Krakow Photomonth Festival 2019

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  • Friday, May 24, 2019 - Sunday, June 23, 2019

Theatre

Freedom of expression, themes and forms – “like we like it”!

The phrase inspires this year's Krakow Photomonth Festival. Although the official opening is held during the last weekend of May, Bunkier Sztuki and MOCAK have been hosting the first three presentations since late April. The Main Programme comprises nine exhibitions, and – in a step away from previous years – it doesn’t have a single curator. “We prepared the programme collectively. Our main focus was experiencing photography – photography we like and photography which makes an impression on us, stirs our emotions, stays with us for a long time. We don’t shy away from important topics concerning our daily lives or from asking questions about the role of photography in addressing contemporary social issues,” says Agnieszka Olszewska, director of Photomonth.

Controversies and contrasts
Presented at MOCAK, the cycle LEBENSMITTEL by the German photographer Michael Schmidt was created when the author travelled around Europe between 2006 and 2010. Images of livestock ranges, abattoirs, farms, plantations and processing plants paint an uncomfortable picture of contemporary food production, entirely dedicated to standardisation and efficiency. Works by authors invited by Natasha Christia to participate in the exhibition You Are What You Eat at Bunkier Sztuki (Simon Brugner, Sinem Dişli, Klaus Pichler, Andy Sewell, Henk Wildschut and Ksenia Yurkova) explore issues of mass food production and inhumane treatment of animals. What are the links between food and politics when the very way we eat and the language used to describe it are frequently an ideological manifestation? Stefanie Moshamer, author of the exhibition Land of Black Milk held at Nuremberg House, took her camera to Rio de Janeiro in 2016 – not to admire the Olympics, but to explore unexpected colour in favelas surrounding the flourishing Brazilian metropolis. Anna Orłowska was commissioned by the festival to head to Nowa Huta in search of paradoxes of post-war architecture in Poland in which social realist ideology clashed with the fascination of the symbolic vision of the former palace. The resulting exhibition Pompier, Muck, Socrococo, is shown at MOCAK.

Feminine perspective
We see the world through the eyes of Joanna Helander – Polish photographer, author and translator who emigrated to Sweden following the political turmoil of 1968. After five years, she started returning regularly, with the trips becoming the main source of inspiration in her art. The exhibition Ladies Looking: Photographs 1976-2012 at the Dom Esterki of the Ethnographic Museum is a poetic tale about women from the author’s circles and about her own complicated, messy Polish, German, Silesian and Jewish roots.

Different aspects of photography
The exhibition Monomyth/Mikado at Szara Kamienica Gallery juxtaposes projects by Filip Berendt and Igor Omulecki, using different media. Berendt’s works, comprising black-and-white photos and colourful geometric blocks, are a record of the artist’s personal journey in search of a myth uniting all cultures. Omulecki’s cycle of photographs, photo-objects and virtual sculptures takes us through the creative process with images of nature and technology. In turn, the cycle of Andrzej Steinbach’s group portraits Gesellschaft beginnt mit drei at the ZPAF Gallery uses the example of the shifting relationship between the three subjects to illustrate the mechanisms governing contemporary society. The exhibition Cloud at the Museum of Photography in Krakow revisits archival photos from the collection of curator Wojciech Nowicki. Finally, actor and photographer Tomasz Tyndyk reveals the latest instalment of his fascinating  at Galeria Pauza.

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As well as the Main Programme, the festival also includes #showOFFpower – a presentation of eight debut projects selected through a competition (Henri Airo, Tatiana Bondareva, Mikhail Bushkov, Jan Jurczak, Gregor Kallina, Michał Patycki, Zosia Promińska and Florian Spring) shown at the joint exhibition at Tytano. Photomonth also includes dozens of accompanying events: guided tours, meetings, discussions, workshops and events mainly held during the opening weekend (24-26 May) and during the Portfolio Review weekend (31 May – 2 June). And, as every year, the Krakow Photo Fringe runs alongside Photomonth, presenting photography events held throughout Małopolska.

In a word – like we like it! (Dorota Dziunikowska, “Karnet” monthly)

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