Although the full summer, the Leica 6×7 Gallery Warsaw invites you to a new exhibition. This time, Alicja Biała will present her works from the Poland project, which is an extensive presentation of photo collages from the Polish Cut-Outsseries.
The works of Alicja Biała from the Poland series consist of symbols, motifs and emblems that construct the collective identity of Poles. The artist uses photos she finds on the Internet, family archives, press clippings as well as her photos taken for the project.
The image of Poland in these Biała’s photo collages does not look very optimistic: “Cut up and glued just anyhow, on the hangover, chaotically rattled off. And it is not known how come it is still held together,”– says the artist.
Alicja Biała’s Polish Cut-Outs photo collages were created as a visual material for Marcin Świetlicki’s poems Poland (A Set of Patriotic Songs)and finally turned into a performative action Poland Without Offense, referring to the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining its independence. Referring to the tradition of peregrination, selected works are travelling across the country, causing talks about contemporary Poland and Poles.
The exhibition at the Leica 6×7 Gallery Warsaw will present the originals of photo collages from and outside the book as well as new works that have been created recently. The exhibition will also include the works wandering around the country. Their long journey and numerous adventures will be presented through a site-specific installation prepared especially for the exhibition.
Alicja Biała – based in London (United Kingom) | illustrator, graphic designer and visual artist | graduated from Via University College and The Copenhagen School of Design and Technology in Denmark | student of The Royal College of Art in London | her work has been awarded and exhibited internationally, as well as featured in numerous publications | author of illustrations to the poems by Marcin Świetlicki, published in the book Poland (A Set of Patriotic Songs) (Lusowo: Wydawnictwo Wolno, 2018).
- Alicja Biała – Marcin Świetlicki Meeting on July 27 at 6.00 PM
- Artist’s talk on September 13 at 6.00 PM
The Alicja Biała exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
This year’s edition of Fotofestiwal, which touches upon the issues of nature and humanity, contributes to the global ongoing debate on environmental awareness. Scope of activity of the artists and curators creating the festival goes beyond simply documentation, it also includes exploration of nature’s change in the ethical, political and historical context. Fotofestiwal 2018 delves deep not only into the environmental problems plaguing today’s world, but also the solutions which are supposed to hold a key to human race’s survival and to offer us a unique chance to relish in the power of nature in all its glory.
This year’s edition of Fotofestiwal encompasses: almost 30 exhibitions; over 100 guests; 2 competitions: Grand Prix Fotofestiwal and Photobook of the Year; International Photography Night organised in collaboration with Futures – European Photography Platform; Three Hugger, the spectacular art installation in a public space; 2 portfolio reviews aimed at professional and emerging photographers; film section; Parallel – European Photo Based Platform project; educational programme; series of workshops; meetings; slideshows; concerts; and Fotofestiwal Kids.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch of almost 192 million pounds worth of marine debris is floating somewhere in the ocean between California and the Hawaiian Islands. The patch, five the size of Poland, causes the extinction of over 5 thousand animal species a year. It has already wiped out over 95 percent of the organisms in the Great Barrier Reef. Within the next couple of years, we will most probably witness the death of the entire coral reef. An exponential number of research lends credence to the irreversible human impact on the current state of the environment. In the wake of the 18th century agricultural revolution, humanity has established its dominance over animals, nature and its resources. As a result, some experts argue that we already live in the so-called Anthropocene – the human epoch – although a scientific debate about the actual gravity of our environmental footprint on earth, which would justify its announcement, remains unresolved. Nevertheless, the Anthropocene has not only become an environmental and humanist buzzword, but also a point of reference for many contemporary artists.
Human Nature is the title of the exhibition programme comprising seven solo shows and one group show that together build a narrative about the human relation to nature. Some of the art projects emphasise people’s devastating impact on the environment, while other propose solutions to the most burning ecological issues. A majority of artists based their projects on an extensive research, consulted scientific journals, articles and archives, collaborated with experts in various fields, as well as participated in the science expeditions. They’re all actively engaged in disseminating their findings concerning the plight of Anthropocene.
Human Nature will stage the presentation of Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation by Mathieu Asselin, which premiered at Les Rencontres de la Photographie in Arles, France. Last year, the widely-discussed and critically acclaimed art project most likely received the highest accolades in the field, such as the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Award. Mathieu Asselin’s investigative reportage about the history of Monsanto, one of the largest biotechnology corporations in the world, bears testimony to the havoc its practices have wreaked on nature, climate change, global environmental policies, communities and people’s lives. -> Read an interview with Mathieu Asselin and see his project @ doc! photo magazine vol. Q9 #44.
