Subjects of Gender and Desire at the 2012 Fotofestival in Łódź

Maurycy Gomulicki, Orphan Mary, 1997
Courtesy of Fotofestival in Łódź

Subjects of Gender and Desire at the 2012 Fotofestival in Łódź

11.05.2012 – 20.05.2012

The 11th edition of the annual photography showcase in Łódź puts a focus on the representation of women in contemporary photography, drawing from the evolution of the female image over decades

Aside from the Grand Prix competition, which presents 12 young photographers in the running for the prestigious main prize, the festival presents several thematic blocks which includes a focus on gender representation in contemporary Polish photography after 1945. Typical representations of the Polish woman reference various roles that Polish women are associated with, many of which are at odds with one another, such as Good Mother and Performer, Devoted Wife and Sex Object, Socialite and Scandalmonger. The image of the Polish woman at once glorifies the Polish woman as a Venus-like canon of beauty, while strapping her into the binds of exemplifying the virtuous traits of wife and mother.

Curator Adam Mazur has dipped into the collection of Joanna and Krzysztof Madelski to draw out works that use photography to describe a range of norms and cultural phenomena. The exhibition titled Entangled in Gender presents some of the most significant works of Polish photography from just after the end of World War II through today, creating a panorama of images of Polish women that make a statement on gender identity.

Joanna and Krzysztof Madelski say that their aim is to
show a woman seen through the eyes of both men, and women themselves. We are trying to answer the questions of how the image of a woman has evolved as well as how the perception of a woman in the social context has been changing in time. We would also like to pose several questions regarding current stereotypes: the functioning of woman’s body in the public, media, artistic as well as commercial domains. That is why our collection comprises both works created in accordance with classic beauty models, as well as ones that refer to feminism, gender issues or transsexualism.

The exhibition presents 150 works selected from the collection, made with the use of various techniques: from refined photographic techniques, through avant-garde experiments and contemporary digital photography, to installations, objects and videos. Featured artists include post-war photographers Tadeusz Rolke, Edward Hartwig, Paweł Pierściński, Wojciech Prażmowski and Wojciech Plewiński. Photographers from the '80s-era critical art and body art movement include Natalia LL, Ewa Partum, Zbigniew Libera and Alicja Żebrowska, while Poland's youngest generation of photographers is represented by Aneta Grzeszykowska, Agnieszka Polska, Katarzyna Majak, Dorota Kozieradzka and Anna Senkara.

Subjects of Gender and Desire. Photographs from the Collection of Joanna and Krzysztof Madelski takes place at the Museum of the City of Łódź at the Poznański Palace as part of the Fotofestival Łódź 2012 between the 11th of May – 28th of June.

Fotofestival Łódź takes place between the 10th – 20th of May, presenting a series of exhibitions, discussions, masterclasses and an exhibition of works by members of the Sputnik Photos collective, as well as the I*Network. Human Connection Programme that concentrates on ideas of society and cooperation in today's global community, featuring the works of Joachim Schmid, Yann Gross, Luca Nimcova, among others. Most events take place at the Grohman Villa (ul. Tylna 9/11). The festival presents a broad showcase of photography from around the world, singling out 12 international photographers in competition for the Grand Prix award announced on the 10th of May. The winner receives a prize of 10,000 PLN (2500 Euro) and will have a solo show during the main weekend of the festival.

Nominees for the 2012 Łódź Fotofestival Grand Prix

Stefan Bladh (Sweden)
Nigel Bennet, Silence Has An Echo, (Italy)
Eran Gilat, A Personal Photography Project (Israel)
Yoshi Kametani, Plastic Spoon (USA)
Jakub Karwowski, Sentimental Fiction (Poland)
Tomasz Lazar, Teatr Życia – Akt pierwszy (Poland)
Lorena Morin (Spain)
Vittorio Mortarotti, H (Italy)
Isabelle Pateer, Unsettled (Belgium)
Egor Rogalev, Faraway, so close (Russia)
Elena Saenko, Inhabitancy (Russia)
Anastasia Taylor-Lind, The National Womb: Baby boom in Nagorno Karabakh (Lebanon)

See more on the 2012 Łódź Fotofestival at

Editor: Agnieszka Le Nart

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