January 20 - March 4, 2006
The Peter Kilchmann Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new works by the Polish artist Artur Żmijewski (born 1966
in Warsaw, lives and works there). The exhibition presents a new three-part video work.
For his new film project Artur Żmijewski was looking for three different employed persons whom he found via an advertisement
in a local newspaper. He received their agreement for filming each of them for 24 hours. The leading characters are a laundress,
a woman who works on the assembly line in a factory and a female cashier who works in a supermarket in Warsaw.
Żmijewski interviewed each protagonist in advance, in order to briefly get to know the personal and vocational surroundings.
The artist then shortened each 24-hour film into a 5-minute sequence. The result is the subjective attempt of a cinematic essence
about the organization of everyday life. By means of the apparently objective camera eye the artist has caught banal and
repeated activities like getting up, working, family work, eating and sleeping. The onlooker is to question the analogies and deviations
between the various progressions of everyday life. Strictly speaking, the regularity of our everyday life can be disturbed
by unforeseen events and suddenly change.
"Everyday life ≠ Holiday [...], everyday life = routine [...] everyday life = working day [...] everyday life = life of the mass of the
peoples [...] everyday life = event range of the daily life [...] everyday life = private life (family, love, children) [...] everyday life =
sphere of the natural, spontaneous, unreflected and true experiencing and thinking [...] everyday life (everyday life consciousness)
= epitome of ideological, naive, not well thought through and wrong experiencing and thinking [... ] the list is everything not
but complete." (Elias 1978, S. 26)1. Which meaning do 24 hours have in the life of a human being? Usually, everyday life is
shaped by repetitive samples such as work, consumption (purchase and food), family, leisure and sleep, the progressions of
which can be easily foreseen. In this context, the artist examines individual rituals, repetitions, orders, and automatisms. Beyond
other things the artistʼs video work focuses on the uncovering/indicating of the unconsciously steered everyday life action, which
can be understood as a social interaction moment, because the human being is always located into a social and cultural context.
Thematically, the artist concerns himself with the mode of presentation of deviating physicality (physical/psychological), shows
an interest in the narration of subjective life reality, the visualization of human emotions such as shame and vulnerability and
tests the excess of the individual privacy again and again. With its cinematic and photographic work, Żmijewksi locates himself
between documentary film and narration, between report and fiction. He is a reserved observer, who describes human behaviour
under psychological and sociological aspects. Advertisements in newspapers frequently serve the artist as an aid to find his
protagonists. He observes them for his films, confronts them with an arranged situation, and thus provokes them. On the one
hand, the artist functions, as a sociological catalyst of social snap shots and on the other hand the documentary film appears
likes an apparently objective authority.
In the beginning of the early Nineties Artur Żmijewski visited (with Pawel Althamer and Katazyna Kozyra) the master studio of
the artist and professor Grzegorz Kowalski at the sculptor faculty of the Warsaw academy of arts. He began to work as a sculptor,
but after his diploma, he changed the medium to photography and film. Żmijewski was also active as a free curator and critic
in Poland until the late 1990s. He was recently included in the 2005 Venice Biennial as the representative of the Polish Pavilion
(Repetition, 2005). Since the late Nineties Żmijewski has had several solo and group exhibitions, e.g. Artur Żmijewski, Kunsthalle
Basel, Switzerland (2005); Das unmögliche Theater, Kunsthalle Wien, Austria (2005); Irreducible: Contemporary Short Form
Video 1995–2005, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, USA (2005); Artur Żmijewski. Selected Works,
1998 – 2003, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, USA (2004), Manifesta 4, Frankfurt on the Main, Germany (2002).
In the context of the International Filmfestival VISIONS DU REEL you will see a selection of video works of Artur Zmijewski in
the Special Screenings program from 24th-30th April 2006 in Nyon.