Claudius Schulze decided to examine the way natural catastrophes and the threat of climate change affect the picturesque landscape you’ve probably seen a million times before on postcards and in vacation photo albums. The photographer packed his 4×5 large format camera into a van, along with his cat, and took a 31 thousand miles journey along the coast of Europe in order to raise awareness of natural disaster management’s influence on the shape of landscapes. -> See Claudius Schulze’s project Statue of Nature @ doc! photo magazine vol. Q9 #44.
Mandy Barker, an award-winning British photographer, recipient of many awards, including IPA and Lens Culture Earth Award, among other, specialises in aerial shots of oceanic plastic debris depicted as ‘marine creatures.’ Her works were exhibited at such institutions as the Aperture Foundation in New York City, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Photographers’ Gallery in London.
Another esteemed guest of Fotofestiwal will be Dornith Doherty, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow. For a decade, she has studied the largest seed banks in the world in collaboration with renown biologists. Her impressive oeuvre encompasses, for instance, the series of intriguing x-ray images of seeds.
One of the festival exhibitions presents Christmas Island, Naturally, an art project of Robert Zhao Renhui (-> doc! #26), a Singaporean visual artist whose series of photographs portrays the natural environment of animals and plants. The founder of the Institute of Critical Zoologists is well-versed in the most recent developments in biological research, as well as the role of nature in the equivocal and marginal aspects of human life. Robert works together with scientists, zoologists and botanists, which to be fair does not guarantee the authenticity of his photographs.
Inter-Species Conservation is a title of the exhibition featuring works by the Polish women artists: Joanna Rajkowska, Karolina Grzywnowicz and Anna Zagrodzka. The exhibition examines the notion of Anthropocene and visual representation of nature in art.
Furthermore, the finalists of the Grand Prix Fotofestiwal 2018, selected from the total of 630 applicants living in 59 countries, will participate in their long-awaited joint exhibition. The unveiling of the finalists’ art projects is the most prominent and exciting event of the festival since the winner of the Main Prize (PLN 10,000.00) will be announced during the exhibition opening.
Apart from the festival centres, a variety of associated events will be held in a majority art galleries and cultural institutions in Łodź, which became our official partners. It is worth mentioning two of them here. Vienna House Andel’s Łódź, which will traditionally host the first public presentation of the DEBUTS project’s laureates (-> Saturday, June 23 at 7.00 PM), and Imaginarium Gallery, where the long-awaited premiere of the second book by Hubert Humka (-> doc! #37) – Death Landscapes (Warsaw: BLOW UP PRESS, 2018) will take place (-> Sunday, 24 June at 5.00 PM).
This year’s film programme also revolves around the theme of nature. A new feel-good film section features significant milestones in the history of nature-themed celluloid entertainment: from Percy Smith’s visual flair scored by Tindersticks – Minute Bodies: The Intimate World of F. Percy Smith (dir. by Stuart A. Staples; UK: BFI, 2016) and the BBC’s Planet Earth II (dir. by David Attenborough; UK: BBC One, 2016) , through Hitchcock’s classic The Birds (dir. by Alfred Hitchcock; USA: Universal Pictures, 1963) and independent films of San Francisco from the VHS era, to the midnight screenings. Our line-up features the latest documentaries about photographers, such as Faces Places (dir. by JR and Agnès Varda; France: Le Pacte, 2017), Master and Tatyana (dir. by Giedre Zickyte; Lithuania: MEED Films, 2015), and Instant Dreams (dir. by Willem Baptist; the Netherlands: Cinema Delicatessen, 2017), a film about people trying to keep their dreams of instant photography alive.
The special section devoted to our viewers’ educational experience, prepared in collaboration with the University of Łódź, embraces multimedia presentations, film screenings, temporal events and meetings with artists/experts in ecology. Additionally, a well-stocked reading room will give our audience members an open access to the artistic and scientific publications on nature, environment protection and sustainability.
The International Festival of Photography FOTOFESTIWAL ŁÓDŹ is one of the leading festivals of photography in Europe, held in high regard due to its incredible energy and astonishing art shows orchestrated in the post-industrial venues around the city of Łódź, which have been attracting an impressive audience for several years now. It presents some of the most fascinating phenomena in contemporary photography. Professionals are offered an opportunity to hone their skills during workshops and portfolio reviews, while children may enjoy learning a thing or two on how take pictures and approach photography.
More info @ fotofestiwal.com
International Festival of Photography FOTOFESTIWAL ŁÓDŹ
June 21 – July 1, 2018
@ Art_Inkubator (@ Art Factory; 3 Tymienieckiego St., Łódź, Poland)
@ OFF Piotrkowska Centre (138/140 Piotrkowska St., Łódź, Poland)
The 17th edition of the International Festival of Photography FOTOFESTIWAL ŁÓDŹ is organised under doc! photo magazine media patronage.
