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Artur Zmijewski, Gestures - Dominika, Mariusz, Mateusz, 20

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Video Program 2020
# 8

Artur Żmijewski
Gestures - Dominika, Mariusz, Mateusz, 2019 (Three-channel video transferred from 16 mm, b/w, no sound, 1:14, 1:06, 1:19 min)

Considered to be one of the most prominent radical figures on the Polish art scene, Artur Żmijewski is known for controversial topics which reflect his concern with wide-ranging 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, Żmijewski‘s films have been described as “staged documentaries” in which he often interacts with his protagonists, all of them entering a social experiment with an uncertain outcome.

The video work “Gestures - Dominika, Mariusz, Mateusz” is conceived to be presented in the exhibition space as a three-channel video installation, though shown here as a consecutive movie of 3.39 min. It was shot with a 16mm camera and transferred to video, while maintaining the aesthetics of an analogue black-and-white silent film. It features three different protagonists in an extreme state of rage. Dressed completely in black, their bodies are almost absorbed by the complete black background, only faces and arms acting in vehement gestures of violence, hate and despair. Silenced by the absent sound track the narration is told only by glances, body language and facial expressions. They seem to scream and argue, confronting the observer with clenched fists and tools of destruction like a broken bottle neck, a hammer or a wooden bar. But the images do not only produce a feeling of repulsion. As in other projects, Zmijewski creates here images of pathos and even beauty in moments of unease.

Artur Żmijewski was born 1966 in Warsaw, Poland, which remains still today the center of his artistic practice. His work has been exhibited internationally since the beginning of the 1990s. Major solo exhibitions include (selection): "Black Box Screenings", Beursschouwburg, Brussels (2018); "Blindspots", The Museum for History of Medicinie, Riga (2017); Prace Warsztatowe (Work In Progress), State Gallery of Art, Sopot (2015); “My Neighbours”, Museo de Arte Zapopan, Guadalajara (2013); “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 participated in many group exhibitions and biennials, including "Documenta 14", Documenta, Athens, Kassel (2017), „Documenta 12“, Kassel (2007) and the 51st Biennale of Venice (2005). In 2012, Zmijewski curated the 7th Berlin Biennale in Berlin. His works are part of public and private collections worldwide, such as the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo per l'Arte, Turin; Frans Hals Museum / De Hallen Haarlem, Haarlem; LVMH Fondation Louis Vuitton pour la Création, Paris; MoMA, New York; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada; Neue Pinakothek, Munich, Tate Modern, London; Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, just to mention a few.

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