The theme of this year’s Krakow Photomonth Festival, the seventeenth in its history, is Like We Like It.
Krakow Photomonth represents a commitment to openness, discussion, and exchange. The starting point, the pretext for gathering, is always photography. We live in a visual society, in which awareness and understanding of the functioning, ubiquity, and immeasurable influence of the visual image on each of us is not only food for thought, but a fact of everyday life. With Krakow Photomonth, we aim to participate in and stimulate this ongoing discussion.
This year we decided to emphasise a diversity of photographic endeavours. Developed as a collective effort, the programme will revolve around the experience of photography: pictures we like, pictures we’re impressed and struck by, pictures that stick with us. That does not mean, however, that we are avoiding difficult subjects or shying away from interrogating the role of photography and how it tackles contemporary social issues. Like We Like It is an open-ended collection of stories, images, and questions which, in this place and at this time, feel of pressing relevance to us.
We invited a diverse roster of artists from Poland and abroad to contribute to this year’s programme. With bated breath we peek into the annexed palace interiors explored by Anna Orłowska; consider how women perceive and are perceived by, society through the uniquely perceptive eye of Joanna Helander; and rummage through dusty drawers and closets crammed with old photographs collected by, and here reinterpreted with the curatorial guidance of, Wojciech Nowicki. We pull up a seat at the table to think about what we as eaters-consumers choose to ingest (or not) through the lens of contemporary photography projects that tackle the sins of industrial food production and the inhumane treatment of animals, with help from the artists invited to contribute to a wide-ranging group exhibition curated by Natasha Christia. The mass production of food is also examined in granular detail by the late Michael Schmidt, whose LEBENSMITTEL series fills in some of the gaps in our knowledge of the provenance of the food we eat, the production of which is regulated by standardisation and the dictates of efficiency.
Elsewhere, a Filip Berendt and Igor Omulecki exhibition highlights how sculptural and painterly forms and the photographic image can mutually permeate one another. Further afield, we tag along with the Austrian artist Stefanie Moshammer on a journey into the vibrant and overlooked favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Actor and artist Tomek Tyndyk presents a revamped iteration of his Theatre project, while Andrzej Steinbach intrigues us with his uncommon, variable take on social roles and the group portrait.
As per tradition, Krakow Photomonth will include the ShowOFF Section, a showcase for the work of talented, emerging artists selected via open competition; the fourteenth edition of the festival’s Portfolio Review; and a schedule packed with dozens of accompanying events such as artist meetings, discussions, workshops, and parties.
Above all, the festival and its formula encourage interaction. Come, look, ask, discuss. Let us know what you like!