The 13th International Art Moves Festival, i.e. art in the time of an epidemic!
This year the event will be organised in Toruń for the thirteenth time. The leitmotiv of the festival is: “Epidemics – a global catastrophe, a punishment, or a chance to reinvent yourself and the world?” Like every year, during the festival, the city space of Toruń will show the works of talented debutants and renowned international artists. The official opening of the festival will take place on 11 September, with the works presented on citylights and LED displays available in early September.
This edition of the festival is unique as it is entirely devoted to the global epidemic. It is a kind of a hot report from the battlefield, a fresh message and personal reflections “displayed on billboards” by artists from all over the world. It is a palette of different perspectives on how we cope or do not cope with this new challenge facing humanity today. This festival is not only about the threats and challenges we face, but also about the hopes and solutions we are seeking and dreaming about.
The artworks will be exhibited in the city space of Toruń on billboards, citylights and LED displays. The model of presenting art in the city space works especially well in times of the crisis related to the epidemic as it allows recipients to safely participate in culture, without risking their health. For one month the city space will turn into a unique art gallery with valuable works, free of charge and available 24h/7. In this way, the works make a noise in the world and reach a wide audience, even those recipients who do not visit traditional art galleries and museums.
„Art Moves Festival of Billboard Art is unlike any other art festival that I know of in the world. Many museums have been closed due to COVID, because it is not safe for people to assemble indoors. Museums are now starting to pivot towards displaying artworks on billboards and in outdoor exhibitions—a practice that Art Moves has innovated and developed over a long track record spanning 13 years. Art Moves’ outdoor exhibitions in public parks, artworks in ad spaces, and via mobile billboards are refreshing ways to deliver art to the public, with minimal public health risks” – wrote artist from New York Christina Wong Yap about the event in Toruń. She has participated in the festival a few times, and in 2012 she took part in the opening ceremony in Toruń.
Over the past few years,billboard art has become a cultural “must have”. Billboard exhibitions are being held from Teheran and Mexico City to Paris, Los Angeles and New York. Toruń is one of the pioneers of this trend – Art Moves is the first, and so far the only, cyclical festival promoting this kind of art in the world. “Billboards are unequivocally associated with advertisingall over the world, but not in Toruń – for a few autumn weeks the billboards become anti-billboards, as a manifestation of thought contesting consumerism as well as any forms of intellectual and spiritual submissiveness. England has its conscience-pricking Banksy, and we – thethought-provoking Art Moves festival” – Piotr Sarzyński wrote about the festival in “Polityka” magazine. A similar initiative appeared this year in the USA – the works are presented on billboards in Times Square in New York to express gratitude to healthcare workers. This project has gained great popularity and is presented in more than 400 city spaces in New York, Boston and Chicago.
This year works relate to the leitmotiv of the entire event: “Epidemics – a global catastrophe, a punishment, or a chance to reinvent yourself and the world?”, and will be presented on billboards, citylights and LED displays. This competition slogan can be treated as a metaphor of all the processes taking place in the world today. The past few months have changed the entire world – societies and countries, families and individual people. The standard rules of reality have been suspended, and we have been hiding in our homes, isolated from others and transfixed with horror. Individuals and whole societies have been overwhelmed by fear, anxiety and trauma. These tough moments and experiences have left an imprint on us, but have they changed us for the better? Is it a permanent or just a temporary change, and will the world be what it used to be? Should we quickly forget about what happened – our experiences and emotions; or maybe on the contrary, should we remember it well, think about it and draw constructive conclusions? Is it a punishment or maybe a chance to reinvent ourselves and the world in a joint global effort? How to use these difficult experiences to build a better world? What can these tough events we have all experienced in different places around the world teach us? Which of these experiences can strengthen us and the culture we live in to better cope with similar challenges in the future?
As always, the festival consists of a competition phase and then a presentation of the artists invited by the organisers. The best works are to be presented on billboards. 789 artists from 70 countries entered the contest “Epidemics – a global catastrophe, a punishment, or a chance to reinvent yourself and the world?”. We received 1410 artworks from Russia, India, Uzbekistan, China, Macedonia, Cuba, Italy, Iran and many others!
