All-Seeing Eye

Joanna Rajkowska

Joanna Rajkowska's work was conceived especially for the National Museum in Brasilia. It is an ephemeral intervention it the  protected by the UNESCO architectue of the building designed as of the general plan of the Brazilian capital. The hemisphere of the museum acted as a screen for a projection prepared by the artist to be shown during two evenings, the 6th and 7th December 2013.

The title of the work refers to the theory of the power of seeing, observation and control mechanisms. It can be read as a reference to the history of the place – the ideal city of a transparent urban tissue, built for the needs of the state apparatus. A gigantic image of an eye displayed on the dome of the museum building reminds of invisible surveillance systems. At the same time it questions the role of the museum as an institution, whose mission is to preserve visual traces of history, and in doing so – to shape its vision.

The project stems from the personal experience of the artist, whose daughter was born with eye cancer. The sequence of images used in the projection shows the breakdown of the tumour inside the eyeball. Rajkowska reveals what is invisible, diseased, rejected, but shows also the difficult process of fighting the disease. Her work is a reflection on recognizing the world in conditions of limited sight, as well as on the biological and political function of seeing. Realised in the city, which is an architectural embodiment of the modernist utopia, it raises the question of the rationale of the existence of an error.


The project was supported by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in Poland



Partners: Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Brazil, Secretaria da Cultura do Distrito Federal, Museu Nacional do Conjunto Cultural da República