This year we are organizing 8th Festival of Photography!
Title and theme: TOUCHING
Work in the field of art largely consists of classification, analysis and genre placement, which make it easier to understand the seen artwork. At the beginning of the modern period, we were confronted with art works that tried to free themselves from the strictures of clear boundaries between artistic disciplines, and to broaden artistic horizons by prioritising the concept, the idea, which could be materialised in any way the artist wished. The trend continues in contemporary art, and while the work of the artist is freer than ever in terms of creation, a new challenge is now presented to curators, academics, critics and the public alike.
The canon is irrelevant in contemporary art, and its maintenance or constant re-establishment is, in the light of the diversity of artistic expressions, a Sisyphean work that also brings with it a great deal of snobbery, elitism and, consequently, a limited
perception of creation. Paragone-style debates about the superiority of one artistic genre have long been unproductive, if there was ever any productivity
in them to begin with. Nevertheless, they are still woven into contemporary discourse in softer ways, and we can question again and again the purpose of this kind of thinking. Contemporary art, dedicated to message and conceptuality, is seen as by far the most democratic period in the history of art, but it still gets a stale and bitter taste when conversations stray from the quality of what is seen, to the formal qualification of the artist, the preference for one genre, and in general to questions about what is “real art”. Genres are constantly and successfully intertwined, and photography is no exception.
As photography has evolved, so has the curiosity of photographers, who for decades have had to justify the legitimacy of the genre in the field of artistic production and deny the stereotype of simply recording the world. In the last few decades, we have seen photography being incorporated into painting, sculpture, performance, spatial installation, and textual art – both through the initiative of artists working in the aforementioned fields, and through the creative initiative of photographers. Photographers use all possible techniques: the most classic ones, as well as a combination of photography and graphic design, manipulated photography and other ways of adapting visual material, in order to create incisive visual information that brings to the fore the very essence of art: message, innovation and freedom. The title of this year’s photography festival, Touching, touches upon the possibilities offered by the current era of photography and aims to outline a zeitgeist in which difficult-to-categorise works are created, infused with multiple artistic influences. Susan Sontag, in her collection of essays Against Interpretation, wrote: “In place of [a] hermeneutics we need [an] erotics of art.“,
and this eroticism can be found in the simple refusal to carry constraints and evaluate the quality of art according to strict boundaries that serve no purpose. Touch is human, loving and created with the desire to intuitively understand the one touching and the one touched. By presenting artists who reach for the many expressive possibilities within the field of photography and touch upon other art genres successfully fused with photography, we address not only the breadth offered by photography, but the breadth offered by contemporary art. We can turn to the question of what is real art and ignore it without guilt. Everything is true art or true art is non-existent, truth can only be found in the absence of hierarchy.
Art director, Sara Nuša Golob Grabner