Krakow Photomonth Festival 2012

The jubilee tenth edition of the Krakow Photomonth Festival is now in the books. Krakow Photomonth Festival 2012, which ran throughout the city from May 17 to June 17, marked the realization of an especially ambitious curatorial vision.

This year’s Main Programme embraced the festival’s twinned commitment to presenting that which is of criterion caliber while simultaneously continuing to probe and search for that which feels rawly emergent and unfamiliar.

Of note:

Sally Mann’s The Family and the Land retrospective, in which the great American photographer’s haunting and elegiac landscapes and familial tableaux were hung in the uncannily hushed chambers beneath the Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum;

Memory of the Image, a landmark survey of Jerzy Lewczyński’s oeuvre, spanning more than half a century of experimentation and photographic record-making; Lewczyński, the estimable “archaeologist of photography” himself, was on hand to inaugurate this National Museum in Krakow exhibition by reading from his mother’s century-old diary;

Revolution in Photography, a touchstone Alexander Rodchenko retrospective, also at the National Museum;

The Fidelity of Images, a study of surrealist René Magritte’s excursions into photography, at the International Cultural Centre;

Sergey Bratkov’s exhibit While Men Are at War, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow, which paired “Kids” and “Army Girls”, two of the Ukrainian photographer’s seminal series;

Pictures for looking at and sculpture for photography, in which the meticulous whimsy of Jason Evans turned every square meter of the Association of Polish Art Photographers’ Gallery into an autobiographical reflection of the artist and his rigorously playful preoccupations;

Viviane Sassen’s high noon Parasomnia portraits, meditations, and ambiguous narratives, at Pauza Gallery;

Lieko Shiga’s ecstatic Canary introspections, at the Manggha Museum;

and Live Flesh, or selections from the collection of Cezary Pieczyński, at the Starmach Gallery, which brought together the work of, among many others, Nan Goldin, Larry Clark, and Nobuyoshi Araki.

The Experimental Section was anchored by the Photography in Everyday Life survey, overseen by British curator Charlotte Cotton. This creative laboratory of an exhibit invited the viewing public to roll up its sleeves and participate directly with teams of professional curators, artists, and academics.

Twenty overlapping projects, set up at stations located throughout the Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art, examined, explored, and played with perspectives on the ways in which photography is used on a quotidian basis.

The result was a dynamically evolving workspace environment, in which both curators and viewers, working in concert and in response to each other, helped to actively shape the exhibit over the course of the month-long festival.

Ten exhibitions throughout the city marked the continuation of our ShowOFF programme, which showcases the work of talented young artists who we believe will become noteworthy and established in their own right over the years (and festivals) to come.

The usual smorgasbord of workshops, conferences, artist and author meetings, film screenings, concerts, parties and more ran concurrently throughout the spring.

And this year’s festival was, of course, a birthday as well. The festival therefore also gave us the perfect opportunity to celebrate a decade’s worth of Photomonth exhibitions, ephemeral overlaps, and serendipitous discoveries with many of the artists, curators, visitors, and other co-conspirators who have helped shape the festival and its ethos over the course of ten years.

We asked you to Join Us, and you did.

Thank you!

All best, and be seeing you next year (Photomonth 2013, anyone?),

The Photomonth Team
Krakow, June 2012