Over ten years ago, a premiere of Bogdan Konopka’s exhibition took place at Centre Pompidou in Paris (France). Back then, the group of photographs was shown under the title Paris, Unvisible City(Paris La Ville Invisible). Today we can discover new stories of the similar kind, registered with the same tool – 8×10 camera. The photographs tell stories about Paris, Nice, Arles and Verzy forest. They are narratives of places, spaces and objects. Their leitmotif is love for light and deep understanding of fragility of photography as a medium.
‘Each photograph by Bogdan Konopka is like a tale on light. It is produced using the contact method – from the negative put directly on the paper,’– says Mateusz Palka, author of an essay about Bogdan Konopka’s work. – ‘In order to well-perceive these small pictures, one needs to get as close as possible. In a result the viewer immerse him or herself in them, like in narrow, dark tunnels in which you can see little, or rather only what is important. They are like photo-fragments, time gaps that we are falling into.’
The exhibition title, Lessons of Darkness(Leçons de Ténèbres), is inspired by music composition by François Couperin, which traditionally is a part of celebrations of Dark Matis, an event before Easter. This specific music set the time of print development for Konopka. It is also a metaphor of working in darkroom. For the artist, it is a ritual – the moment during which ‘the picture is born.’
Darkness is an inseparable companion of light: ‘In fact, photography in its elementary sense does not mean operating with light, but shadow; the shadow, which defines light. There is one more shadow that complements photography: the shadow of its author and their time. The photographer directs images from darkness into light. And it is there that we learn whether images in “Lessons on Darkness” may become works of art. Sometimes it happens so…’– says Bogdan Konopka.
A photo album of the same title, containing black and white photographs by Bogdan Konopka and essays by Adam Mazur and Tomasz Palka, accompanies the exhibition.
Bogdan Konopka(b. 1953) | based in Paris (France) | started to photograph in the 1970s | prefers working with silver photography, mostly large-format | specialises in photographing urban tissue and landscapes| one of the creators of the ‘elementary photography’ trend (1982-1985) founded at the Foto-Medium-Art Gallery in Wrocław (Poland) | his works can be found in collections of many museums, including Centre Pompidou, Fonds National d’Art Contemporain (both in Paris, France), Musée de L’Elysée in Lausanne (Switzerland), Museum of Art in Łódź (Poland), and the National Museum in Wroclaw (Poland), among others | nominated for the Niépce Award (1994 and 1995) | laureate of the Grand Prix de la Ville de Vevey (1998) | awarded the Gloria Artis Bronze Medal of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (2017) | has been featured in many prestigious magazines, including contra doc! (cd! #3) | represented by Françoise Paviot Gallery.
Bogdan Konopka – LEÇONS DE TÉNÈBRES
@ Leica 6×7 Gallery Warsaw ( 3 Mysia St., Warsaw, Poland)
Opening reception: June 8 at 7.00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public between June 9 and July 22, 2018
- Artist’s talk on June 9 at 6.00 PM
- Guided tour on June 30 at 6.00 PM
The Bogdan Konopka exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine media patronage.
Migration to contemporary Europe and within its borders, the invisibility and intangibility of digital data, and urgent environmental issues. The sixteenth edition of Krakow Photomonth weaves together narratives and images in order to interrogate the ‘space of flows.’ Through the rise of the network society, a real virtuality became visible, making us aware that we are no longer just living in a ‘space of places.’
The festival, one of Europe’s biggest and most important photography-related ventures, is also one of the largest recurring events dedicated to visual arts in Poland. The Main Programme of this year’s Photomonth was put together by Iris Sikking, an independent curator, film editor, and photography historian. In her work, she has focused primarily on photography and video art, which she considers to be complementary media.
Main Programme – Space of Flows. Framing an Unseen Reality
The programme derives its thematic approach from the concept of the ‘space of flows’ as set forth by the Spanish sociologist Manuel Castells in his seminal 1996 volume The Rise of the Network Society. Two decades later, one could say that we exist in exactly such a society: a networked one, defined as an open, borderless, and intangible entity, in constant flux and an ever shifting shape. It is our shared experience that we are all part of an enmeshed whole that provokes and confronts us on a near-daily basis with events unfolding in faraway locales. As we take note of them via our screens in the form of a tweet, an image, or a video they evade traditional geographic boundaries and notions of localness. And the speed with which people, goods, information, and pollutants are distributed and disseminated is so rapid that it is sometimes impossible to distinguish between catalyst and consequence. Moreover, how should we judge a message on our screen? Can we really see and understand what is going on?