The jury panel composed of artists and curators, including:
Adam Niklewicz / artysta / 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 during the Art Moves Festival 2020. The jury decided to confer the main award of 5000 PLN to Zoran Georgiev from Germany.
The winning work depicts the paradoxes of contemporary reality. In an ironic way it refers to what has already happened and what we unfortunately know very well from our history. It warns us about what will happen (or maybe is already happening) and what we do not want to see. In the public discourse we focus all our attention on the dangers of populism and nationalism of modern nation states, and we do not notice that they are actually old categories that are coming out of use. In fact, new digital “states” are emerging, and we are becoming their citizens. Closed in isolation, trying to make contact with others and with the world, we have no special choice, we are condemned to technology. We have to become digital citizens, swear to a digital constitution and accept the opaque and undemocratic conditions that these new states dictate to us, whether we want it or not.
The artwork by Piotr Depta-Kleśta refers to social distancing we should keep in the time of the epidemic for our common good. He also warns that we should be very careful as the right principles may become a permanent pattern, turning into another brick in the wall separating us from others and reality – like in the famous song by Pink Floyd Another Brick In The Wall.
The work by Teresa Orazio tells us about our desire and longing for normality. We would like this abnormal situation to be over. But aren’t we succumbing to some illusion? Was that pre-pandemic normality really normal, or rather full of unsolved problems and conflicts? Maybe we should stop missing what is already over and use this time of suspension for deeper reflections on how to reinvent our normality.
Maybe we should not run away from infection at all costs, maybe it is worth getting infected with something? Maybe it is time we decided to be optimists rather than constantly complaining and unsatisfied pessimists? We can also ask perversely if we should not only learn but also unlearn something? If we have been able to learn bad things, we can also learn good ones.
We also should not lose hope and remember that these days (and bad moments) will pass away, and we should be careful so that the temporary restrictions imposed by the governments to fight the epidemic do not become permanent solutions, comfortable for those in power but unfavourable for the society. This is perfectly reflected in the artwork by Dawid Celka that refers to the famous poster KonstytucJA (Constitution).
Not only do artists come to grips with the festival slogan. Our spectators will also be able to join in the creation – as part of Art Moves Workshop, where workshops for children will be conducted. There will also be special interactive billboards that will allow recipients to take an active part in the festival.
In this edition of the festival, we will exhibit the works by 21 artists from 13 countries:
Zoran Georgiev / Germany
Alex Gourinovski / Belarus
Alina Kashitsyna / Greece
Bahram Gharavi Manjili / Iran
Carilla Karahan / Turkey
Erick Ginard and Katherine R. Paz / Cuba
Magdalena Sikora / Poland
Piotr Depta-Kleśta / Poland
Sichen Kong / China
Teresa Orazio / Italy
Katarzyna Nachman / Poland
Ying-Hsiu, Chen and Hsiang-Ying, Chen / Taiwan
Wei Su / Canada
Dawid Celek / Poland
Alessandro Di Sessa / Italy
Mark Titchner / Great Britain
Taber Calderon / USA
Joanna Górska and Rafał Góralski (Galeria Rusz) / Poland
The official opening of the festival will take place on 11 September 2020 at 12 noon at Rapackiego Square in Toruń and will be accompanied by the artistic performance: “What is it worth getting infected with?”
01.09 – 30.09 – exposition of artworks on citylights located at bus stops (the entire city)
01.09 – 30.09 – exposition of artworks on LED displays Kraszewskiego / Matejki Street, Szosa Chełmińska / Czerwona Droga Street, Skarbka Square)
10.09 – 09.10– exposition of artworks on billboards (Rapackiego Square, Wały gen. Sikorskiego Street, Szosa Chełmińska Street / City Market)
10.09 – 09.10 – Art Moves Workshop / workshops for kids / interactive billboards for children, teenagers and adults (Rapackiego Square)
11.09, 12 pm – opening of the festival (Rapackiego Square)
11.09, 12-13 pm – Galeria Rusz 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 Local Authorities of Kujawsko-Pomorskie Region and Toruń Municipality