal testimonies by American war veterans and their families. Hypnotic and compelling, the flame draws the viewer into a state of reflective intimacy with these unseen narrators.

The Abolition of War also documents War Veteran Vehicle, an itinerant video installation performed in Liverpool during the Abandon Normal Devices Festival in 2009. For this work, Wodiczko fitted a high-power projector onto the weapons platform of a military Land Rover and ‘fired’ fragmented statements by returned British soldiers onto the facades of public buildings, accompanied by the sound of cannon fire.

The Abolition of War takes its name from Wodiczko’s proposal to radically transform the Arc de Triomphe de L’Etoile into the structural centrepiece of the Arc de Triomphe—World Institute for the Abolition of War, thus reframing the traditional war monument as a site of education, critical discourse and proactive work towards peace.

Krzysztof Wodiczko lives and works in New York, Boston and Warsaw. He is Professor of Art, Design and the Public Domain at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, Cambridge, and has exhibited internationally, to critical acclaim, over the past five decades.