To distinguish between the myriad focuses of the artists’ projects, they have been divided into three chapters:
- migration to and within contemporary Europe;
- the invisibility and intangibility of digital data;
- urgent environmental issues.
Conflicts, unemployment, and lack of prospects have forced untold thousands of people to leave behind their homes, belongings, and loved ones. Refugee or migrant, they undertake an often perilous journey to promised lands where they find themselves at risk of being detained and targeted by the rhetoric of populist political movements. Europe finds itself divided between the liberal values of tolerance and the nostalgia of those who crave a return to a fantasised past in which ‘everything was known.’
Meanwhile, in an etheric elsewhere, our data hover invisibly in an artificial ‘cloud,’ or else whizz in the blink of an eye through cables snaking underground and undersea. In truth, the vast majority of us don’t have a clue what happens to our data after their transformation into bits and cascading scrolls of zeroes and ones. Computer programmers, cryptocurrency experts, and bitcoin speculators have little interest in making their shadowy realm more transparent or comprehensible to the layperson. The rest of us are left in the dark as to what exactly happens to the digitised facsimiles of ourselves, once rendered and uploaded. What subcutaneous layer, for example, do we unwittingly expose when we pass through an airport’s body scanner?
And although ‘wild nature’ has been reduced in many latitudes to a contradiction in terms, it is still a quality we seek out and yearn to experience. In some regions of the world in which a highly cultivated natural environment is mistaken for its original state, we have been disrupting natural processes for ages. Heavy industries such as mining, the presence of nuclear power plants, and what goes under the name of forest management have had a profound, and in many cases irreversibly deleterious effect on the well-being, and long-term vitality of both human and animal habitats.
“The visual artists taking part in this edition of Photomonth are unique in their ability to unravel the present, while simultaneously accounting for the past and imagining possible futures,” – says Iris Sikking. – “In the heavily charged image culture of our contemporary societies, we are in need of artists who are able to frame complex realities in ways that push us out of our comfort zones, and that motivate us to reflect upon our own deep-seated and perhaps unacknowledged anxieties and attitudes toward the unknown, the unseen, and the overlooked, in our own geographical or virtual backyards. The frame and focus that the visual artists offer on this ‘unseen reality’ works as an interlude, and distinguishes a fragment of its pristine or proposed reality.”
Edmund Clark, Mark Curran, Agata Grzybowska (doc! #42), Antoinette de Jong & Robert Knoth, Eva Leitolf, Michał Łuczak, Rune Peitersen, Agnieszka Rayss (doc! #5 & cd! #3), Jules Spinatsch, Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber, and Salvatore Vitale are only a few of the artists that will present their projects at Krakow Photomonth, projects intended to encourage the viewers to broaden their thinking and transcend their prejudices. Their works will provoke a more deliberate, flexible, and empathetic response to the problems faced by humankind. The festival’s key themes will include tensions, a proclivity for detachment, and fear-induced exclusion of the unknown, the inability to impose any semblance of control on the mass migration of people, the movement of information and substances, in both – the real and the virtual world.
Another, equally important part of Krakow Photomonth is the ShowOFF section, which will feature debut projects selected in an open competition by renowned experts in visual arts: Filip Ćwik (doc! #18), Karol Hordziej, Jenny Nordquist, and Karolina Puchała-Rojek. The eight winners whose projects will be showcased at the collective exhibition hosted at the Tytano Foundation premises on Dolnych Młynów Street in Krakow include: Valeria Cherchi (Italy), Antonina Gugała (Poland), Laura Ociepa (DEBUTS 2016; Poland), Rafa Raigón (Spain), Ksenia Sidorova (Russia), Jakub Stępień (Poland), Anna Tiessen (Germany), and Marta Wódz (Poland).
The events accompanying Photomonth are also an important part of the festival. Particular notable is the series of discussion panels focused on the three main themes of the festival. The panels will be staffed by artists, the curator of the Main Programme, as well as specialists representing the festival’s three main thematic fields. The ancillary event programme will be rounded out with book premieres, workshops, presentations, film screenings, and curator-led tours.
The Portfolio Review is an opportunity for up-and-coming artists to have their works reviewed by renowned specialists in their fields. Involvement with the Review is also an opportunity, particularly for ambitious artists, to establish a valuable network of contacts that could lead to future collaborations and gigs. Every year, around one hundred artists submit their work for review, of whom a final thirty are chosen and invited to Krakow to showcase their work in the Review.
