September 23, 2004 - Polish Pavilion at the São Paulo Biennial - Piotr Uklanski
September 23, 2004

Piotr Uklanski

Piotr Uklanski: The Official Representation of Poland to the 26th Bienal of Sao Paolo
25 September – 19 December 2004

Untitled (Ioannes Paulus PP.II Karol Wojtyla), 2004   

Location: Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion,
Parque Ibirapuera, Sao Paolo Brazil
Press Contacts: Magda Materna
Project Producer
Tel: +33 66 00 57 379

Curator: Anda Rottenberg

For his contribution as the Polish representative to the 26th Sao Paolo Biennale, Piotr Uklanski created a portrait of Pope John-Paul II (Karol Wojtyla).

The image was composed by carefully choreographing the disposition of three thousand five hundred soldiers from the Brazilian Armed Forces on a large grass field. Using a aerial photography, he took the image with enough distance to bring the portrait to life. A portrait of the Pope appears in a pixel-like form-human bodies substitute for the minute pieces of digital information. Transcending religious dogma, the image of the Pope has in fact become a secular icon that is able to bridge the gap between cultures.

Piotr Uklanski organized and executed this portrait in Brazil to emphasize the conceptual and cultural underpinnings of his project. The choice of subject-Pope John-Paul II-locates an immediate connection between two countries that might seem radically different in so many terms, yet share the historical, cultural and religious legacies of the Catholic Church. Brazil and Poland not only share an actual religious belief, more importantly they are often caricatured as being traditional, devoutly Catholic nations.

In an artistic context, the form of the international exhibition or biennale is often geared to display obvious cultural differences and specificities in the work of each artist that represents their home country. Piotr Uklanski’s contribution to the 26th Sao Paulo Biennale strives to do the opposite. The artist designed his work to reflect a universal or cliched experience, thereby frustrating the expectation for an exotic or unique artistic contribution from a distant, foreign country.

This project was producedby the Institute of the Art Promotion Foundation, Warsaw and ANANA Producoes, Rio de Janeiro with the generous support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Poland, Procom Software S.A. and Brasil Connects.

Piotr Uklanski was born in Warsaw in 1968. He is a visual artist that lives and work in Warsaw, Paris and New York.
Anda Rottenberg is the former director of the National Gallery of Contemporary Art – Zacheta in Warsaw (1993 – 2001). Currently she is the director of the Institute of the Art Promotion Foundation and the freelance art writer and curator.
Press Contacts:
Magda Materna
Project Producer
Tel: +33 66 00 57 379

Polish Pavilion at the São Paulo Biennial
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