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Pearl, 2010
Tobias Zielony 
Chromogenic print
Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with funds contributed by Thomas Callan and Martin McNamara
2011-73-1
Courtesy of the artist and Galleria Lia Rumma, Milan – Naples

Pearl, 2010 Tobias Zielony Chromogenic print Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with funds contributed by Thomas Callan and Martin McNamara 2011-73-1 Courtesy of the artist and Galleria Lia Rumma, Milan – Naples

Exhibition

Live Cinema/Peripheral Stages: Mohamed Bourouissa and Tobias Zielony

October 15, 2011–January 16, 2012

The works in Live Cinema/Peripheral Stages address the experience of marginality and question the social conditions—particularly those of twenty-first century cities—that generate and sustain it. Representative of a young generation of artists turning their attention toward contemporary society, Mohamed Bourouissa's and Tobias Zielony's imagery builds on the traditions of both documentary and portraiture photography. By immersing themselves in the social reality of a situation or location, the two artists produce photographs and videos that deal with the peripheral condition in a direct and thought-provoking manner. Both artists work primarily as photographers, creating compositions that reveal, in critical yet poetic ways, the social tensions inherent in living within the periphery of contemporary society. Defined as the edge or outskirts of an urban area, the periphery has become synonymous with under-resourced geographical regions beleaguered by social and economic problems. By focusing their lenses on the marginalized class of young men and women of the urban fringes, the two artists bring to light the complexity of this group, which is often neglected or misrepresented by the mass media. In the resulting images, representation becomes a form of resistance. With his Écrans (Screens) series of photographs, showing the smashed surfaces of television monitors, Mohamed Bourouissa refuses to conform to the common framing of recent events and current realities by challenging the mechanism by which images are distributed, turning that into an image in itself. In the video Temps mort (Time Out), he documents a year-long exchange via mobile telephones between him and a jailed acquaintance, restoring a sense of humanity to a marginal condition frequently unnoticed. In Vele (Sails), Tobias Zielony expands his photographic exploration beyond portraits of marginal youths to the built environment they inhabit, not only to place them in their context, but also to challenge the more established narratives of violence and corruption associated with Scampia, a suburb of Naples, Italy. Known for its ties to organized crime, this particular locale and its decaying utopian structures become the focus of Zielony's photographs and photo-animation, which capture the palpable uncertainty of life under such harsh circumstances. Production of artworks and loan assistance provided in part by Galleria Lia Rumma, Milan-Naples, and Kamel Mennour, Paris.

A Closer Look


The cities of the twenty-first century have become sites of dramatic social and economic transformations. Struggling under the weight of an unstable economy, which generates social unrest, Western urban centers are the background against which varying demographic realities play out. Defined as underprivileged geographical locales at the outskirts of an urban area, often beleaguered by social and economic problems, the periphery has become synonymous with social marginality, perceived as "a space imbued with a sense of insufficiency and incompletion." (Simone, AbdouMaliq, "At the Frontier of the Urban Periphery," in Sarai Reader 2007: Frontiers, p. 462.) In their art, Mohamed Bourouissa and Tobias Zielony investigate the condition of marginality, especially as made visible in the Western suburban context. Both artists practice primarily as photographers, creating compositions that reveal the social tensions inherent in life at the periphery. Representative of a young generation of artists turning their attention toward contemporary society, Bourouissa's and Zielony's imagery builds on the tradition of both documentary and portraiture photography. The videos and photographs in Live Cinema/Peripheral Stagesaddress the experience of marginality and question the circumstances that generate and propagate it. By immersing themselves in the social environment of a situation or location, the two artists produce works—often organized in series—that deal with the peripheral condition in a direct and thought-provoking manner. In the resulting images, representation becomes a form of resistance: Bourouissa negates the power of television screens to display and propagate information and uses cell phones as imagemaking devices capable of trespassing societal boundaries, while Zielony engages with decaying urban structures and the people who inhabit them.

About Live Cinema


About Live Cinema

Live Cinema is a series of exhibitions that explores the vast production of single-channel video and film work by a diverse group of local, national, and international artists. In the last decades an ever-increasing number of contemporary artists have appropriated these mediums as an artistic outlet, in a dialogue with the early video and Super 8 practices of the 1960s and the tradition of experimental filmmaking. Each program of the Live Cinema series focuses on a specific aspect of this work, in order to both map and analyze this important facet of contemporary art production. Certain Live Cinema programs are accompanied by a brochure in which guest writers discuss the works exhibited, and by public lectures given by the participating artists.


Main Building

About the Artists

Exploring existing power relations and their inherent tensions, Mohamed Bourouissa's work is based in photography but its contents are steeped in art historical painting and references. In his various photographic series, the artist blurs the line between documentary photography and fiction, either by carefully staging his compositions (Périphéries) or by delegating the photographic gaze to others (Temps mort). Born in Algeria in 1978, Bourouissa grew up in Paris. After attending École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, where he specialized in photography, he received his master's degree from the Sorbonne, also in Paris, in 2004. Bourouissa has been featured in a number of solo shows internationally at and his work was also included in the 6th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (2010), The Generational: Younger than Jesus in 2009 at the New Museum, New York, and in ILLUMInation at the 54th Venice Biennial (2011), among other exhibitions.

Documenting the lives of teenagers living on the fringes of urban environments, Tobias Zielony investigates youth culture of the marginal spaces of society. The relationship between people and location is at once specific to these places and yet resonates with other similar nondescript spaces around the world, indicating the presence of a globalization that has become the norm. Zielony's interest is not only in the people who live in these places but in the architectural and urban context of these locations that exist as indicators of embedded political and economic structures. Born in Wuppertal, Germany, in 1973, Zielony studied documentary photography at the University of Wales, and art photography at the HGB Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig. Since 2004 he has been featured in a number of solo exhibitions and his work has been included in group exhibitions such as the 7th International Biennial of Photography and Visual Arts (2010) in Liège, Belgium; Morality Act 1 at Witte de With, Rotterdam, Netherlands, in 2009–10; and Populism at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, in 2005-06.


Curators

Adelina Vlas, Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

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