The Festival of Photography Maribor 2019
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Imre Szabo - Nineties
One of the most common motifs in photography is landscape as a view of nature or of constructed spaces, i.e. architecture. The architecture in this case represents the cultural landscape, therefore landscape as the interlace of imagination and possibilities of material realisation. Not so long, perhaps 200 years, ago, Culture and Nature were two clear definable and dividing categories in the perception of the world. Culture has persistently invaded nature to the extent, where some scientists defined the present geological era as Anthropocene, as it became clear that human actions have an impact on global processes.
But the whole time, nature also invades culture. Once, that meant that nature must be tamed and that humans with their intellect are able to do so, but it becomes apparent again and again, even only with a dandelion blade in the centre of a parking place, how narrow human consciousness – and also the activity arising from it – is. Besides that, nature has become immensely blown up, so it already reaches across the borders of the visible universe. The nature, wilderness or unconscious, however we name it, penetrates over and over again through the smallest cracks and also forcefully causes destruction just everywhere.
Still, the categories of nature and culture are useful, despite being stiff and outdated, as also humans and all their works are a part of nature. Humans act according to the rules of nature. It is even possible to look at the errors emerging in the procedure of computer algorithms as an intrusion of nature and thus also they could be only the thin layer of consciousness separating a small cell from the wilderness. Natural processes are happening also inside human society, presenting themselves in different occurrences.
Due to changes in the comprehension of the world it is also necessary to change our understanding of the category of the landscape, as landscape is no longer the space cut by the physical horizon of the visible. A landscape is practically every view that can be thought as spatial.
In the proceedings of the photography festival 2019, exhibitions will be foregrounded that explore and enlighten the modern as well as the historic view on the landscape, space and society with different aesthetic solutions, thematic blocks and formal approaches. This selection mainly presents how very difficult it is to imagine landscape in the absence of humans.
Imre Szabó is one of the authors who is creatively responsible in a profoundly deep and direct way for the journalistic photography in modern Serbia as well as in former Yugoslavia. This statement is not even a tiny bit exaggerated – its clear evidence is the pull of the author’s works from several decades and the excellently expressed feeling of being in the right place at the right time, of sensitivity and determination, to just grab the moments of history that occurred throughout all these years in front of his camera lens.
The exhibition theme of “The Nineties” is the author’s war opus; moments that he experienced on the battlefield in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo, and some recorded events that happened before or parallel with them, as well as the effects of outcomes of these wars in Belgrade itself.
The Festival of Photography Maribor 2018
will present high quality domestic and foreign art photography to the local and international public. It will include all generations of photographers presenting also the continuity of the quality media in our midst.
The two main goals of the Festival of Photography are primarily:
- the promotion and presentation of the photographic production at home and abroad,
- to bring the photographic media nearer to the broad public through the artistic and technical principle of work and in a pedagogic way, and also include them into the minds and learning of the younger public.
Why? The world, we are living in, is flooded with photographic and visual material, the photography is ever more approachable and fights, as the music, film and other similar branches for the copyrights and its credible representation and referential valuation. Therefore indeed, one of the priority goal tasks of the Festival of Photography is educationally directed with the aim to raise the awareness of the target public that the availability of technologies, the possibility of immediately publishing on social networks and portals or blogs does not also mean quality photographs, rather opposite; in the mass, only few masterworks are hiding that are also substantively important, thus to say works of art.
The third Festival of photography Maribor again presents outstanding photographers, continuing, and upgrading its first steps from past years. Beside recognized domestic authors as Stojan Kerbler, Jože Suhadolnik, Peter Koštrun, Matej Sitar, Arne Hodalič and others, names from abroad appear, whereby the exhibitions of Nabuyoshi Araki, Sergej Melničenko, Inge Morath, Goran Palvetić, and Taha Ahamad cannot be overlooked.
The red thread of the festival is the presentation of the diversity of motifs and contents, emerging in the photographic media; therefore, the viewing of the present exhibitions is like a walk through the rich palette of the photographic conglomerate. The presented motifs reach from documentary, erotic and urban to portrait, landscape, and also personal confessions. Some exhibitions point with resignation to the life around us, also that which is sometimes more hidden or less known. By that, the spectator is not only learning about the magic of photography, but also about its expressive power. Especially the latter has many times been of historical importance, although we must not forget the significant contribution, brought by the aesthetics of photographs as such. In the world of conceptualism, abstract forms, and modern practices it is nice to flash back also on the classic photography, speaking to us through its characteristic black-and-white language. The festival offers the visitors just that – through the genre diversity of exhibitions it jointly presents different photographic approaches and practices. Also essential is the dialogue – that between the camera and the photographer, and later that developing between the spectator and the photograph. Precisely because the photograph is so immediate and communicative, its effect can be momentary and emotional.
The festival is aiming to focus on all generations of photographers, presenting thus also the continuity of the quality media in our midst and at the same time the current foreign photography. As usual, the festival offers not only the exhibitions themselves, but also an accompanying programme, focused in particular on lectures on photography. The exhibitions are accessible on different locations in Maribor, thus interlinking all important gallerists in Maribor.
The Festival of Photography first took place in 2016. Its aim was to mark the important turning point in the history of Maribor´s photography – the 80th Anniversary of activities of the Fotoklub Maribor.
As the festival exceeded the expectations and earned a wish for continuation from its visitors, it is becoming traditional. Certainly, the festival is young and developing as such, is designing, searching ...; but its goal is clear already from the beginning – to raise the awareness of the public, especially the young one, about the quality of photography as such. We live in a world flooded with photographic and visual material, with the photography being increasingly accessible and striving as such, together with music, film, and other similar branches, for the acknowledgement of the copyrights and credible representation and referential evaluation. An important goal is also the promotion of Slovenian photographers and the establishment of contacts with foreign photographers. In any case, a town with such photographic tradition as Maribor absolutely deserves a festival of such kind.