Krakow Photo Fringe is a democratic platform showcasing a range of interesting photography-oriented events from the entire Małopolska region that take place in parallel with Photomonth. Photo Fringe attendees will have the opportunity to see works created by widely renowned and acclaimed artists as well as the rising stars of the art world. Krakow Photo Fringe offers artists an opportunity to showcase their work before a broader audience, while the audience, in turn, gets a very up-to-date and comprehensive look at the state of modern photography. Check the full list of this year’s Krakow Photo Fringe exhibitions @ www.krakowfringe.com
Symposium Why Exhibit? Provoking Questions About Exhibiting (Extended) Photography provides a platform for discussion of developments within the photographic medium and how these impact artistic, theoretical, and curatorial knowledge and practice. All the symposium participants, including Lisa Barnard, Edmund Clark, Nicòlo Degiorgis, Doris Gassert, Taco Hidde Bakker, Michał Łuczak, Krzysztof Pijarski, Karolina Puchała-Rojek, Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger, Agnieszka Rayss, Susan Schuppli, Iris Sikking, Jules Spinatsch, Anne Tellgren, and Lars Willumeit, aim to challenge, reassess, and diversify the specific grammar produced by presenting photo-based works. Through focusing not only on museums, but also on public spaces, catalogues, and digital environments, the symposium proposes current forms of exhibiting and curating photographic images and art as a discursive space – especially one perceived as an arena that reacts to major social phenomena, and could potentially act as a starting point for intellectual and emotional knowledge production.
More info and detailed calendar of the festival @ photomonth.com
COMING SOON: Our recommendations for selected exhibitions from the 2018 Krakow Photomonth’s Main Programme. Stay tuned!
Krakow Photomonth 2018
@ Cracow (Poland)
May 25 – June 24, 2018
If countries could be theatrical genres, then today’s Republic of Macedonia should be pictured as an operetta with elements of a surrealist tragicomedy. For the purpose of its staging a proper setting already exists: the city of Skopje, which is, by coincidence, also the country’s capital.
Everything is illusive here: huge sailing ships remain attached to the bottom of the shallow river. They are not going anywhere as they are made of concrete. Monumental ancient buildings are nothing more than just plaster dummies covering grey facades of edifices that are 50 years old at most. Monuments spring up like mushrooms, but to commemorate whom – nobody knows. Officially, the 24-metre monument erected in Skopje’s main square in an anonymous ‘Warrior on a Horse.’ Who is he? Who did he fight with? What army did he lead? Nobody would say it loud, but everybody knows that it’s Alexander III of Macedon, the legendary ancient king, whose legacy is a key issue also for the Greeks; or maybe for the Greeks above all. They treat all Macedonia’s references to Philip and Alexander as blatant provocations and until today disagree for their north-eastern neighbour to use the name ‘Macedonia.’
Michał Siarek’s Alexander documents short-lived yet turbulent history of an attempt to coin a new national myth uniting this ever divided, ethnically and religion-wise, Balkan country. Trying to cover up its passivity regarding internal and external challenges and difficulties, the populist Macedonian government (2006–2016) decided to bid on a symbolic gesture: the politics of memory daringly combining today’s modern Macedonia with the ancient leader Alexander the Great. Their project turned out to be not only absurd but very dangerous: in response and protest against the politics of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, Greek nationalists (who claim exclusive rights to everything related to the name ‘Macedonia’) managed to gather crowds larger than those that took to the streets of Athens in 2011 to express anger following the country’s debt crisis.
In his project, Michał Siarek compiles two aspects of this myth-creating effort: first of them being an architectural transformation following the ‘antiquisation’ policy, which wants to cover modernist buildings with some ancient-like facades, with the second – transcription of the so-called ‘tapes,’ overheard conversations of the politicians from the ruling party (national populists). The whole thing looks like a pastiche of a mediocre operetta: on the one hand we have kitschy and sloppily assembled decorations, and on the other – real opinions of cynical creators of this play (politicians), who don’t even try to hide the fact that they don’t believe in even one act of their performance.
Tapes played a big role in the spectacular fall of the populists. The current government is slowly dismantling all theatre decorations erected by their predecessors. Pseudo-marble facades and monuments are disappearing, and above all – the Alexander is slowly gone. The motorway leading from Skopje to the border with Greece has already had its name changed from ‘Alexander the Great’ to ‘Friendship.’ Satirical photomontage on the Internet shows a damaged sign that says ‘Former Alexander the Great Motorway,’ which sounds just like ‘Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’ as the country was called for some time. The country still remains without an official, universally accepted name of its own.
The exhibition is accompanied by the premiere of the Michał Siarek’s book Alexander: Forging Utopia, being a story based on the relationship between politics, history and culture, centred around the construction of a national myth in the (Former Yugoslav) Republic of Macedonia, a state with no name, fixated on the dispute about origins so distant that they may have never existed at all.
