Galerie Peter Kilchmann
Zahnradstrasse 21, CH-8005 Zurich
tel. +41 44 278 10 10
November 1 - December 20, 2014
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 codetermine
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 selfconfidence,
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
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”.
Important solo exhibitions include: “Working”, CCA Warsaw Ujazdowski Castle, Warswaw (2012); “Them”,
Mocca, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto (2011); “Project 91: Artur Zmijewski”, MoMA, New
York (2009); “Repetition”, CCA Wattis, San Francisco (2005). Zmijewski exhibited as main artist in the Polish
Pavillion of the 51st Biennale of Venice (2005), and participated in the Documenta 12, Kassel (2007), and
Manifesta 4, Frankfurt am Main (2002). In 2012, Zmijewski curated the 7th Berlin Biennale.
His works are part of collections worldwide, such as the MoMA, New York; Tate Collection, London; Zacheta
National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Sammlung Goetz, Munich; Neue Pinakothek,