Maciej Toporowicz

Maciej Toporowicz, The Home of Brave, Ink jet on paper, 50,5 x 40,5 cm., 2017.

solo exhibitions (selection)
Bunkier Sztuki, Krakow, AWACS (Maciej Toporowicz and Piotr Grzybowski)
Instytut Sztuki Wyspa, Gdansk, SCHOENBERG!
Pori Art Museum, Finnland, Obsession
Lombard Freid Fine Arts, New York City, Stairs 2 Heaven

group exhibitions (selection)
GSW, Wall Signs, Opole, Poland
Allard Pierson Museum, The Aesthetic of Man, Amsterdam
Jewish Historical Institute, Polish Art and Holocaust, Warsaw
Rohsska Museet, Evil Design, Gothenburg
Contemporary Art Gallery, (DIS)ORDER, Opole
Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej, Obsession, Warszawa
Museum of Contemporary Art Krakow, History in Art, Cracow
57th International Short Film Festival, Oberhausen
Galerie Rudolfinum, Decadence Now, Prague

Maciej Toporowicz is a multimedia artist based in Brooklyn, and Grahamsville, NY. He was born in Poland and studied at the Academy of Arts in Krakow. While still in art school he funded with Piotr Grzybowski performance group AWACS. Their work was a radical protest against the communist regime and included underground performances during the Marshal Law in Poland. AWACS early performances were published in 1980’s by the seminal American magazine High Performance. During that time, he also attended workshops with the legendary Grotowski Theater in Wroclaw.
Toporowicz came to USA as political refugee in 1985. Since then he produced body of work exploring human condition in context of advertising, pop culture as well as mortality and evanescence of life. He earned art-world notoriety in 90′ for the subversive mock ad campaigns for Obsession, Shiseido, Baby Gap, and LURE. Currently he works with photography, painting, video, and performance.
„The quest for identity is a primal quest of our human kind,“ says Toporowicz. „We are thrown on this planet without any clue for the very reason of being. We are striving to get some answers for the unanswerable. Since we search in the dark, it helps to use intuition rather than rational means. We may realize one day, that we carry all past, present, and future in us already. We are the star dust.

„Toporowicz is looking at capitalist culture with the view of an outsider, in a way not dissimiliar to Komar and Melamid. But his critical distance is less about aesthetical distance than visual culture. His framework is both political and ideological“.

Robert Morgan

Toporowicz is seeking to highlight the fascist aesthetics that have become commonplace in the world off cosmetics and fashion advertising. For the Lure campaign, Toporowicz used photos of Thai prostitutes in Bangkok. The artist here tries to demonstrate how advertising techniques are used to detach the subject from daily reality (in this case sex tourism and the staggering rate if HIV infections in Thailand) to invest it with aura of innocence and exoticism, thus rendering it fit for the consumption as “the Other” .


A scandal is always good advertising. Like the clothes manufacturer Benetton, the fashion designer Calvin Klein for years played with taboo in his advertising campaigns. In the eighties there was a pure Brooke Shields ( “Nothing comes between me and my Calvins”), in the nineties there was naked Kate Moss on the couch, and for the perfume Obsession, he promoted models in Leni Riefenstahl’s style. The politically correct New York artist Maciej Toporowicz was inspired by these aesthetics to create a street poster action. You can find a new model on the walls of Manhattan. Name: Wehrmacht, age: 56 years, Creator: Nazi sculptor Arno Breker. Toporowicz not only creates an ironic spin on advertisement, he also seems to be saying that the National Socialism was the most successful advertisement campaign ever“.

Der Spiegel

„Executed in a single night session in 1993, Maciej Toporowicz’s 42 gouache paintings depict infamous serial killers. Made from his own fingerprints, the chilling portraits interrogate identity and form a deeply personal study of those human monsters who remain subjects of scientific analysis and pop culture fascination.Though nearly 25 years old, the Serial Killers series feels enduringly electric. Stare at them for a while, and you feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

Kara Weisenstein