Michał Siarek (b. 1991) | based in Łódź (Poland) | documentary photographer and graduate of the Łódź Film School’s Faculty of Photography | laureate of many awards, including The New East Photo Prize (UK), BZ WBK Press Foto (Poland), and Fidal Youth Photography Award (France).
Michał Siarek – ALEXANDER
@ IFF Gallery (Fort Mokotow, 99 Racławicka St., Warsaw, Poland)
Opening reception: May 18 at 7.00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public between May 19 and July 8, 2018
The Michał Siarek exhibition is a part of accompanying events of the 2018 Krakow Photomonth Festival.
The Open Space exhibition is an initiative of graduates of the Warsaw School of Photography and Graphic Design. It consists of 50 works of seventeen photographers summarising their current creative path. Each photographer experiences the surrounding reality in different way, making the exhibition very sensitive and diversified. Although internally so diverse, all works share a common denominator: “I think, therefore I photograph. I photograph, therefore I feel.”
“For many years, I walked through life with my eyes closed, wandering between known reality and unconscious longing,” – says Matylda Rosłaniec, one of the photographers, explaining the exhibition idea. – “Despite the uncertainty, I take the camera, my senses sharpen. I am opening myself. I need photography to shape the world the way I see it. This is my Open Space.”
Exhibited photographers: Witold Boczewski, Paweł Brzuszek, Joanna Frukacz, Karolina Komosa, Anna Koperska, Magda Lassota, Aga Lewandowska, Żaneta Lipiec, Beata Mazurek, Magdalena Michalik, Matylda Rosłaniec, Paulina Rutyna, Luiza Sierpińska, Jakub Sosnowski, Beata Sterczewska, Anna Tomaka-Magdoń, and Kasia Zawodzińska.
More info @ www.wystawaprzestrzenotwarta.com (in Polish language version only)
The Open Space exhibition is organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
Sergey Melnitchenko (Ukraine), Jordan Gale (USA), Anna T. Pfeiffer, and Ewa Doroszenko (both from Poland) have been selected by the DEBUTS jurors as their personal picks from the group of 20 winners of this year’s edition of the project awarding the most talented emerging photographers in the world.
One of the novelties of this year’s edition of DEBUTS is a personal pick by each juror. The members of the jury were asked to chose one submission they considered the best. Sergey Melnichenko from Ukraine, whose application was indicated by two jurors: Elviera Velghe, director of the Museum of Photography in Antwerp (Belgium), and Peter Bauza, a photographer-documentalist from Germany, can be considered the greatest DEBUTS laureate. Here is what they wrote in their justifications:
“The submission by Sergey Melnichenko is my personal favourite because the quality of each photo project is very high. The three projects are three times different. But it proofs to me that the photographer may vary, but still keeps his skills on top. The projects overwhelmed me by their atmosphere that grabs me by the throat. Every project shows a high original potential with beautiful, rich photography. In ‘Behind the Scenes’ the photographer gets us an insight of an emotional aspect of burlesque theatre. It is very intimate; gorgeous photos with extremal colours and contrasts. Even though the theme of ‘Passengers’ is not complicated, the photos keep stuck in my memory. In the last project ‘Polaroids from China Part II Monochromes’ every photo is a piece of art. I love the way the photographer approaches a topic with an adjusted photographic style. Sergey has a sharp photographic eye, sensitive enough to get the composition right, the contrasts good and excellent narrative photos.” (Elviera Velghe)
“It was not easy to review, score, and then narrow down all the many brilliant entries, with a high standard. But among the many impressive submissions for the DEBUTS contest this year, the artist of ‘Behind the Scenes,’ ‘Passengers’ and ‘Polaroids’ was able to maintain a style, a story, and a narrative. Sergey Melnichenko has a bright and above-average language and is able to express his emotions and feelings.” (Peter Bauza)
Sarker Protick, photographer and World Press Photo winner from Bangladesh, has recognised submission by Anna Pfeiffer, a Polish citizen living in Italy, as his favourite one. He wrote about it:
“An approach of Anna Pfeiffer to photography is smart, intelligent and playful at the same time. I am impressed by the quality of her portfolio which consists of three different projects, all having an effort to reinvent from one another while still having a strong personal attachment to the subject matters. These body of works also has interesting possibilities to present in many different forms of book and exhibitions.”
The favourite of Isabella van Marle of the Unseen Amsterdam festival is another Pole – Ewa Doroszenko. In her justification one can read:
“I have chosen Ewa Doroszenko’s proposal as my favourite because it was the most outstanding and surprising one. I find it very clever how the photographer translates criticism on society in an artistic manner. The projects are reflecting on the meaning of images in the digital age. New technologies such as virtual reality and beauty apps are shifting our perception of what nature and beauty are. The proposal has a clear message and is creatively constructed. ‘The Promise of Sublime Words’ is my aesthetical favourite.”
