Artist: Artur Zmijewski
Venue: Peter Kilchmann, Zurich
Exhibition Title: Imprisoned
Date: November 1 – December 20, 2014
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of the artist and Peter Kilchmann, Zurich
Galerie Peter Kilchmann is pleased to announce the fifth solo exhibition of the Polish artist Artur Zmijewski, presenting his latest video works under the title “Imprisoned”.
Artur Zmijewski (*1966) – a radical figure on the contemporary art scene – is concerned with socio-political conflicts. He relentlessly examines mechanisms of political power, the dynamics of social order and processes of victimisation, stigmatisation or collective trauma by focusing on the cognitive, emotional and physical expressions of the individual or the group. Mostly working with video, Zmijewski films and sometimes interacts with his protagonists, all of them entering a social experiment with an uncertain outcome.
Three video works will be shown, “Making of”, “Cookbook” and “Brushworks”, each of them between eight and ten minutes, the latter including works on paper. This new series is the outcome of workshops at the Areszt Śledczy w Warszawie-Grochowie, a womenʼs prison on the outskirts of Warsaw. The workshops were part of “Art in the Castle”, a project initiated by the Fundacja Dom Kultury, the House of Culture Foundation in Warsaw that engages in the cultural education of individuals and groups with limited or no access to culture and society. The inmates participating in the workshops were in the so-called “Castle”, the closed unit of the prison. Some of them are hardened criminals, others small-time criminals but recidivists. All of them spend their days locked in control units. Conditions of daily life are very basic – food, cosmetics and personal belongings are highly restricted. Zmijewskiʼs workshops were based on the idea of providing something inaccessible for the inmates – beauty, taste, creative authorship. Subordinate needs that co-determine the human condition. “The work is about lack of freedom in general”, says the artist.
The video “Making of” (2013, single channel video, projection or monitor, color, sound, approx. 8-10 min., Polish original version with English subtitles, edition of 3) shows a beauty and fashion session. Zmijewski and his team were accompanied by a hairdresser, a make-up artist, a manicurist, a stylist, and a photographer. This crew transformed a group of inmates into stylish and cultivated women. They increasingly regained self- confidence, culminating in a final catwalk in the prison corridor as an expression of grandeur.
In the video “Cookbook” (2013, single channel video, projection or monitor, color, sound, approx. 8-10 min., Polish original version with English subtitles, edition of 3), two professional chefs cook with a group of inmates, using fine food for the improvised dishes. A communal dinner was the grand finale of the session. In contrast to this, the cooking in the large institutional kitchen and the subsequent serving to the individual cells was filmed.
The work “Brushworks” includes a set of drawings (2013, works on paper) and the video (2013, single channel video, projection or monitor, color, sound, approx. 8-10 min., Polish orginal version with English subtitles, edition of 3) shows a painting workshop with a group of inmates. Zmijewski instructed them to not care about the result, that only the act of painting counts. There was no verbal conversation but only a dialogue with images, colours and forms. In the end, they were able to keep some of their paintings for their cell walls while others were taken away and are now part of the work “Brushworks”.