Christian Narkiewicz-Laine’s art is driven by his interests in self-expression, poetry, literature, conceptional perception, movement, materials, embodied experience, and political commentary that upholds social justice, freedom, human rights, and peace. He strives to make the concern of art relevant to society at large. Art, for him, is a crucial means for tuning thinking into doing in the world. His diverse works—in sculpture, painting, photography, film, video, and installations—have been exhibited widely throughout the world. Not limited to the confines of the museum or the gallery, his work also engages the broader public sphere through architectural projects and interventions in civic and public spaces.
Narkiewicz-Laine was born in Colorado and grew up in Finland, Germany, Greece, and the United States. He studied architecture and archaeology at the University of Strasbourg, the American School of Archaeology in Athens, Lake Forest College (Lake Forest, Illinois, USA) and the American Academy in Rome. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, he made numerous paintings, watercolors, woodcuts, books and photographic studies. He went on extended journeys throughout Europe, the USA, and Central and South America; the latter two journeys would have further influence on his work.
In the late 1990s, he opened a studio in Galena, Illinois and his work was greatly influenced and inspired by the Driftless Area or Paleozoic Plateau of the Upper Mississippi River Valley. Those works were Neo-Expressionist, embracing a dark pallet with work entrenched in themes of the landscape and references to archaeology and archaeological ruins and inspired by the writings of the Argentine writer, Jorge Luis Borges, and the Austrian poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, as well as the mysticism of Russian mythology and religious Orthodoxy. This has resulted in his work being linked with a style called New Symbolism. During that period, he was profoundly influenced by the works of Anslem Kiefer where his paintings and sculpture became more physical and featured unusual textures and materials.
By 2004, his work experienced a transition to a more conceptional art creating installations, exploring light and non-traditional materials, and controversial socio-political actions as his themes widened to examining the role civilization had to the fate of art and culture in general. These works were executed to enhance the viewer’s experience with social and/or political critique and ideas/information.
The experiential and political nature of his work continues to build Narkiewicz-Laine's reputation as one of the world's most accessible creators of contemporary art, poetry, and literature.
Narkiewicz-Laine lives and works in Chicago and Galena, Illinois and Athens, Greece.
• Architecture, Université de Strasbourg, France (1970-1972)
Select Awards and Honors
• Critic’s Prize from The Graham Foundation Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts (1980)
Select Exhibitions of his paintings and sculpture
• Evanston Art Center, Evanston, Illinois, USA., 1979
• The American Academy in Rome, Rome, Italy 1981
• Galería Antonia Janonne, Milan, Italy, 1989
• The Buenos Aires Biennale, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1989
• Warsaw History Museum, Warsaw, Poland, 1991
• The Buenos Aires Biennale, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1991
• Budapest Mücsarnok Museum, Budapest, Hungary, 1992
• Galeri Jaroslava Fragnera, Prague, Czech Republic, 1992
• Göteborg Konstmuseum, Göteborg, Sweden, 1992
• Thessaloniki Municipal Museum, Thessaloniki, Greece (1992)
• University of Kiev-Mohyla Academy, Kiev, Ukraine, 1993
• Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles, California, USA, 1996
• The São Paolo Biennale, São Paolo, Brazil, 1997
• Bückeburg Palace, Schaumburg-Lippe, Germany, 1997
• Cultural Center of the Catholic Church, Naxos Castle, Naxos, Greece, 2002
• Ulysses S. Grant Home, Galena, Illinois, USA., 2003-2005
• Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha, Nebraska, 2004
• Museum of Contemporary Art, Washington, D.C., USA, 2005
• Dubuque Museum of Art, Dubuque, Iowa, USA., 2007
• Arka Gallery under the Auspices of the Embassy of Finland, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2007
• Voices from the Warehouse District, Dubuque Museum of Art, Dubuque, Iowa, USA., 2007
• Galleri Athene, Drammen, Norway, 2012
• The Istanbul Design Biennial, City of Istanbul and Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, Istanbul, Turkey, 2012
• [Praxis] Galleri Ramfjord, Oslo, Norway, 2013
• Dubuque Museum of Art Biennial, Dubuque Museum of Art, Dubuque, Iowa, 2013
• Dubuque Experimental, 2013
• GDCA Gallery (Gloria Delson Contemporary Arts), Los Angeles, California, USA (Under the Patronage of the Consulate General of Finland in Los Angeles), 2013
• XIV BA13 Bienal Internacional de Arquitectura de Buenos Aires,
• Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2013
• TAF The Art Foundation, Athens, Greece, 2013
• 4th Athens Art Biennale 2013, Athens, Greece, 2013
• The 13th Istanbul Art Biennale, City of Istanbul and Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, Istanbul, Turkey, October-December, 2013
• Finlandia University Gallery, Finlandia University, Hancock, Michigan (Under the Patronage of the Consulate General of Finland New York), 2014
• Arka Gallery under the Auspices of the Embassy of Finland, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2014
• Cultural Center of M. K. Sarbievijus, Kražiai, Lithuania, 2014
• The Istanbul Design Biennial, City of Istanbul and Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, Istanbul, Turkey, 2014
• Quadrennial 14, Artillery Bastion of Vilnius Defensive Wall, Lithuanian National Museum, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2014-2015