The DEBUTS originator and editor-in-chief of doc! photo magazine quarterly, Grzegorz Kosmala, pointed to the application of Jordan Gale from the USA, about which he wrote:
“I am very impressed by the applications for this year’s edition of DEBUTS. Choosing the one was really difficult. My favourite is Jordan Gale, who although submitted only one project, delighted me with the sincerity of speech and the way of conducting his narrative. It takes a lot of courage to talk about yourself and your loved ones in this way, especially when their past is marked by dark episodes. The more I appreciate the fact that Jordan has allowed us into his world. His project is not only a story about the family, but also a picture of the contemporary American province.”
The laureates of the fifth edition of DEBUTS are: Kirsten Leah Bitzer (USA), Michele Crameri (Switzerland), Ilaria Di Biagio (Italy), Ewa Doroszenko (Poland), Jean-Félix Fayolle (France), Jordan Gale (USA), Ilias Georgiadis (Greece), Mirek Kaźmierczak (Poland), Paweł Łączny (Poland), Raj Lalwani (India), Camille Lévêque (France), Sergey Melnitchenko (Ukraine), Filippo M. Nicoletti (Italy), Valentyn Odnoviun (Lithuania), Anna T. Pfeiffer (Poland/Italy), Natalia Poniatowska (Poland/United Kingdom), Sergey Stroitelev (Russia), Gihan Tubbeh (Peru), Federico Vespignani (Italy), and Adam Wilkoszarski (Poland).
The first presentation of works of all DEBUTS winners and the premiere of the book will take place traditionally during the International Festival of Photography FOTOFESTIWAL in Łódź (Poland), which starts on June 21 and will last until July 1, 2018.
The newest photography project by Tomasz Wysocki, young and very promising artist, asks some serious existential questions. He creates a subjective vision of consecutive phases of our lives. Birth, growing up, maturity, and old age are captured through the allegorical, full of hidden senses, and meticulously composed photographs. Imagined situations are taking place beyond the time and space. In a result, the maximum effect is built upon the form and hidden anecdote. The precision of the details is astonishing. The overall impression is amplified by the images large-scale format. Last but not least: the anxiety, characteristic for the previous works is still present in The Taste of Cherry series (doc! #43).
On the one hand, The Taste of Cherry could be a continuation of artist’s previous searches. On the other, it opens up new investigations such as conscious and sensitive usage of the light and shadow. The light becomes next character of Wysocki’s images, almost like in expressive Caravaggio’s paintings. The atmosphere of the photographs is serious, almost dark. About the work with models the artist says: “I used to treat people in front of the lens as the form that I set up with a perfect precision in front of the camera. This time, I wanted to work more like a film director. Through attempts, tips, and conversations, I tried to enter the actors into the space of the set design and observe how they find themselves in it, not just imposing the final composition in 100%, as it happened in my previous cycles.”
The process behind The Taste of Cherry was indeed like a movie production. The first scenario and detailed sketches of the scenes were created when Wysocki started his studies at the Łódź Film School’s Photography Faculty few years ago. Each element was meticulously planned. In the meantime, funds for the project were being raised. Wysocki engaged a group of 60 people: actors, set designers, plan managers, make-up artists, costume designers, stuntmen, and video operators. Photo sessions were carried out in Łódź, in a huge 2000 m2 studio.
It is uneasy to track down the aesthetical inspirations inside The Taste of Cherry, but from the practical point of view Wysocki’s methods are similar to those used by masters of photography like Jeff Wall, Gregory Crewdson, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Thomas Demand, or Paweł Bownik. Although Wysocki himself admits to the fascination rather with painting and sculpture: “Egon Schiele, Vermeer, Lucian Freud, Caravaggio – these are the names that are particularly fascinating to me now. It is not so obvious, but I see in their work many staging-related elements that inspire me and which I try creatively use in my work.”
Tomasz Wysocki planned his project with care for details; however, the photographs were designed to leave room for interpretation of the recipient. This is the kind of a statement that can be found in the famous painting Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? by Paul Gaugin. The Taste of Cherry created by Tomasz Wysocki is an original development of thoughts expressed by Gaugin, written on 12 large-format photographs.
Tomasz Wysocki (b. 1990) | based in Łódź (Poland) | student of Photography at the Łódź Film School | deals mainly with staged photography, in which every element of the photographic set is precisely arranged, and photographs are taken without manipulation of the image or photomontage | loves contact with nature, hitchhiking, painting, and talking to people | has shown his works at group and individual exhibitions in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, and Poland | laureate of the Award of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage (2014) and double scholarship holder of the Minister of Science (2014, 2016) | represented by Leica 6×7 Gallery Warsaw.
