You don’t take a photograph, you make it.
— Ansel Adams
 
 

The Festival of Photography Maribor 2019

World in light

This year's realisation of the photographic festival in Maribor is dedicated to landscapes and the environment, which will be exposed from different angles via exhibitions that mainly address the contemporary artistic treatment of this topic. Photographic techniques, formal and substantive challenges, ecology, politics, science, fantasy, as well as the definition of motif within the art history profession are very topical themes and something both artists and experts as well as the general public are dealing with.

One of the most common motifs in photography is the landscape, whether it is a view of the nature or the places created by man, the architecture. The architecture in this case represents a cultural landscape, a landscape that is a web of imagination and the potential of material realisation. Culture and nature were recently, maybe a good 200 years ago, two clearly identifiable and separate categories in the perception of the world. Culture has steadily invaded nature to the extent that some scientists have named the current geological period as Anthropocene, as it has become clear that human activity affects global processes.

However, nature also permanently invades culture. It was once thought that nature needed to be tamed and that humans with their mind can accomplished that, but it continues to be seen, even if only with a thin blade of grass in the midst of a paved car park, how thin a layer human consciousness and all activity derived from it is. In addition, nature is very enlarged, extending beyond the boundaries of the visible universe. Nature, wilderness, the unconscious, whatever we call it, invades repeatedly through the smallest cracks spreading also fierceness and destruction just everywhere.

Upcoming and announcements

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.

DK (Damjan Kocjančič)

was born in1970. In 1999 he received a KulturKontakt scholarship from Vienna, in 2004 and 2009 the scholarship of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, in 2007 and 2012 the scholarship of the ZDSLU, among other awards of foreign foundations. He exhibited in many major art institutions in Slovenia and abroad. His photos were published in various specialised media and publications, he also issued several monographs and book projects.

Scotoma is a project, in which the author explores the relationship between our imaginations and the real. It touches on the issues of quantum and participatory activity of our environment. At the same time, it is re-questioning the relationship of our performances and leverages that convince us that something is real. In addition to the sets with abstract motifs, landscapes from seemingly different corners of the world can be seen in the photos, although everything was recorded in the radius of 100 meters around the author's studio, located in the urban environment.

Robert Bodnar

was born in Prague and currently lives in Vienna. He studied photography and film at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. He exhibits regularly at individual exhibitions in the international area and in curated group exhibitions.

Cronophotography and other images is a compilation of the author's work, which relates directly to landscape photography, exploring with special accessories the impact of time, changes in light and the virtual movement of celestial bodies through the sky. He approaches his work conceptually and scientifically, using sophisticated technologies, and his photographic works with technical and aesthetic perfection exhibit this approach.

Mišo Hochstätter

originates from a family of photographers, his father Jožef Hochstätter, originating from Prekmurje, founded in Maribor in 1953 the Foto studio Hochstätter in the Vetrinje Mansion. After studying at the Maribor Pedagogical Academy, Mišo Hochstätter studied for two years in Munich at the Staatliche Fachakademie für Fotodesign Munich, he then graduated in Maribor. In 1970 and 1980 he was one of the protagonists of the Maribor art scene, he created artistic photography and graphic design, he created the integrated graphic design for the music group Lačni Franc and the Maribor Art Gallery. He was the art editor of the student newspaper Katedra (1971-1972) and member of the group N (Independent) (1972-1974), led by Jože Kološ and from which, after the first spontaneous bonding of photographers, the Koštabona photo colony and the biennial event Combined photography were developed. From 1975 to 1987 he independently and in cooperation with other creators (e.g. Brane Rončel and Milan Latin-Muso) organised events called audio-visual programmes. In the framework of the Poetic Theatre of Bojana Rudl, he participated in the multimedia shows Flowers of Strolmers (1987) and The Cold Tenderness of Public Toilets (1988), in which poetry, music, dance and photography were associated. During 1986-1990 he lived in Munich and worked for various photographic agencies; all this time, he also worked at home, in 1991 he finally returned to Maribor. In 1995, he established the Hochstätter Masters Gallery in the rooms of the Hochstätter photo studio, in which, until 2008, a series of photographic exhibitions were organised. He exhibited his works at home and abroad and received a series of awards and recognitions.

Nature morte - Almost half a century ago he created a series of photo collages, putting emphasis on the problem of the industrial environment pollution, naming it Dead Nature, thus ranking him among the first modern ecology activists raising the growing consumer population’s awareness of the consequences of the same. Especially due to its date of creation, this work of him is important in raising awareness about the history of landscape.

Ana Kučan

is a landscape architect, professor at the Department of Landscape Architecture of the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana and the leader of the Studio AKKA which she founded in 2017 together with Luka Javornik. She graduated in Ljubljana and received a master's degree in urban planning at the Graduate School for Design at the University of Harvard in the United States (GSD MLAUD ' 92). She exhibited at home and abroad and received several awards for her work, among them the Piranesi Prize (1998 and 2002), the Plečnik Prize (2003 and 2016). She is a member of the Association of Landscape Architects and active in the Network of European Schools for Landscape Architecture. She is a publicist and editor, she was a member of the first editorial board of the academic magazine Journal of Landscape Architecture, among other things, she wrote the book The Landscape as a National Symbol. She is the leading author of the project All Shades of Green, exhibited in the Slovenian pavilion on the 12th Architectural Biennale in Venice. She lectures at several universities across Europe.

L’espace infini is a series of photographs recorded by the author in the Park of Versailles reaching to the thought space between the Baroque-shaped park, through romance and the unreachable, beyond the horizon, the magical realism, to the present relationship to the old parks and further to the unknown future, which is concealed by the fog of atmospheric and spiritual origin.

Sissa Micheli

living in Vienna, was born in 1975 in Bruneck in South Tyrol. After finishing the School for Artistic Photography, she continued her studies at the Art Academy in Vienna. Between 2007 and 2012 she was a professor at the Summer Academy of Fine Arts and Media Technologies in Venice, she lectured and led workshops at the School of Art Photography, Fine Arts and in the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) in Vienna, but also in Innsbruck, London and Bolzano. In 2015, she was a member of the jury for photography in the National Council for Arts and Culture. She presented her work at numerous individual and group exhibitions at home and abroad. She has received numerous awards and scholarships for her achievements in the field of photography, and her works are included in several public and private collections.

On the verge of time is an exhibition designed as an installation and ambiance specifically for this opportunity. Photos and videos recorded on the Eolian Islands, which are volcanic in origin and have a partly desert landscape. Staged photos deal with topics like human influence on nature, climate change, earth warming, post-apocalyptic state. The exhibition acts as a metaphor of survival in an extreme environment.

Simona Reisch

was born in 1985 in Vienna. In the years 2005 to 2007 she studied art history and architecture at the Technical University and in 2006 and 2007 photography at the School of Art Photography in Vienna. In 2013 she graduated from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. Since 2005 he has regularly exhibited in group and solo exhibitions. Her works have been published in many publications. In 2015, she had a scholarship from the Austrian Ministry of Culture.

Urban Utopia is a result of her perennial study and work, inspired by architecture and modern urban structures. The artist takes pictures of them on the ground composing them later in the technique of cake, most commonly in the form of a two-dimensional image, but where other materials are used, she reaches also into the third dimension. New buildings, towers from the most modern materials, but also the ruins emerge in the motifs. These newly assembled scenes of utopic architecture can act as if gravity does not work.

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.

 

Editorial

Petra Čeh

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.