Fotofestiwal Łódź 15-25.06.2023

by Maya Hristova


Fotofestiwal, the International Festival of Photography in Łódź, is an event that has been drawing the attention of art enthusiasts and professionals from around the world since its inception in 2001. What began as a small initiative of a group of Sociology students has grown into a prominent cultural event that attracts over 20,000 visitors every year. The exhibitions are set in post-industrial settings, such as the Art_Inkubator festival center, a former cotton storage facility, and the impressive OFF Piotrkowska complex located in the heart of the city. This unique setting allows for an immersive experience, where visitors can explore both the artistic and architectural heritage of Łódź.

 Alexander Zenkovich (BY), Month of Photography of Minsk, Guest Program


The upcoming edition of Fotofestiwal, which will take place in Łódź from June 15th to June 25th, revolves around the theme of Hope and reunites Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine. For a second year in a row, the festival will host programs from the Month of Photography in Minsk and Odesa Photo Days, both of which couldn't take place in their home countries. The festival will showcase projects that highlight the power of action, cooperation, and faith in creating meaningful change. In addition to this, the festival will also feature new works by Polish artists Zbigniew Libera and Grzegorz Przyborek, as well as works by many notable Eastern European photographers such as Agnieszka Sejud (PL), Marysia Myanovska (UA), Masha Svyatogor (BY), Daniel Szalai (HU), Julia Klewaniec (PL), Kinga Wrona (PL), Ihar Hancharuk (BY), Lisa Bukreyeva (UA), Marcin Kruk’ (PL), Alexander Vasukovic (BY), Alexander Zenkovich (BY), and Shasha Kurmaz (UA) among others.

However, the festival is not only limited to exhibitions. It also offers events for experts, as well as gigs and meetings with the public, where photography serves as a point of departure for vital discussions. This approach has led to the development of the original Photo-Match portfolio review, which allows for the effective creation of collaborative networks, reducing the distance between experts and artists. This model has successfully been adopted by photography festivals from around the world, such as PhotoLux in Italy or the Triennial of Photography Hamburg.


Agnieszka Sejud, Open Program, Fotofestiwal 2023


Fotofestiwal’s Open Program offers an overview of the most interesting phenomena in contemporary photography. It includes six projects selected by the international jury from thousands of submissions from all over the world. This showcase – a truly impressive visual set of projects – touches upon a variety of issues: the reality of the Persian Gulf countries, man’s attitude towards water in Sierra Leone, and the life and problems of the coastal communities in Colombia.

+ Agnieszka Sejud (1991, PL) / Mimesis (2018-ongoing)
+ Chloé Milos Azzopardi (1994, FR) / Écosystèmes (2022)
+ Gabriele Cecconi (1985, IT) / TiàWùK (Kuwait at reverse) (2019-ongoing)
+ Io Sivertsen (1994, NO) / Growing pains, thoughts on the climate crisis (2023)
+ Ngadi Smart (1989, SL) / Wata Na Life (Krio for ‘Water is Life’) (2021)
+ Santiago Escobar-Jaramillo (1979, CO) / El pez muere por la boca (de la serie Zoología Real) / The Fish Dies By Its Mouth (from the series Real Zoology), (2016-ongoing)


Marcin Kruk (BY), No Tears Left To Cry, Futures


Ihar Hancharuk, Young Soldier, Futures



A special Talent Futures slideshow will feature projects that are close to contemporary Europe: Ihar Hancharuk’s (BY) research into the phenomenon of military propaganda that has been present in Belarus for years now, Lisa Bukreyeva’s (UA) and Marcin Kruk’s (PL) projects on the war in Ukraine, as well as Kinga Wrona’s (PL) series of photographs about the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the island of La Palma. The slideshow and group exhibition titled On the Verge, a part of the Hope Program, have been created thanks to Fotofestiwal’s collaboration with Futures Photography, an international platform connecting almost twenty photographic institutions from all around Europe.


The 22nd Fotofestiwal is set to showcase a collection of inspiring and thought-provoking art projects that challenge our perspective on the contemporary world. Led by Marta Szymańska and Krzysztof Candrowicz from Fotofestiwal, curators and artists have been invited to create seven group and individual exhibitions that explore the theme of hope and positivity in the face of uncertainty and darkness. These exhibitions highlight various forms of resistance, support, and cooperation from around the world, including Eastern and Western Europe, South America, and the Middle East. The Hope program, which will be presented at the Festival Centre at Art_Inkubator, features international projects that encourage us to examine inspiring individuals, powerful communities, and their actions in defiance of fatalistic narratives about our reality. This year's Fotofestiwal is a testament to the fact that hope and action go hand in hand, and it offers visitors an opportunity to see the world in a new and empowering light.

