In 1980, he emigrated to the USA, where he lived for the next fifteen years; first in New York, then in Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh. In New York, back then arguably the world's most fascinating and permissive metropolis, Zownir's peculiar approach to cover the city's multiple-layered day-to-day lunacy was quickly recognised by the local scene and earned him a reputation as the TEUTONIC PHENOMENOGRAPHER (Village Voice).
Shot in moody, expressionistic b/w, Zownir's pictures from that period give a penetrating insight to inner-city sub-cultural spheres, which, in their original local context, have since perished in the boom of the 90s. His lens captured the untamed lust at the gay-parties, just shortly before Aids massively claimed its victims; the futile protest of artists and offbeat performers against the increasing commercialisation of Manhattan; the hopelessness on the Bowery; the shadowy world of hookers, bums, junkies.
During his long residence in America, Zownir worked not only as a photographer but also ventured into filmmaking, an ambition he had held since the mid-seventies. He wrote and directed several short underground films, which were mainly produced by Chosei Funahara, founder of the legendary band 'Plasmatics'.
In Berlin, Zownir's home since his return from Russia, he directed the documentary film BRUNO S. - ESTRANGEMENT IS DEATH, a feature-length portrayal of Bruno S., the backyard musician, painter and main protagonist of Werner Herzog's films THE ENIGMA OF KASPAR HAUSER and STROSZEK. ESTRANGEMENT IS DEATH was shown at the 2003 Berlin Film Festival, and numerous other international film festivals.
The focus on extreme subjects and extraordinary forms of the human condition continued to be the central motivation of Zownir's work.
Miron Zownirs surreal drama feature debut PHANTOMANIE was completed in autumn 2008. For the first time since decades Bruno S. again plays a leading role in in Zownirs movie which is shot in Berlin right now. In the midst of a cold, despising world he gets involved as a lonesome commuter between dream and reality.
Lately he collaborates with Birol Uenel and FM Einheit in setting up intense lectures of his book "Parasiten der Ohnmacht".
TWILIGHT ZONE at Emmanuel Post Gallery, Berlin
Grolmanstrasse 46, 10623 Berlin
January 14 - March 3, 2012, Tuesday - Saturday, 12 - 7 pm