Temperance and Toil / Zurückhaltung und Arbeit, 1995
Single channel video, projection or monitor, 6.40 min., color, sound
Ed. of 3 (+1 AP +1 EP)

The film "Temperance and Toil" builds on Zmijewski’s experience as sculptor. According to the author himself, the subject of the film is the human body, used the way a sculptor would use clay. „Temperance and Toil“ is an early example of a theme that would become characteristic of Zmijewski’s later work, the ‚oppressed body’. The film shows a man and a woman squeezing each other’s limbs, face, eyes, ears, buttocks, creating all manner of often caricatural bodily deformations. Human muscles seem to take on the character of a mutable, elastic raw material. As the author described it, ‚A man and a woman knead each other’s bodies, creating a catalogue, peculiar to them, of various deformations. It is also a kind of sexual relation in which they search for new caresses. Their eroticism, however, misses the mark, as both simply do bizarre things to each other’s bodies. Nonetheless worth watching’. Besides Artur Zmijewski himself, the film features Katarzyna Kozyra, at the time also a student of sculpture in Grzegorz Kowalski’s studio. (If it happened only once it’s as if it never happened, Kunsthalle Basel, 2005, exhibition catalogue, p. 190)

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