Tele-Workshop by Tobias Zielony: Political Bodies

December 15, 2020 | Cosmina Marcela OLTEAN ArtPage

The first session of the tele-workshop recently took place on Microsoft Teams platform, and it was addressed to students in the program of studies in Photography and Video Art at the Faculty of Visual Arts and Design of "George Enescu" National University of the Arts in Iasi, Romania. In addition to this tele-workshop on "Political Bodies", the artist Tobias Zielony had on display a series of works on the online platform Visiting Artists of the Aparte Gallery website ( The event was mediated by the curator Cătălin Gheorghe (“George Enescu” National University of the Arts, Iași, and Vector Studio). 

The concept of the tele-workshop was based on the relationship between human bodies and images, especially photographic images. „To get out of this dilemma, it is helpful to imagine a human body without any visual representation. Or a representation without a body. But we cannot escape our physicality – yet. If our bodies get sick, we are sick. If we have the wrong passport, our bodies are stuck behind borders and fences. The protesters in Belarus oppose the police with their bodies. If they are beaten or arrested, the violence is also and primarily directed against their bodies. When we are born, our bodies are divided into normative genders, male, female. We need to break through these discourses of power and body, a relationship that is often similar to that between the human body and its representation. Just like the norm of binary genders dissolves, other anthropocentric boundaries are beginning to open up: We as human beings are not as separated from each other, from animals, from the environment, and from machines (e.g. artificial intelligence and cyborgs) as we would like to think. So which bodies are we talking about in the future and what does that mean for any attempt to photograph them or ourselves?”, points out the curator. 

This workshop, run from distance, is part of a series of events organized this fall by the FaPt Association in partnership with the German Cultural Center Iasi and Galeria Aparte (the project space of the Faculty of Visual Arts and Design, "George Enescu" National University of the Arts in Iasi). The tele-workshop is part of the cultural project "UnderAct - Program of residencies and artistic mobility", funded by the City Hall of Iasi through the Annual Grant Program for cultural projects proposed by non-governmental organizations in Iasi. The "UnderAct" program aims to improve the professional career of artists, to encourage inter / transdisciplinarity in contemporary arts, artistic mobility and cultural dialogue. The program is addressed to Romanian and foreign artists who are offered the opportunity to know the cultural environment of Iași, to interact with local artists and to contribute through artistic productions, workshops, masterclass meetings. 

Photo - Hannes Wiedemann in
Berlin Art Link,

Notes about the artist

Tobias Zielony (born 1973 in Wuppertal, Germany) is known for his photographic and filmic depictions of youth and subcultures, which employ a critical approach to documentary photography. His photographs create a distance between image production and documentary, resulting in a unique aesthetic and a relation to fictional narratives. He is interested in exploring how images impact and inform the shaping of the self, as well as the identity of a community. In 2009, Zielony introduced stop-motion animation and moving images to his practice. In 2015 he co-exhibited at the German Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale with the work The Citizen, a cooperation with refugee activists in Germany and newspapers and magazines in five African cities. He has exhibited extensively and internationally with solo shows, among others, at the MMK Zollamt in Frankfurt (2011); Camera Austria in Graz (2011); Philadelphia Museum of Art (2011); MAXXI Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo Rome (2012); the Berlinische Galerie (2013); Von der Heydt-Museum, Wuppertal (2017); and an upcoming retrospective at the Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany (2021). His works has been included in numerous group exhibitions, including the second Montevideo Biennial (2014), and the first Riga Biennale (2018). He was the first Peter and Irene Ludwig guest professor at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts.

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