Piotr Uklanski (Polish, b.1968) studied painting, in Warsaw at the Academy of Fine Arts, and photography, in New York at the Cooper Union School for Advancement of Science and Art. Uklanski lives in both New York and Warsaw, and has created a body of work that uses many types of media, including sculpture, photography, collage, film, and performance. His work has been exhibited in New York at the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou in Paris, Palazzo Grassi in Venice, and Ludwig Museum in Cologne. He emerged on the art scene in New York in the mid-1990s with the work Untitled (Dance Floor), a sculpture that fuses Minimalism with the blurring of entertainment and art that characterizes much of the current era.
Uklanski never backs away from creating his vision, even if it is controversial. A series of photographs, Untitled (The Nazis), resulted in protests when shown at The Photographers Gallery in London in 1998. This work was destroyed by a Polish actor in Warsaw as a publicity stunt in 2000. Uklanski’s first feature film was released in 2006. The film, entitled Summer Love: The First Polish Western, was written and directed by Uklanski and featured Polish actors Katarzyna Figura and Boguslaw Linda. The cast also included American actor Val Kilmer. The film was an official selection to the Venice Film Festival in 2006 and was nominated for the Gucci Group Award in 2007. In America, the film was screened in New York at the Whitney Museum of American Art and received a theatrical release in 2008. In addition to this feature, Uklanski has directed music videos and had solo exhibitions of his other art.
Uklanski has created other well-known works, such as the series Joy of Photography. This series was made to present the beauty of nature. His 2005 portrait of John Paul II, shown with hundreds of shipyard workers, was turned into a shrine when the Pope died the same year. The artist now travels between the United States and Poland to continue his film and photography work.