Born in 1973 in Wuppertal, Germany, Tobias Zielony is known for his photographic depiction of juvenile minorities in suburban areas – a subject he already set out with during his studies in Newport. For his first book project “Behind the Block” (2004) he then extended his research to a total of four European cities to observe adolescents in public spaces often during night times. Themes and social realities his research touches upon include structural change, migration and drug abuse, as well as sexwork. His critical approach to documentarism manifests in a specific aesthetic and relationship with fiction. In 2015 Tobias Zielony participated at a group show for the German Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale with his work “The Citizen” (2015).


Hurd’s Bank

Single-channel HD video, 14:55 min, color, sound
Commissioned by the art space Blitz Valetta in Malta.


The 14-minute film deals with oil smuggle on the Maltese coast, the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, and the question of what of it all we can and cannot see. Tobias Zielony went to the far borders of the EU and used a telescope to film movements of ships at Hurd’s Bank, miles away, where tankers from Libya and other ports trade crude oil in international waters, and sell it in questionable ways. He observes a space beyond legality, looking for explanations for the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, the intertwining of the Mafia with politics, the oil trade, corruption and international law. While the images capture the distant sea in front of the island, Malta expands into a space that evades law, creates its own rights, kills and at the same time stays untouched.