New Jersey arts and entertainment news, features and event insights.


By Izzy Bonvini

originally published: 05/29/2022

The art of non-war is Maria Niro’s magnificent documentary tribute to the life and work of Krzysztof Wodiczko, a prolific anti-war artist. The film will be available to stream worldwide Friday, June 3 on the 2022 New Jersey International Film Festival website, or in person at 7 p.m. at Voorhees Hall at Rutgers University.

This film is a journey through time and space, Niro following Wodiczko around the world in his various installations, past and present. Niro tours with him in the United States, France, Canada, Japan and South Korea, but his work has also been exhibited in many other places around the world. Wodiczko’s first piece of political art – all of which qualify as public art interventions – was created in Warsaw, Poland in 1968, and now, 54 years later, he is still making an impact with his art. revolutionary.

His work is unique in beauty and function, often involving giant projections of isolated body parts onto monuments and buildings, and focusing on juxtapositions of militarism versus pacifism. In fact, much of Wodiczko’s work appears to be comparative commentary. For example, some of his artistic interventions feature people projected onto statues and monuments of war heroes and political figures, often through isolated body parts that move and talk to tell compelling stories about war and its aftermath. . His “Abraham Lincoln: Veterans Project” particularly struck me with the way he shared veterans’ stories verbally and through meaningful positioning of the body above a statue of the former president and war veteran Lincoln. This kind of meaningful comparison was also seen in Wodiczko’s wearable tech art, which includes the Porte-Parole mouthpiece. The gadget appears very militaristic on the wearer, almost like armor, but is actually meant to allow the wearer to verbalize what they might otherwise avoid saying.

All these meaningful interventions lead us to the project at the heart of the film: an installation of scaffolding around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Wodiczko is no stranger to big, seemingly impossible projects, but this is one of his boldest yet. Through this artistic intervention, he hopes to spark a conversation about peacebuilding by allowing visitors to the monument to see his graphic depictions of war and violence up close. This spirit of facing war head-on has been a constant throughout Wodiczko’s many years of work, and it seems to have existed since the day he was born.

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Wodiczko was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1943, in the midst of World War II and on the eve of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Niro captures the artist’s personal story in a way that clearly portrays his desire to create anti-war art experiences as stemming from his childhood traumas and realization of how war affected him. . There’s a super impactful scene where Wodiczko has a rather panicked and visceral reaction after being interviewed in a cafe because he and the filmmaker are surrounded by loud noises. He opens up about his sensory sensibilities, stating that even though he was a baby at the time of World War II and doesn’t remember it, the war does remember him. That kind of lasting impact really informs the purpose of this film and Wodiczko’s work in general; by channeling his personal experiences with the atrocities of war and asking others to do the same, he touches the hearts and minds of others and truly steps in and disrupts the normalization of violence.

The art of non-war is a moving tribute to Krysztof Wodiczko’s mission, and it’s the kind of film that leaves the viewer with renewed hope. Be sure to check it out Friday, June 3 online at the New Jersey Film Festival website or in person at 7 p.m. at Rutgers’ Voorhees Hall. To buy tickets, click here.

27e The annual New Jersey International Film Festival will take place on select Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from June 3-12. The Festival will be hybrid as we will present it online and do in-person screenings at Rutgers University. All films will be available virtually via video on demand for 24 hours on their broadcast date. Every ticket or Festival Pass purchased is good for virtual and in-person screenings. In-person screenings will take place at Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ beginning at 5 or 7 p.m. on the day of their show. Tickets: $15 = per program; All Access Festival Pass = $100. For more information, go here:

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