Krakow Photomonth Festival 2020

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  • Thursday, May 21, 2020 - Friday, July 31, 2020

Kraków Filled with Photography

The longest Krakow Photomonth in history has taken over the city!

After five weeks online, the festival has entered its second phase and in July we’ll be able to see exhibitions prepared by curators in their traditional format at museums and galleries. The organisers encourage us to become tourists in our own city and visit Photomonth exhibitions – they have prepared a special online map to help us find our way around!

On stereotypes, capitalism and hospitality
We start at the Main Market Square, where the Szara Kamienica Gallery presents an exhibition by documentary-makers Dyba and Adam Lach Wounded Birds Are Wary (to 26 July) – the visual segment of their latest publication How to Rejuvenate an Eagle. The album is the culmination of their travels all over Poland over the period of three and a half years. Do places seen from a close perspective turn out to be how we imagined them? “You have to remember that in photography – and in Poland in general – nothing is ever exactly how it seems,” notes Michał Łuczak, curator of the exhibition. In any case, what we see when looking at a photo largely depends on the context we bring as viewers. Next we move to the Nośna Gallery in Zabłocie, where the winner of last year’s Portfolio Review Weronika Perłowska presents her project Anger Detracts from Her Beauty (to 26 July). “I hope that the exhibition will challenge stereotypes and taboos of feminism, femininity and emotions – perhaps it will even smash them,” says curator Agnieszka Szuścik. Nośna Gallery is just a few steps away from Galeria i! at Józefińska Street, where Tytus Szabelski recently launched his project AMZN – an “interactive narrative machine and an open source exhibition” ( The author uses Amazon Poland as an example to expose the mechanisms of contemporary capitalism. The Razem Pamoja Foundation, also at Józefińska Street, hosts Karolina Gembara’s exhibition Bow. Exercises in Hospitality (to 26 July). The presentation is the result of a performative photography project with the participation of Cracovians and migrants, held just before the lockdown and recalling Jacques Derrida’s Hostipitality. “If I welcome only what I welcome, what I am ready to welcome, and that I recognise in advance because I expect the coming of the hôte as invited, there is no hospitality…”

Time travel
We return to the left bank of the Vistula and the former Cracovia Hotel – now a branch of the National Museum in Krakow – where we will look for answers to the question To Whom Does the Cosmos Belong? at the exhibition of works of Zygmunt Rytka who passed away two years ago (to 26 July). The intermedia artist combined philosophical and artistic explorations of nature and perception with sardonic reflection on contemporary media and politics. The cycle Photovision takes us back to the period between 1978 and 1983 – the tail end of Gierek-era consumerism, marred by strikes, struggles to legalise the Solidarity trade union and the martial law in Poland. With increasing propaganda and manipulation of the media, Rytka created his project by taking photos of a TV screen. The photographs (he took over five thousand!) come together into a stream of unsettling images, as though pulled from the collective consciousness of contemporary society. The Tytano gallery takes us on a journey in time: Lena Dobrowolska and Teo Ormond-Skeaping’s Future Scenarios shows four hypothetical climate forecasts for our planet. The video installation was created in response to Shell’s documentary New Lens on the Future. Mountains and Oceans and the report on growing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere prepared as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the projected temperature increases by 2100. Tytano also presents eight premiere projects selected as part of the ShowOFF competition. The authors take a close look at the realities of the present day, turning them into fascinating themes in their works: from the increasingly fluid concept of identity in the current world, via explorations of childhood emotions, to Polish-Jewish relations and a challenge to the mythology surrounding Józef Piłsudski. All exhibitions at Dolnych Młynów Street are open to 19 July. The ShowOFF section is accompanied by the cycle The Sound of ShowOFF, with Agnieszka Obszańska taking audiences on audio tours of the exhibitions with artists and curators. But as we enjoy the physical exhibitions, let’s not forget the ongoing online events (all activities are listed on Facebook and YouTube)!

Emotions and premonitions
Artists taking part in the I Do Not Share with Anyone explore the idea that photography as a medium is inadequate in expressing emotions. The video and photo exhibition, prepared by curator Adam Mazur, was originally going to be shown at Bunkier Sztuki; however, it has since been moved to online channels used by the artists and their followers. At the end of the project, the collection will be put together into an online album. Sebastian Cichocki and Jagna Lewandowska, curators of the exhibition Wonders in the Heavens and on the Earth, present prophetic artists anticipating and describing changes in the natural world; their works will be made available online in the coming months. The final format of the exhibition – a physical publication – will comprise of documentation of all performances.

Although all exhibitions have closing dates, photography is not about to leave Kraków’s galleries: entries were open for the Krakow Photo Fringe until 6 July, forming a traditional accompaniment to Krakow Photomonth as projects and exhibitions throughout the city. The festival may have started late, but it will last until 30 September! (Dorota Dziunikowska)

All exhibitions open: Thu-Fri 3-7pm, Sat, Sun 11am–7pm



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