Maciej Toporowicz, Serial Killers, 1993, a series of 42 unique gouache portraits in gouache on paper, 30 x 22 in. / 76 x 56 cm each, installation view at the SPRING/BREAK Art Show 2017 © Maciej Toporowicz 1993. Courtesy of the artist and Monika Fabijanska

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 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. 

 ...drawn in quick, smudged fingerprints that 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, noted Cate McQuaid in a Boston Globe review of the show at the Fuller Museum of Art, Brockton, MA, 2000.

Fingerprint Portraits of Serial Killers Are a Pointillist's Nightmare, a review by Kara Weisenstein in Creators (VICE)

Maciej Toporowicz: Serial Killers and Other Fingerprints at the SPRING/BREAK Art Show 2017, curatorial statement by Monika Fabijanska

Maciej Toporowicz, Serial Killers, 1993, an edition of 20 postage stamps sets, silkscreen on paper, 2 x 1.75 in. / 5 x 4.5 cm © Maciej Toporowicz 1993. Courtesy of the artist and Monika Fabijanska


Leaving his fingerprints in Serial Killers, Toporowicz hid his likeness but not the identity, and returned to explore identity itself in the series Fingerprints (also 1993), where he rendered papillary lines of himself and his friends with human hair of different colors that belonged to other people.  

The artist 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 availability of weapons in the US and the role of NRA in national politics, two new series Disney Targets (acrylic on canvas, 2015) and Targets (collages, 2015) refer to his 1993 gouaches: Disney – a series of 6 drawings made with body prints, which sexualized famous cartoon characters, and Serial Killers – 42 portraits composed by fingerprints.


Maciej Toporowicz, Donald, 2015, from the Disney Targets series, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 36 in. / 61 x 91.5 cm © Maciej Toporowicz. Courtesy of the artist