Artur Żmijevski: Democracies / Realism

Museum of Contemporary Art Skopje

18. December 2021 – 31. March 2022

The solo exhibition Democracies / Realism by the renowned Polish artist Artur Żmijewski, one of the most important European artists of his generation, will feature two video installations, consisting of a selection of films from his major works, the installations Democracies (2009- 2012) and Realism (2017). These two important series, although created independently, will be placed in a specific direct relation in the exhibition space of the Museum of Contemporary Art – Skopje. The strong contrast between the two works, in an interesting way reveals a strange complementarity and deep connection of their content.

“The opposition of these collections of moving images, which are selected as an integral part of the installation in MoCA-Skopje, as is most directly suggested by their titles, open before our eyes the space between collective euphoria and passive participation on the one hand, and decisive action and individual suffering on the other, between the noise of the streets and squares and the quiet private space and isolation” – says Vladimir Janchevski, curator of the exhibition.

One of the main focuses in Żmijewski’s research is the connection between artistic practices and reality, especially the political reality in which a certain society is located. Although considered one of the most radical artists known for a number of interventions, the works included in this exhibition do not have an explicit critical focus on contemporary reality, on the global rise of conservative narratives. Through the camera, he allows the world to be presented to us in the most direct way: without directing, no makeup, no comment. They do not intend to be liked, or to fascinate us, but to confront us with reality.

This is Żmijewski’s first solo exhibition in Skopje, although this presentation follows his participation in the international group exhibition “All that we we have in common” which opened in December 2019 at MoCA-Skopje, where in the company of some of the world’s most important artists, he presented his video work “Plein-air. Świecie”.

Artur Żmijewski (1966) is a visual artist based in Warsaw, with a rich artistic career, focused on creating installations consisting of photography, film and video.

He has exhibited at some of the most important art events, such as the Venice Biennale and Documentа in Kassel, and he was the curator of the Berlin Biennale in 2012.

His works are included in the collections of some of the most renowned art institutions in the world, such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Modern in London, the Neue Pinakothek in Munich…

In addition to the video installations, a bilingual publication will be published, in which, except a text on his works in the exhibition, a Macedonian translation of Żmijewski’s (in)famous manifesto, Applied Social Arts (2007) will be published. As his manifesto, in the last decade this text has had a strong impact on the understanding of the engagement and social role of art and has been translated worldwide. During the exhibition, open reading groups will be organized in which the content of this important text will be analyzed and discussed.

The exhibition is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art – Skopje in cooperation with the artist and the Foksal Gallery Foundation from Warsaw.

The project is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of North Macedonia.