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Želimir Žilnik: Shadow Citizens

Solo exhibition from 19 April – 17 June 2018 at the Edith-Russ-Haus, Oldenburg  

Curated by What, How & for Whom/WHW  

Shadow Citizens offers an insight into the radical film praxis and extensive oeuvre of filmmaker Želimir Žilnik (b. 1942, based in Novi Sad, Serbia) within the 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 Best Film at the 1969 Berlin International Film Festival for Early Works. In the 1970s his films encountered political opposition, and he left Yugoslavia for West Germany, where he realized several independent films, including some of the earliest films dealing with the topic of guest workers.

Želimir Žilnik movie Early Works, 1969, photo: Andrej Popović

The exhibition, which spans five decades of Žilnik’s career, revolves around several of his feature-length films, which anchor numerous short films and excerpts from longer works. These are organized in clusters of interconnected themes that run through Žilnik’s opus and relate to the concept of shadow citizens, such as questions of shadow economies, borders, migration, labor, terrorism, revolutionary fatigue, clashes of parallel modernisms, and more.


The opening weekend film program (April 20–21) at the cinema Cine k will have Želimir Žilnik in attendance.  

Shadow Citizens will travel to Galerija Nova, Zagreb, in November 2018.

A book with commissioned essays by curators and film scholars on Želimir Žilnik’s works will be published in spring 2019.

Shadow Citizens is funded by:


Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art, Katharinenstraße 23, D-26121 Oldenburg, Tel.: +49(0)441/235-3208, Fax.: +49(0)441/235-2161
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Friday 14:00 -18:00, Saturday - Sunday 11:00 - 18:00, Monday closed
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