“Nothing is true and nothing is false – everything is a possible true fiction or a deceptive fact,” – this is how Gordon MacDonald, the curator of the main programme, writes on images presented during the Krakow Photomonth 2017 Festival, one of the Europe’s most important photographic events. The 15th, jubilee edition of the festival focuses on how photographers see and describe the world.
From the Outside, Looking In is a leitmotif of the festival’s main programme. Its focal point is the concept of a photographer as an observer. Starting from a spontaneous idea of examining a selected subject, the photographer enters into a somewhat closed world, looks in from the outside. It is his or her decision to which extent events can be observed, how deeply they can be penetrated, and how closely they can be examined. But even in the very middle, the artist is always separated from the scrutinised object by a camera. It is the device that records things; perception of the artist, and subsequently the viewers’, it is subject to his or her intellectual background and accumulated knowledge.
“With the series of exhibitions that make up ‘From the Outside, Looking In,’ I have taken the position that photography is always on the outside looking in,” – says Gordon MacDonald. – “With photography, the genesis of a work is often spontaneous, instantaneous, and external. Regardless of the nuance of particular practice or mode, force a feeling of examination, rather than what is widely considered as a more lyrical dialogue within many other art-forms.”
The projects presented under the common title From the Outside, Looking In show us the world while simultaneously balancing between reality and fiction. In the images, nothing is true and nothing is fabricated. Everything is possible. Whether we believe the image, is our own will or decision, our ability to be empathic, or our knowledge of a given field.
Divisive Moments is an exhibition which will test our perception. It will show documents from UFO Photo Archives, poses a question if we are regularly visited by aliens, or we are victims of mass self-manipulation.
Our comprehension is certainly manipulated by artists participating in The War From Here exhibition. They do not document individual war incidents we know from the news or photo reportages – they ask questions how we are connected with war. The presented images will make the viewers be closer to wars which are usually witnessed from a distance, will make them feel instead of just watch.
Further, we will take a look at a history of a small town in West Virginia (USA) told by an American artist, Susan Lipper, through her Grapevine series. Although her pictures seem to fit in the conventional poetics of documentary photography, in fact, Lipper has abandoned the traditional approach allowing her models to play roles and create characters which could be – but not necessarily – identical with themselves.
The work of Diana Lelonek – A New Archaeology for Liban and Płaszów – gives us an opportunity to contemplate the memory of sites and the stories told about ourselves by traces found by the artist in the area of the Liban quarry and a former concentration camp in Płaszów.
At the We Also Dance exhibition, Gordon MacDonald takes us on the journey to an extraordinary world of dance as a manifestation of freedom and an antidote to political and social control of minds and bodies.
This year’s edition of the festival brings several novelties. In addition to the part of the programme prepared by curators, the festival allowed special space for Polish photography. The Things: The Object in Polish Photography exhibition, presented by Collector’s Photography, shows works of outstanding Polish artists of several generations, who present their individual approaches – from a document, to conceptual ideas and photographic objects – to this subject. Photography in its classical form will be shown on the exhibition of Andrzej Georgiew, re-introducing his work and re-discovering this outstanding artist, also in the context of his place in the history of Polish photography. And finally, we will find ourselves in the very middle of theatre events guided by Magda Hueckel.
Another, but of equal importance, part of Krakow Photomonth is the ShowOFF Section presenting premiere projects of young artists selected through an open competition.The open call of this year’s edition of the ShowOFF Section won: Terje Abusdal (Norway), Jan Cieślikiewicz (DEBUTS 2014; Poland), Polina Karpova (Ukraine), Lucie Khahoutian (Armenia), Flor Maesen (Belgium), Viacheslav Poliakov (Ukraine), Kaja Rata (DEBUTS 2015; Poland) and Karolina Wojtas (Poland).
The Portfolio Review organised during the Krakow Photomonth Festival gives the opportunity for its participants to have their works assessed by experts. The reviewers include, as each year, Polish and international critics, gallery owners, artists and theoreticians. During 20-minute individual sessions the review participants may listen to the reviewers’ opinions regarding their works and establish valuable contacts. The best portfolios receive a prestigious prize funded by the Griffin Art Space Foundation – Griffin Art Space Prize – whose aim is to promote interesting and mature art projects. The winner, selected from participants in the Portfolio Review, will be able to create a professional collector’s folder and present his/her work in the form of an exhibition.
Accompanying events make an important part of the festival. The Krakow Photo Fringe is an independent platform bringing together submissions sent in by artists, animators, activists, galleries, and all those who are passionate about photography – including the final exhibition of DEBUTS (edition 2016). The success of the previous editions has led the organisers to expand the Photo Fringe to cover the entire Małopolska region. This year exhibitions and events will take place in Tarnów, Krzeszowice, Myślenice and other localities.
Particular attention should be also paid to the Masters Series. Invited artists and specialists will enrich the discussion around the theme of the festival and will talk about new trends in the world of photography. The program of events is filled out with book premieres, workshops, presentations, film screenings and curators walks.
More info @ photomonth.com
Krakow Photomonth 2017 Festival
@ Cracow (Poland)
May 19 - June 18, 2017
The Krakow Photomonth 2017 Festival is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.