The Soul of Artur Zmijewski Between Fear and Courage on Display at the PAC

The Soul of Artur Zmijewski Between Fear and Courage on Display at the PAC
#Exhibitions

From a long black-and-white photographic mural comes a thick procession of human figures. They look like refugees, men and women shrouded in desperation. The Polish artist Artur Zmijewski uses a photographic series to tell of the refugees at the border between Poland and Belarus during the summer and autumn of 2021, a precursor to the dramatic bellicose oppression in Ukraine. The itinerary of the exhibition includes a selection of historic and recent works with three new works specifically conceived for the Milanese project and produced by the PAC, such as the series Persons and the new film inspired by the scientific cinema of neurologist Vincenzo Neri. Just as Rainer Werner Fassbinder explains in his 1974 film - to which the title of the exhibition pays homage - “fear eats the soul” alludes to an expression used by Arabs and North Africans to describe their conditions as immigrants, abandoned to a life full of fear, solitude, poverty and death. But also diseases, disabilities, of simply not being accepted. In Realism (2017), six men with amputated limbs move through their daily routines. Zmijewski contacted several Russian war veterans who fought in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict of 2014 and lost legs to landmines. The six protagonists of the work carry out the same gestures and exercises, staring at the spectator, showing their disabilities and their struggle to get beyond them in a society that tends to identify itself through the body as political beings. Zmijewski brings physical and mental pain to the extreme, offering an idea of “new flesh”, a sort of surpassing of individual physical and psychological limits.
Samantha De Martin - © 2022 ARTE.it for Bulgari Hotel Milano