The 19th edition of the fabulous Kraków Photomonth Festival (Miesiąc Fotografii w Krakowie – MFK) opens on Friday 28th May.
As with many major festivals, this year’s Photomonth will be adapted to suit the current Covid situation, taking place in outdoor spaces and online, with the organisers emphasising that this year’s edition will be ‘open in every respect, – to new forms of presentation, new audiences and new topics’.
This years photomonth runs from Friday 28th May – Sunday 27th June 2021.
This year’s festival resident will be Ada Zielińska, a rising star of Polish photography, who will show at the Szara Gallery a project made for Photomonth, which comments on the artists’ financial situation on the example of projects that have not been implemented due to lack of funds (starting with her first proposal for Photomonth, which was not created for that very reason) .
Since 2001 Kraków Photomonth has grown from humble beginnings to one of the main photo festivals in Europe. The Main Programme consists of exhibitions, meetings, workshops and other accompanying events, together with Show Off , Portfolio review and more.
The ongoing pandemic period has been a challenging, extremely intense time for the organisers of cultural events. On top of constraints required in the interests of public health, the situation has made necessary the introduction of significant changes to the core formula of the festival, setting in motion a search for novel ways of communicating with audiences and staging accompanying events.
This year, exhibitions in galleries and museums will run in parallel with local events involving the residents of Krakow. Guest exhibitions, including those prepared by art school students, will be an integral part of the programme.
‘Our ambition is to produce a festival that is a platform for experimentation and a space for cooperation—a sphere of openness in every respect. We are moving away from monumental, hermetically sealed narratives in favour of microhistories and personal encounters. A good meeting, presentation, slideshow, or happening can have the same impact as a traditional exhibition. The exhibitions will therefore serve as a catalyst for discussion rather than ends unto themselves.’ – Joanna Gorlach and Tomasz Gutkowski of the Foundation for Visual Arts, the organiser of Photomonth
Kraków Photomonth 2021 highlights include:-
Social reality as a tool of rebellion
The exhibition – The Gravity of the Situation, curated by Agnieszka Rayss, which will be presented at Cricoteka (Centre for Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor). The show will demonstrate how social realities become material for artists and a tool for rebellion, using examples ranging from the seminal art collective Łódź Kaliska to projects by young artists such as Agnieszka Sejud, Krzysztof Powierża, and Dominika Gęsicka.
A component of the exhibition will be a programme of educational, interactive, and participatory events carried out in tandem with curatorial teams from festival partners Cricoteka and the Museum of Photography in Krakow (MuFo).
As co-organiser, Cricoteka has incorporated this exhibition into its current programme for 2021, through which it is embracing small-scale narratives and the local, and the need to act in solidarity in the face of crisis. Resulting from political and social tensions, The Gravity of the Situation narrates our new world in a progressive way, using images, tools, and motifs that transform the seemingly banal and hackneyed into gestures of protest
Tomasz Machciński in Manggha. Heroes of pop culture
The Manggha Museum will host an extensive retrospective of photographs (more than 700 works) by Tomasz Machciński, the author of a legendary collection of self-portraits created in a succession of home studios from the 1960s up to the present day.
In his portraits, Machciński assumes the role of famous personages – both historical and invented- in the process overcoming the limitations of his own corporeality and health issues. The exhibition will be the first large-scale presentation of Machciński’s body of work across the decades, including photographs taken between 2006–2018.
History of the world according to animals
Marta Bogdańska’s SHIFTERS project, an expansive survey of modern human history illustrated from the perspective of animals, from spy pigeons to Wojtek the Bear, with the use of archival images.
The show will demonstrate that ‘alternative exhibitions are possible.’ An audiovisual installation at the level of exhibition, SHIFTERS will also take the form of a more than 700-page-long photobook publication. Is SHIFTERS an exhibition-plus-book? Or a book-as-exhibition?
Our successful experiment with last year’s exhibition-book Wonders in the Heavens and on the Earth, edited by Jagna Lewandowska and Sebastian Cichocki, confirmed that this is a concept to continue experimenting with.
The ShowOFF Section, now approaching its thirteenth edition, is a central component of the annual Krakow Photomonth Festival’s programme. With ShowOFF, we devote our attention to debuting artists who, at the beginning of their artistic path, are brimming with potential and on the cusp of being launched into a vibrant career. #showUSyourART
Kraków Photomonth FRINGE 2021
Another example of ‘openness’ is the Fringe Section. Beginning this year, the Fringe programme will serve as a hub for experimentation, and for the exchange of knowledge and gathering of experience. Students from the most prestigious Polish art academies, along with photography groups and activists, have been invited to cooperate. During the selection process, organisers have paid special attention to projects with a local focus, conceived to take place in Krakow courtyards and housing estates and to involve local communities.
‘The Fringe Route’ (programme)
You can find out more about Kraków Photomonth Festival by visiting the following links:
Kraków Photomonth 2021 – Programme Summary
Kraków Photomonth 2021 – Exhibitions
Kraków Photomonth 2021 – Festival Map
Kraków Photomonth 2021 – Social Media:
Krakow Photomonth 2021 Facebook Event
Krakow Photomonth on Instagram
The organisers added the following Covid Note, warning of possible programme changes and advising checking their website and social media (see above).
Due to the developing pandemic situation, we are constantly monitoring all relevant restrictions. The final form of the festival programme, and the accessibility of exhibitions and events as well as their formats, will be adapted as necessary, in accordance with current health guidelines, so as to best ensure the well-being of visitors and participants. Information and updates will be posted on our website (www.photomonth.com) and on our social media pages.
A Scot in Kraków. The founder and editor of Kraków Expats Directory, and our sister sites Kraków TV and Kraków Stories Podcast.
David fell in love with Kraków 24 years ago, making it his home in 2011.
In 2020 he was awarded the title of Kraków’s Ambassador of Multiculturalism, by the President of Kraków, and is also a member of the GlobalScot network, representing Scottish culture and business abroad.
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