Artur Żmijewski (born 1966 in Poland) is an artist, photographer and filmmaker. Żmijewski’s work often deals with existential traumas in society and individuals, especially in relation to historic events. He often stages situations with groups of people and documents how they react and interact with each other.
Single-channel video, 26 min 30 sec, colour, sound, 2007
Them is a film documenting an experiment for which Żmijewski convinces representatives of four organizations, all in the public eye of contemporary Poland, to participate in a seven-day workshop to negotiate their disparate, if not opposing, beliefs and political convictions. Each of these factions has secured a reputation as an ideologically uncompromising political group.
Members of the neo-nationalist Union of Polish Youth, elderly women representing fundamentalist Catholics, Jewish youth, and left-wing activists of a younger generation each formulate their respective viewpoints through creating a symbol for their ideologies and paint it on a large sheet of paper. They agree to react to each other’s creations initially with comments and critiques which soon turn into physical interventions, leading participants to alter each other’s work by painting over, cutting into and burning it. These actions escalate gradually, with a sense of inevitability, into an open confrontation.