The 18th edition of Fotofestiwal continues the tradition of tackling those subjects that inspire an in-depth reflection on culture and society. At the centre of its programme lies the supernatural, this year’s main theme. Artists presenting their works at the festival pose questions on the immaterial aspects of reality and how one could capture all things ephemeral or intangible. The projects, which are showcased during the festival, spin the narrative on spiritual communities, rituals, the relation between science and metaphysics, as well as the role of an artist-intermediary who creates images bringing him closer to the supernatural.
However, the organizers decided to transcend the festival’s main theme by unveiling the projects of Grand Prix finalists. This particular section sheds the thematic constraints in favour of an unhinged exploration of the current tendencies in contemporary photography. Six finalists in total were selected by the jury. Additional ten art projects will be presented during the slideshow.
International Festival of Photography in Łódź, which takes place between the 13th and 30th of June, includes over thirty exhibition openings and a rich noteworthy programme of accompanying events. In June, the entire city of Łódź lives and breathes Fotofestiwal.
Here’s our selection of top five artists you should definitely check out during this year’s Fotofestiwal:
“This will change your life forever”
Klaus Pichler (b. 1977) – a photographer who majored in landscape design.
This project portrays the irrational world of esotericism. The artist pretended to be one of the fanatics to infiltrate the esoteric community and gain access to the spiritual truth detached from logic and reality, which he then captured in his photographs. The series displayed at Fotofestiwal comprises pictures of artefacts, visualisations of esoteric theories and reinterpretations of online images. Though seemingly strange, the photographs project a sense of truth. In this case, the artist becomes a spy who runs an ironic investigation into pseudoscientific claims.
Henrik Spohler (b. 1965) – a graduate of the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen; he works as an independent photographer since 1992.
Henrik Spohler’s project refers to the ways in which we perceive the material and immaterial qualities, as well as the relation of human life to time, space and matter. For several years, he has documented the leading research centres conducting studies into the nature of space and life on earth. The artist seeks out some of the most extraordinary phenomena observed daily by a selected few. In his photographs, he always tries to capture fleeting moments.
Brad Feuerhelm (b. 1977) – a curator and photoeditor living in London.
“American Revelations” is the project based on the collection of postcards and press photographs from the early 20th century that together tell the story about an amazing world, or at least some version thereof. This world emerged from the uncontrollable system of beliefs that combined Catholicism with spiritualism and cults. The viewer has an opportunity to gaze at strange phenomena preserved on film. As an anachronistic experiment in image creation, the project represents a naturally apocryphal and intentionally apocalyptic vision of the exhibit engaging viewers in an association game.
“Charlie surfs on Lotus Flowers”
Simone Sapienza (b.1990) is a documentary photographer who graduated with honours from the University of South Wales in Newport, where he studied photography.
As a winner of the Grand Prix competition, Simone Sapienza was granted an opportunity to present his work in front of a wider audience. His series of photographs is a contemporary take on the post-war landscape of Vietnam. The pictures evoke an allure of the Western culture and fascination with capitalism displayed by its modern citizens. A collection of somewhat unsettling figurative images portrays the history of the Western culture spinning endlessly in circles.
Federico Clavarino & Tami Izko
Federico Clavarino (b. 1984) – born in Turin, a graduate of the creative writing course in the Holden School. Tami Izko – Spanish artist, born in Bolivia.
As another Grand Prix winner, this artistic duo has a chance to exhibit the project based on the life of eels. One has no way of knowing where these astonishing creatures end or even begin. As such, they provide artists with a point of departure for their story on the meanders of intimacy that demonstrates a certain process not only through photography but also ceramics. The medium of photography allows them to capture mutually colliding forces and uncontrollable manifestations of intimacy, which are subject to constant transformations. Additionally, an abstract human form is recreated from the malleable substance of clay.