Born 1952 - Poland
Paweł Wojtasik was born in Lodz, Poland, and lived in Tunisia before immigrating to the United States. Wojtasik received an MFA from Yale University in 1996. From 1998 until 2000 he was a resident at Dai Bosatsu Zendo Buddhist monastery in upstate New York. Wojtasik's internationally recognized films and video installations are visionary and poetic reflections on our environment and culture. His film The Aquarium (2006) deals with the destruction of the oceans; while the 360° panoramic video installation Below Sea Level (2009-2011), with soundscape by Stephen Vitiello, concerns the plight of New Orleans, also examined in Next Atlantis (2010), with music by Sebastian Currier. Next Altantis premiered at Carnegie Hall in New York City in January 2010. Below Sea Level was first presented at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), North Adams, MA in 2009-2010. It is now part of PROSPECT 2 biennial in New Orleans. Wojtasik's Pigs (2010) was included in Views from the Avant-Garde, a part of the 2010 New York Film Festival, and at the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival. The film had its Asian premiere at the 35th Hong Kong International Film Festival, where it won the Grand Prize in the short film category. Wojtasik's work has also been shown at PS1/MoMA, Long Island City, NY; Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY; The Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT; the Flaherty Film Seminar, among others. A recipient of a NYSCA individual artist grant twice, Wojtasik was recently awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for 2012. Paweł Wojtasik is a 2012 fellow in Video/Film from the New York Foundation for the Arts.
"My video and installation works focus on marginalized or overlooked aspects of contemporary society with the intention of showing them as integral parts of a universal whole. Addressing issues of unbridled consumption and waste elimination, I examine various endpoints of material existence and the vicious cycle of industrial progress. At the same time, the work manifests my belief that the sublime can be found in the most ordinary aspects of life.
Utilizing the camera as a detached eye, I try to objectively address topics ranging from sewage treatment, trash disposal, laboratory animals to environmental problems and anatomical autopsies. While the subject matter is often disturbing, the close-range, meditative camera work creates a visually hypnotic and seductive imagery. In combination with an intense ambient sound, both collected on site and composed, each piece represents a metaphor for sociological, moral and existential issues facing us today."
-- Paweł Wojtasik