The big issues of our time – climate change, wars, migration crises, human rights, pandemic, growing social responsibility and waves of protest around the globe, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, bitcoin economy, metaverse or possible cities on Mars are characterizing our days, having a huge impact on the perception of life and the chapter of history we are living. But what does the impact look and feel like, how does it affect the way we create, approach, and conceive arts and photography?
On the Verge features seven young photographers selected from the FUTURES Photography network. The projects presented by Cian Burke, Mark Duffy, Pauline Hisbacq, Julia Klewaniec, Alice Pallot, Daniel Szalai and Ugo Woatzi tell personal and collective stories concerning conflicts, struggles for gender equality, food and ecological sustainability, and the rise of populism and nationalism throughout Europe. All artists present an attitude full of commitment, responsibility and non-indifference. The main question of the exhibition is what kind of art do we need in times of traumas? In times of desperate search for hope?
Pauline Hisbacq’s (France, 1980) project Songs for women and birds is a set of collages elaborated from the archive images of the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp (1981-2000). Here, ordinary women fought peacefully, in single gender, against the installation of nuclear missiles by the United States. Scissor cuts are made on the archival images of the struggle, to show the body language specific to the protest.
Ugo Woatzi (France, 1991) in his collaborative project Chameleon expresses the desires and struggles of his community, together creating a more sensitive and accepting world, escaping and confronting the harsh realities of divisive heteronormative structures. The images, both tender and defiant, transmute feelings of love and conflict, a sense of longing that is relatable and universally accessible.
The project Generation by Daniel Szalai (Hungary, 1991) uses scientific tools to give an artistic reflection on this issue and raise questions about humankind’s relationship to nature and technology. What will the cow of the future look like if its evolution is to be controlled entirely by algorithms and managed according to a selection principle that prioritises cows’ compatibility with the technological infrastructure and its efficiency in serving economic goals?
The reflection on the exploiting relationship of humans and nature is also the main point of interest of Alice Pallot (France, 1995) in Silius. In the twentieth century, the emissions from the former zinc factory in Lommel’s Sahara (Belgium) made vegetation completely disappear across several hundred hectares, giving way to an arid landscape covered by white sand. This series strives to highlight the contrast between the idyllic appearance of the Sahara and its underlying real toxicity.
Silent racism project by Julia Klewaniec (Poland, 1996) is the reflection on the language of racism in Poland. The word “Murzyn” (Negro), commonly used in colloquial speech in Poland, became a symbol of racism.The project has been presented at several exhibitions, which were widely discussed. As a part of the On the Verge, you will be invited to see the photographs once again. But the author will expand her exhibition by adding to it a set of materials she found in the media and viewers’ reactions shared with her last year.
Mark Duffy’s (Ireland, 1981) recent ongoing work documents the aftermath of the UK’s fractious Brexit referendum, framing these themes with absurdity and humour. Mark will present Brexit Archive, project that combines factual and fictitious artefacts of Brexit. Some are genuine souvenirs and documents, while others are symbolic statements that comment on Brexit’s legacy.
‘I fear that the magic has left this place’ by Cian Burke (Ireland, 1978) is an ongoing body of work inspired by the story of Karl-Göran Persson who, having received a booklet titled Om Kriget Kommer (If War Comes) distributed by the Swedish government in 1961, began to fortify his small farmhouse until he had created a giant concrete bunker that could protect his entire community. An exploration of these past references can encourage connections to be made with our present condition, naturally leading to a sense of concern about the future. In our current climate, the idea of the future seems as something evermore precarious and out of our hands.
Curators: Marta Szymańska (Fotofestiwal Łódź, Poland) Giangavino Pazzola (CAMERA – Centro Italiano per la Fotografia, Italy), Maja Dyrehauge Gregersen (Copenhagen Photo Festival, Denmark).
FUTURES is a research platform on contemporary photography co-funded by Creative Europe Program of the European Union and focused on mapping and supporting emerging authors beyond national borders. Fotofestiwal is the only Polish institution in the group of nearly 20 international partners.
Exhibition is co organized by Futures Photography Platform and supported by UE in the frame of Creative Europe Program.
17.06, 14:00 guided tour | language: English