In 2008 the Fire Station Artists Studios, as part of its annual Studio Award, invited Polish artist Artur Zmijewski to develop a project in Dublin, that would take as a starting point, the changing nature of Polish Irish relations and the labour market. It was at this precise time that the previously booming Irish economy was in decline and the new immigrant workforce, from Poland and other Eastern European countries, was feeling the impact. Over a series of visits to Dublin in 2008-2009 the artist invited Polish and Irish unemployed men and women to take part in a series of intense workshops, where they were given the task of working together to construct their own workers’ monuments. The artist filmed and edited the results into Two Monuments, 2000.
Democracies consists of 15 short videos made by Zmijewski between 2007 and 2009, in cities and towns across Europe exploring the diversity of political uses of public space. These videos which play simultaneously, include a protest against the Israeli occupation in the West bank, a Loyalist parade in Belfast, a re-enactment of the Warsaw Uprising, the funeral of an extreme right wing leader in Austria, and a crowd of German and Turkish football fans.
First shown in Istanbul Biennale, 2009 and in Cornerhouse Manchester, 2009 this is the first time Two Monuments and Democracies will be shown in Ireland.
Artur Zmijewski was born in 1966 in Warsaw, Poland, where he currently lives and works. His ‘social documentary’ type films, frequently examine mechanisms of power and oppression as well as exposing social conflicts, trauma and human weakness. He has had solo shows at MOMA, New York, Kunstalle Basel, BAK, Utrecht, Cornerhouse Manchester, and represented Poland at the 51st Venice Biennale. His work has been included in major international exhibitions such as the 11th Istanbul Biennial, Documenta 12, Kassel, The 2002 Liverpool Biennial and Manifesta 4, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He is member of the Polish political movement ‘Krytyka Polityczna’ and art director of the magazine of the same name. He is the co recipient of the 2010 Ordway Prize and was recently appointed curator of 7th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, 2012.
Launch of publication The Applied Social Arts, Artur Zmijewski, Includes essays by Dave Beech and Artur Zmijewski. Edited by Fire Station Artists’ Studios. Available for purchase at RHA and through Fire Station Artists Studios.
Panel discussion, Friday 3 December: 2 – 3.30 pm at the RHA Gallery.
The ethics of collaboration within socially engaged arts practice with Dave Beech, UK writer & artist, Dr Aine O’Brien, Director of the Forum on Migration and Communications, FOMACS and Jesse Jones, artist. Chaired by Liz Burns, Fire Station Artists’ Studios.