Želimir Žilnik. Shadow Citizens
Installation view: Želimir Žilnik. Shadow Citizens, Kunsthalle Wien 2020, photo: © eSeL.at - Lorenz Seidler
With contributions by Ana Janevski and Jurij Meden
In collaboration with the Austrian Film Museum and the Viennale
Shadow Citizens offers an insight into the radical film praxis and extensive œuvre of filmmaker Želimir Žilnik (b. 1942, lives and works in Novi Sad, Serbia) within an exhibition context.
From his beginnings in the lively amateur film scene of Yugoslavia in the 1960s, Žilnik has gone on to make more than fifty films, including a number of feature films and TV productions, often in the genre of docudrama. He received international recognition early on, winning the Golden Bear for the Best Film at the 1969 Berlin International Film Festival for Early Works.
Many of Žilnik’s films have prophetically anticipated real-world events such as the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the economic transition from socialism to a neoliberal order, the elimination of workers’ rights, and the wider social erosion related to labor and migration. The exhibition’s title, Shadow Citizens, reflects Žilnik’s lifelong focus on invisible, suppressed, and under- and misrepresented members of society.