Interview with Tobias Zielony, who is one of the artists who represent Germany at the Venice Art Biennale 2015. The interview is in German language, open the YouTube version below and click cc for English subtitles. Tobias Zielony was born in 1973 in Wuppertal. He lives and works in Berlin. His work for the German Pavilion is titled “The Citizen”, 2015.
Fabrik. German Pavilion at Venice Art Biennale 2015. Interview with Tobias Zielony, May 7, 2015. Interview: Mirjam Baitsch.
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Official info text:
Tobias Zielony’s series The Citizen is concerned with one of today’s most important political questions—the presence of ‘the other’, embodied by African refugees. Although the migration movements of our time are often reduced to the tragedies that occur at the external frontiers of the ‘fortress Europe’, Zielony’s view is directed towards the self portrayal of these people, their personal stories, their entitlement to be taken seriously as political subjects in Germany. They protest against the restrictions placed on their freedom of movement, against the prohibition to work or to study.
Zielony highlights this new self-confidence in his photographs, which he presents in large wall pieces reminiscent of the layout of the pages in a newspaper—the only thing missing is the text columns between the photographs. The empty spaces point towards the ruptures in the biographies of the individuals, along with all the details that are left out of public media debates. In return, Zielony has asked African authors and journalists to comment on his photographs. The results, in the form of newspaper articles, are on display in large showcases at the centre of the room. The other pages of these newspapers highlight the political and social reality of Africa, in quite a different way to the perspective from which it is seen in Europe. Copies of newspapers containing information provided by the people portrayed in Zielony’s photographs are available for visitors to take home.