Projects 91

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Sculpture Plein-air. Swiecie 2009, 2009 © Courtesy the artist, Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw, and Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich
Projects 91
Curated by: Connie Butler

11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019
October 28th, 2009 - February 1st, 2010

Wed-Mon 10:30 - 5:30; Fri 10:30 - 8:00


In his films and photographs, Artur Zmijewski (Polish, b. 1966) investigates social norms by observing unusual or invented situations. Seeing his role as "inducing the field," the artist often adapts the strategies of political action in his work, creating scenarios that cause a stir among otherwise passive participants and documenting their actual reactions. His work frequently explores long-term trauma caused by historical and sociopolitical events. While his projects sometimes focus on marginalized or disenfranchised populations, Zmijewski is also interested in what he terms the “dominant state of mind,” widely held popular beliefs and attitudes that shape “common reality.” For Projects 91, Zmijewski presents a selection of recent work, including a new film project, in both the galleries and the theaters. His latest film, Sculpture Plein-air. Swiecie 2009, which premieres as part of Projects 91, records one of a series of staged workshops organized and documented by the artist in which the participants are invited to create art. Zmijewski asked seven artists from different parts of Poland to collaborate with steel workers in Swiecie, a small city disengaged from the contemporary art world. Using facilities, equipment, and materials provided by a sponsor company, the two groups meet and create and install public sculptures. The project was modeled after similar collaborations between artists and workers in Elblag, Poland, in the late 1960s, which were inspired by utopian goals of a classless society and the union of art making and industrial technology. In restaging this moment in Poland’s artistic and political history, Zmijewski highlights the social and political realities that separate people today and questions whether these realities can ever truly be overcome.