Kristof Wickman

The process of conflating many things into one thing and viewing them on an equal plane has led me to consider why I say yes to one object and no to another. Broken into parts, the images and objects I choose to work with are unambiguous artifacts, but as a whole, they form a connotative stacking of elements. My aim is to make a non-literal reality from literal parts. The images and objects I'm attracted to most are easily turned inside out. By this I mean they're culturally specific and at the same time can appear categorically detached. The object in question crosses over from the symbolic to become taxonomically neutral, or slips into abstract form. I try to facilitate the momentary experience of the tangible giving way to the intangible through an equal investment in image and surface. Also, humor is very important to me as an element of incongruity that upends meaning. The joke, as a footnote or diversion has the ability alter the perception of an artwork. Within an artwork humor can point to the contingency of the entire structure. In my process of making, there's often a back and forth between the tempering of austerity with humor and the tempering of comedic value with seriousness.

Material resistance is important to my practice as a sculptor because it leads to new ideas. Through direct struggle with materials, force of will can be turned on its head and the resulting concession can transform a work from its origins. The form and materials in a sculpture often have their own will. The yielding of one element to another becomes clear only after extensive experimentation.

With regard to process, one method I regularly use is mold making and casting, the artifice of which creates a slightly damaged mirror of the original. The material inertia of casting an object from one substance into another can have the effect of freezing or stopping motion. It can also have the effect of erasing how an object came into being, be they natural processes or indexical markings. For example, a branch or a rock cast into another, foreign material denies the object a certain sense of its own history, as formed in these cases through a long process of biological growth or erosion. Cast sculpture can feel like an animated world that has ossified, sometimes reflecting a psychological inertia or a crystallization of an idea or a feeling.


MFA 2010 Combined Media, Hunter College of the City University of New York

BFA 2005   Studio Art, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Grants, Fellowships and Awards:

2010 Tony Smith Fund Award

2006 Vermont Studio Center, Rowland Fellowship, winter residency

2005 MacDowell Colony Fellowship, summer residency

2004 International Sculpture Center Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award                    Lyman S.V. Judson and Ellen Mackechnie-Judson Student Award in the Creative Arts   


2011 Group Show, Duve, curated by Evan Gruzis, Berlin, DE

2010 Relax, Socrates Sculpture Park, curated by Bridget Donahue, Queens, NY     Group Show, coinciding with the Capsule fair, curated by Jayne Drost, NY, NY     Hunter Thesis Show, Times Square Gallery, NY, NY

2009 Inaugural Group Exhibition, Union Gallery, NY, NY     M.A.'s Select M.F.A.'s, Times Square Gallery, NY, NY     New Insight, curated by Susanne Ghez, NEXT Fair, Art Chicago     Good News, Porter Butts Gallery, Memorial Union, Madison, WI

2008 Everything Must Go, Birmingham, AL

2007 It Isn't Funny Anymore, Project 1981, Long Island City, Queens, NY

2006 Drawing No Conclusions, OODA group, Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts, Grand Rapids, MI     The Promised Land/Sailor's Delight, OODA group installation, Wendy Cooper Gallery, Chicago, IL            2005 In the Name of Progress, Silo Gallery, Madison, WI     Wetness, OODA group installation at Gallery 110, Madison, WI                2004 Office Kiss, OODA group installation at 734 Gallery, Madison, WI     Outstanding Students in Contemporary Sculpture, Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, New Jersey     Overlay, Commonwealth Gallery, Madison, WI     Does the Past Suck? Wisconsin Union Theatre Gallery, Madison, Wisconsin     Over Oceans, Through the Air, Beyond All Barriers, Ironworks building, Madison         


Jean Pigozzi Collection, NY, NY

University of Wisconsin, Madison Memorial Union permanent collection