Frenzy of Photography Takes Over Krakow

Clare Strand, from the series Signs of Struggle (2001-2002) Photo: © Clare Strand and V&A London
Clare Strand, from the series Signs of Struggle (2001-2002) Photo: © Clare Strand and V&A London
Trevor Paglen, Entangled Bank (2012) Photo: © Trevor Paglen

Trevor Paglen, Entangled Bank (2012)
Photo: © Trevor Paglen

Photography has taken over the Polish city of Kraków for the 12th annual Kraków Photomonth. The event has grown to be one of the largest photography festivals in Europe, with this year’s edition curated by Aaron Schuman, founder of photography journal SeeSaw Magazine. Located just a short flight from any European city, it’s well worth a visit.

Topping our favorites from this year’s edition is British artist Clare Strand’s solo exhibition Further Reading. The show represents an eloquent reduction of the festival’s theme for 2014: photography as tool for investigation. Presented at Kraków’s National Museum, the playful retrospective casts its eye on Strand’s multidisciplinary practice, tracing her whimsical yet poignant work from its conception.

Clare Strand, from the series Signs of Struggle (2001-2002) Photo: © Clare Strand and V&A London

Clare Strand, from the series Signs of Struggle (2001-2002)
Photo: © Clare Strand and V&A London

At Starmach Gallery, Trevor Paglen’s stellar project (pun very much intended) The Last Pictures is given a full treatment.The project puts the documentary capabilities of the photographic medium to the ultimate test. In 2012, a satellite was launched into permanent orbit around earth, carrying a gold-plated disc with Paglen’s selection of 100 micro-etched photographs intended to tell the story of contemporary civilization. Most likely, even after mankind has vanished from Earth, the remnants of this satellite will still be in orbit.

For more earthly pursuits, head to Alchemia bar and tell the bartender that you’re looking for Trophonius. He or she will hand over a map marking the hidden location of photographer Jason Fulford’s site-specific installation Hotel Oracle. The hotel is a phantom building that occasionally manifests itself somewhere in the world. Kraków’s turn follows stints in New York, Paris and Milan and sees a run-down building south of the old city center take on an ever-so-Lynchian vibe. The Hotel Oracle invites its visitors to search for hidden knowledge through a bizarre mythology of the everyday. It is prophetic, blasphemous, banal and intoxicatingly humorous.


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