Tomasz Wysocki – THE TASTE OF CHERRY
@ Leica 6×7 Gallery Warsaw (3 Mysia St., Warsaw, Poland)
Opening reception: April 20 at 7.00 PM
The exhibition will be open to the public between April 21 and June 3, 2018
- Artist’s talk: May 10 at 6.00 PM
- Curatorial guided tour: May 24 at 6.00 PM
We are thrilled to invite you to visit Leica 6×7 Gallery Warsaw booth at the longest running and one of the world’s most prestigious exhibition dedicated to the photographic medium: The Photography Show presented by AIPAD, taking place in New York City.
Leica 6×7 Gallery Warsaw strives to promote Polish artists, presenting their works at international art fairs and exhibitions throughout the world. Following numerous successful presentations in Europe and Asia, the time has come to conquest America. The gallery will present two artists representing different approach to medium, thus showing diversity within the Polish photography: Tomasz Wysocki (doc! #43) and Paweł Żak (cd! #1 & #6).
A master of powerful imagery, mature beyond his age
One of the most talented photographers of the young generation in Europe, Tomasz Wysocki (b. 1990) studied Photography at the Łódź Film School. In New York, he will present a selection of works from his most recent project The Taste of Cherry.
Tomasz creates a surreal, multi-layered visual story in a series of 12 unique images that investigate diverse, yet universal events of human life. He constructs his world and its protagonists within the settings created through a specific frame in mind. Every element is meticulously arranged without any manipulation, while digital editing technology is only used for basic retouching. The unexpected and visionary, The Taste of Cherry proves how dreamed-up landscapes and symbolic visions are being unveiled to the contemporary viewer through the medium of photography.
Tomasz Wysocki is one of the most interesting discoveries of recent years. The first public presentation of his works took place at a group exhibition 45 Frames from PhotoVogue hosted by Italian Vogue at the Leica Gallery in Milan (Italy) in 2015. Since then, he has exhibited in Copenhagen (Denmark), Berlin (Germany), Milan (Italy), Warsaw (Poland) as well as in Paris (France) and recently made his way to China. In New York, Leica 6×7 Gallery Warsaw will also show a selection of works from his Exodus 2064 series.
A master of contemporary still life
And Other Still Lifes by Paweł Żak (b. 1965) constructs an unusual collection of stationary still objects that are bonded together for their composition or symbolic features. Small, lifeless objects are very important topics for painters, but there are a few photographers, who are focused on still life too and Paweł Żak is a real master among them. For over 25 years, Paweł has surprised numerous audiences with his sensitivity and perception. He exhibited his works countless times all over Europe. A week after the show in New York, he will open his solo exhibition in Kyoto (Japan). His works are extremely popular amongst European collectors and institutions, including the National Museum and Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, the Museum of Art in Łódź, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, among others.
“Still life in photography is a double death of things. First, the nature dies and is transformed into art by composition and abstraction. As photography is dead in its essence, it may immobilise both processes of growth and decay. This paradox lays the ground for Paweł Żak’s artworks,” – says a contemporary art critic Adam Mazur on Paweł Żak’s project.
It is a pleasure to announce names of 20 photographers who have been recognised by the DEBUTS 2018 jury as the most talented emerging photographers of the year and invited to the book and travelling exhibition, shown exclusively during the photographic events.
The DEBUTS 2018 winners are (in alphabetical order):
- Kirsten Bitzer (USA)
- Michele Crameri (Switzerland)
- Ilaria Di Biagio (Italy)
- Ewa Doroszenko (Poland)
- Jean-Felix Fayolle (France)
- Jordan Gale (USA)
- Ilias Georgiadis (Greece)
- Mirek Kaźmierczak (Poland)
- Paweł Łączny (Poland)
- Raj Lalwani (India)
- Camille Leveque (France)
- Sergey Melnitchenko (Ukraine)
- Filippo Nicoletti (Italy)
- Valentyn Ondoviun (Lithuania)
- Anna Pfeiffer (Italy)
- Natalia Poniatowska (United Kingdom)
- Sergey Stroitelev (Russia)
- Gihan Tubbeh (Peru)
- Federico Vespignani (Italy)
- Adam Wilkoszarski (Poland)
The first public presentation of the winners and their projects will take place this June (more information to come).
Four of the listed above photographers have also been picked out by the jurors, who this year’s were Peter Bauza (Germany), Grzegorz Kosmala (Poland), Isabella van Marle (the Netherlands), Sarker Protick (Bangladesh), and Elviera Velghe (Belgium), as their personal choice. Their names and the jurors’ justifications will be presented next week.