Kai Wasikowski

Kai Wasikowski

Observing the glaciers and the lines of their retreat highlighted the abundance of information that connects global phenomena to our daily actions. With this in mind, I visualised the disassembling of nature as a Romantic and stable backdrop to my everyday experience and thought about the potential of more synthetic and simulated ecologies emerging as the ice melts. KAI WASIKOWSKI

Kai Wasikowski’s images of retreating glaciers in the Southern Alps of New Zealand reach out to grasp the sublime. The complex layering of his works resonates with the natural sublime associated with the early eighteenth century theorists Joseph Addison, John Burke and Immanuel Kant and the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich. This state of mind attempts to comprehend a unified magnificence of nature. This enormity includes both mountain peaks and precipices, as well as wide expanses of water. Sublimity initially arouses feelings of terror and horror in the viewer, which subsequently dissolve into stillness and amazement. As the title suggests, the Realtree series is populated by plant life that are resplendent and camouflaged, benevolent and baleful. As an act of subterfuge Wasikowski has patinaed their foliage, in the same way the Realtree label have patterned their clothing for hunters and fishermen.

The imagined worlds conjured by the artist are overlaid with a contemporary experience – the sublime unknowability of Big Data. Wasikowski’s miniaturization of the panoramic, and works entitled Torrent and Streaming, directly reference our technologically-mediated and introspective field of vision. The melting ice and rapids, counterpoised with intricate circuitry, are synonymous with the invisible coursing of data and the saturation of images in our daily lives. At first overwhelming, even terrifying, our fear of the data grid gradually subsides as familiarity reveals its benefits and we are seduced by our own innovation and brilliance.

The Works

Realtree #1, 2017
Realtree #2, 2017
Realtree #4, 2018

Colour inks on paper

10 January 2017 #1, 2017
10 January 2017 #3, 2017
Streaming #4, 2018

Single channel, digital moving image, LCD display, Rasberry Pi, HDMI and component cables
Duration: 4:29 min loop
Duration: 4:29 min loop
Duration: 5:18 min loop

About the Artist

Multi-disciplinary artist Kai Wasikowski lives and works in Sydney. In familiarising rapid environmental and technological change, Kai’s artistic practice maps the emotional reverberations in society confronted with the threat of ecological disaster. Since graduating in 2016, Kai has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions in Australia, Germany, Singapore and Canada. He was awarded the 2017 Schenberg Art Fellowship and undertook the 4A Residency in Beijing in 2018. 

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