Exhibitions

Artur Żmijewski

Imprisoned

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

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”.

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,

Munich.