The 9th International Art Moves Festival was started on 9 September in Toruń!
As part of the festival, like every year, Toruń was presented the works of talented debutants and renowned international artists. The opening of the festival was took place on 9 September.
Art in public space is an essential element of a modern city – in every important European or Polish city: London, Berlin, Warsaw, Krakow or Gdańsk – there is a project devoted to public art presenting works of artists in the city space. The International Art Moves Festival has been presenting artworks in Toruń for 9 years. It turns the city space into an enormous art gallery where apart from debutants, one can admire the works of renowned artists from all over the world. Art enters the city space – the works of artists talk directly to recipients. This is extremely important because only a small percentage of Poles visit traditional art galleries and museums. As part of the festival, the works of international artists are presented in Toruń. They focus on important and current issues.
This year, artworks relating to the theme of the event: „Under pressure. How to be yourself in the contemporary oppressive world?” will be presented by means of carriers that are usually used to show advertisements: billboards, city lights and LED displays.
One of the main elements of the festival is the annual international competition for the best billboard work. For the competition exhibition, the most interesting pieces by talented artists from all over the world are selected. These works constitute a creative artistic statement centred around the festival’s competition slogan. We prepare the topics for our annual competition in such a way, as to make them reflect the processes and social phenomena that shape the contemporary, global world. These topics are rooted in our deep sociological, psychological and philosophical considerations and they testify to our concern with the shape of the reality surrounding us.
This year, the theme of the Art on Billboards Competition was „Under pressure. How to be yourself in the contemporary oppressive world?”. 643 artists from 62 countries entered the contest, we received 1204 artworks from Cuba, USA, China, Armenia, Lebanon, Russia, Ecuador, France, Kyrgyzstan, Iran and many others! The substantial interest in the festival among the artists from all over the world points to the enormous potential of the idea behind the festival and of art presented in the public space – the place which encourages deeper reflection and social communication.
This competition slogan can be treated as a metaphor of all the processes taking place in the world today. We live under constant pressure: of time, perfection, success, exorbitant requirements. Different pressure groups – politicians, media, corporations, fundamentalists, radicals – exert pressure on us. However, not only they – we also exert pressure on ourselves. Omnipresent pressure and chaos of contradictory messages we receive intensify our fear. Our internal pressure is growing – it tells us to constantly raise the bar, work more and faster, live more intensely. The pressure never stops – we experience it from the cradle to the grave. How to be yourself in such a situation? The advertising message we are bombarded with tells us: be yourself and at the same time be like others and choose this or that product. Is it possible to be yourself and like others at the same time? What does it mean to be yourself? Is it worth being yourself – the only one, unique human being? How to do it in the contemporary oppressive world?
The international jury panel, including:
Adam Niklewicz / artist / North Haven, Connecticut, USA
Mark Titchner / artist / London, Great Britain
Małgorzata Augustyniak / art historian, vice-president AMS SA / Warsaw, Poland
Joanna Górska / artist, curator, Art Moves Festival art director/ Toruń, Poland
selected 10 most interesting projects which will be exhibited on billboards located on Rapackiego Square in Toruń. The jury decided to confer the main award of 5000 PLN to Aleksander Piątek and Monika Braksal from Poland.
As part of the ninth edition of the festival, we keep on looking for the sources of contemporary cultural and social crisis which destroys both Europe and the world. Last year the artists dealt with the theme: „What has real value? Can money buy everything?” since the crisis of values and making everything subordinate to money are one of the main sources of the crisis. This year, we address the issue of omnipresent pressure and emphasis as they are the next reason of the contemporary crisis. We live under constant pressure, in total chaos of contradictory messages and expectations. The external world pushes on us and we push on ourselves. External pressure changes into internal one and we permanently press our own “PRESSURE” button. The winning work shows this paradox – we push on ourselves so much and we live under so much pressure that if we do not do something, it may be a disaster, both in the individual and collective context. We behave similarly to the rats in the famous laboratory experiment where they pressed the lever which resulted in an electric shock and at the same time stimulated the reward centre (so they felt pleasure). Despite pain, they could not stop pressing the lever. We, the people, like the rats, cannot stop although it often leads to a disease, depression or even death.
In the next work – by Agnieszka Popek-Banach and Kamil Banach – the problem of life under pressure is presented in a totally different manner. We permanently strive for obsessive perfection and treat improving our own self as „working out in a gym”.
And when being always perfect and ideal turns out to be impossible, what then?
Well, the average world citizen will start looking for the answer in the Internet. But will he really find the answer to this most important question there?
Maybe it is worth considering what we can change in our ways of thinking and doing to stop living under so much pressure? Maybe it is worth doing it today?
It is never too late to leave the oppressive mental prison.
It is enough to take a few deep breaths, stop chasing the imaginary ideal and just accept… who we are.
Our spectators were also able to create with us – as part of Art Moves Workshop, workshops for children and teenagers were held. There was also a special, interactive billboard for recipients to write an answer: „I am most myself when…”
In this edition of the festival, we exhibited the works of 19 artists from 7 countries:
Aleksander Piątek, Monika Braksal / Poland
Agnieszka Popek-Banach, Kamil Banach / Poland
Celeste Fichter / USA
Chong Veng (Eddie) Cheang / China
Mario Fuentes / Ecuador
Martin Roskom / USA
Wenjie Huo / China
Zuzanna Banasińska / Poland
Joanna Ejzler / Poland
Lex Drewinski / Germany / Poland
Adam Niklewicz / USA
Taber Calderon / USA
Mark Titchner / Great Britain
Nicholas Knight / USA
Alain Schibli / Switzerland
Joanna Górska, Rafał Góralski (Galeria Rusz) / Poland
The official opening ceremony of the festival was took place on September 9, 12 pm on Rapackiego Square, Toruń. It was accompanied by the artistic action of the Rusz Gallery entitled: „I am most myself when…”
September 1 – September 30 – exposition of artworks on city lights located on bus stops (whole city)
September 1 – September 30 – exposition of artworks on LED displays (Czerwona Droga Street / Jana Pawła II Avenue, Lelewela 33 Street / Galeria Wnętrz AMC, Intersection of Łódzka Street and Hallera Street, Żółkiewskiego Street / Atrium Copernicus Shopping Centre)
September 1 – September 30 – exposition of artwork of Aleksander Piątek and Monika Braksal on billboards (Warsaw, different points of the city)
September 8 – October 11 – exposition of artworks on billboards (Rapackiego Square, Chopina Street, Wały gen. Sikorskiego Street / CCA, Szosa Chełmińska Street / City Market)
September 8 – September 12 – Art Moves Workshop / workshop for children and youth / interactive billboard for children, youth and adults (Rapackiego Square, Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu)
September 9, 12 pm – festival’s opening (Rapackiego Square)
September 9, 12 – 1 pm – Galeria Rusz’s artistic performance (Rapackiego Square)
Art Moves Festival is held under the honorary patronage of Piotr Całbecki, Marshal of the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Region and Michał Zaleski, President of Toruń
The festival has been co-funded by the Toruń Municipality
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