Za Żelazną Bramą (Behind the Iron Gate)

Heidrun Holzfeind &

In her documentary, Heidrun Holzfeind portrays the Za Żelazną Bramą residential complex in central Warsaw. Built on the ruins of the former ghetto, this was once considered the epitome of communist architecture, a luxurious and desirable place to live. The artist interviews various inhabitants of the apartment block, either in their homes or on the building’s forecourt. She herself remains anonymous and does not interrupt the narration, making her more a journalist than an artist. In the spatial confinement meet isolation and proximity, lack of prospects and future and frustration and contentment.

Throughout the years, the exterior architecture has not changed, but the inhabitants have organized themselves into their own social community and have fitted out the apartments according to their own needs. Holzfeind draws a comprehensive picture of the inhabitants’ everyday life as a community in this residential complex that seems itself to be a small town, trying to assert itself against Warsaw’s new skyscrapers: all the residents see their future in Za Żelazną Bramą where, for some people, a balcony is the only thing that seems to be missing. (Annette Block)

Co-produced by CCA / Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art
Completed during a residency at air-laboratory, CCA in partnership with Location One

About the video

Title Za Żelazną Bramą (Behind the Iron Gate)
Year 2009
Videonale VIDEONALE.13
Length 00:55:00
Format 16:9
Country Austria, Poland, USA,
Language Polish with English subtitles
Courtesy the artist
Specifications color, sound, single-channel video

About the artist

Heidrun Holzfeind
  • 1972 in Lienz, AUT, lives and works in Berlin, GER.
    Studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, AUT