Here You Will See:
+ Eléonore Lubna I Louis Matton, Ipáamamu – Stories Of Wawaim, Curator: Sergio Valenzuela Escobedo
+ Ritual Inhabitual Collective, Oro Verde, Curator: Sergio Valenzuela Escobedo
+ Nadège Mazars, Mama Coca, Curator: Sergio Valenzuela Escobedo
+ Group Exhibition In Our Hands, Artists: Ursula Biemann, Rami Hara, Avah Collective, Curators: Bettina Freimann, Sithara Pathirana
+ Group Exhibition On The Verge, Artists: Cian Burke (Ireland, 1978), Mark Duffy (Ireland, 1981), Pauline Hisbacq (France, 1980) , Julia Klewaniec (Poland, 1996), Alice Pallot (France, 1995), Daniel Szalai (Hungary, 1991) And Ugo Woatzi (France, 1991), Curators: Marta Szymańska (Fotofestiwal Łódź, Poland), Maja Dyrehauge Gregersen (Copenhagen Photo Festival, Denmark), Giangavino Pazzola (Camera – Centro Italiano Per La Fotografia, Italy).



Grzegorz Przyborek (PL), Thanatos - Him and Her, City Program


The premiere of new photographs by Zbigniew Libera, created especially for this edition of Fotofestiwal, will be a strong highlight of the program. “The exhibition at Galeria Wschodnia marks the artist’s return to Łódź, a city to which his work has been linked since he became a part of the Kultura Zrzuty group,” says Daniel Muzyczuk, curator of the exhibition. “Another important aspect of this return is the location. After all, Wschodnia is the legendary space of the independent gallery movement and the city’s last non-commercial art gallery established in the early 1980s.”

Another major solo exhibition will present the works of Grzegorz Przyborek, a Łódź-based artist, much appreciated in Poland and abroad. It will be a review of his entire artistic output, starting from the first steps in Łódź and in Arles, France, to his most recent works, which have not been shown anywhere else yet. The retrospective exhibition titled Silence will be presented at the City Art Gallery in Łódź – Art Propaganda Centre (Miejska Galeria Sztuki w Łodzi – Ośrodek Propagandy Sztuki).

The program will feature multiple exhibitions, with some not directly linked to the overarching theme, including AREA: ART ON THE DANCEFLOOR. Volker Hinz's bold and captivating large-format photographs will provide an opportunity to explore the history of a Lower Manhattan nightclub in the 1980s. The club underwent a dramatic makeover every six weeks, with visitors encouraged to dress in accordance with the latest theme, ranging from "Food" and "Fashion" to "Faith." These photographs will enable a rediscovery of prominent figures from the contemporary art scene of the era, including Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Madonna, and Grace Jones, as well as ordinary individuals transformed into someone else for a single, sensational night.


Masha-Svyatogor (BY), Month of Photography in Minsk

Sasha Kurmaz (UA), Tools of Resistance, Odesa Photo Days


This year, once again, the curators of two friend photography festivals, Month of Photography in Minsk (Belarus) and Odesa Photo Days (Ukraine), are invited to collaborate on the program. Both those events cannot be organized in their respective countries due to political reasons, so a huge space in the heart of post-industrial Łódź, the OFF Piotrkowska complex, is being prepared to present the works of Belarusian and Ukrainian artists, among others. In The Transition State you will encounter an exhibition that showcases a summary of social and political changes, as well as protest activities that have taken place in Ukraine, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan over the last 30 years. #Inbetweenland will focus on the specific state of suspension in which part of the Belarusian society finds itself at the moment.

+ Month of Photography in Minsk: Inbetweenland, Curator: Sofia Sadovskaya
+ Odesa Photo Days: The Transition State, Curator: Kateryna Radchenko


Ngadi Smart (SL), Open Program, Fotofestiwal 2023


During the ten days of the Festival, the audience will also be invited to attend presentations of photography books and exhibitions organized by partner galleries, including a group exhibition For the absent ones. Tribute to Bogdan Konopka at the Gallery of the Łódź Photographic Society (ŁTF), and Chris Niedenthal’s retrospective exhibition made together with the Museum of the City of Łódź. As always, the program will also include film screenings, discussions and concerts.

The photo for this posters was made by Ugo Woatzi. The key visual of this year’s edition was prepared by Kaja Kaja “mlode studio” and Dominik Murzyn. 

Co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage from the Culture Promotion Fund.


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