Monika Fabijanska at the
SPRING/BREAK Art Show 2017 (booth 23.49)
SERIAL KILLERS AND OTHER FINGERPRINTS
Preview Day: Tuesday, February 28
Collectors Preview: 11 AM - 5 PM (by invitation only, RSVP required, register by Feb. 15)
Press Preview: 3-5 PM (register)
Vernissage: 5-9 PM (ticketed event, $20; SPRING/BREAK VIP cardholders, Free)
Public hours: March 1-6, 11 AM - 6 PM
Day Guest Passes will be available for purchase at the door or online
Lord Henry said to Dorian Gray: Crime belongs exclusively to the lower orders. ... I should fancy that crime was to them what art is to us, simply a method of procuring extraordinary sensations.
The series of 42 gouache portraits of Serial Killers was executed by Maciej Toporowicz in a single night session in 1993. The artist used his own fingerprints to create a study of world’s most infamous human monsters who remain subject of scientific analysis and achieved cult status in pop culture. Toporowicz, known for consistent adoption of risk as creative strategy, often exposed himself to legal problems: he interpreted the subject again, producing an edition of silkscreened postage stamps which were mailed.
...quick, smudged fingerprints show the figures as shadowy and indistinct […] At the same time, the fingerprints leave evidence, identification, and accountability with the artist, who becomes a stand-in for all of us - Boston Globe review of the show at the Fuller Museum of Art, Brockton, MA, 2000
All art that aims at transgressing limit situations is autobiographical, as it is through this transgression that the artist ‘is.’ Toporowicz has employed danger, provocation, illegal actions – strategies he had developed as an art student under Martial Law in Poland in 1980s, organizing underground performances influenced by the Viennese Actionism, and reacting to the systemic political oppression with provocative art.
Ian Buruma's text Art and Violence, where he writes that …fear is the greatest spur that drives humans to describe, depict, or act out forms of violence and cruelty […] People still need to see their fears, their lusts, and their darker impulses sublimated in fantasy, seems to hold the analytical key to the art of Maciej Toporowicz. Not only the need to overcome fear and a desire for catharsis are present in it, but also guilty pleasure, fascination with their seductive power.
Leaving his fingerprints in Serial Killers, Toporowicz hid his likeness but not the identity, and returned to explore identity itself in the series Fingerprints, where he rendered papillary lines of himself and his friends with human hair of different colors that belonged to other people.
Toporowicz continues to create political works based on images imprinted in mass culture and doesn’t conceal his own fascination with objects of his critique: American gun culture, fetishization of violence and cult of celebrity. Created at the time of a heated debate over access to weapons in the US and the role of NRA in national politics, two new series Targets (collages, 2015) and Disney Targets (acrylic on canvas, 2015) refer to his 1993 gouaches: Serial Killers and Disney – 6 drawings made with body prints, which sexualized famous cartoon characters.