The eighth Organ Vida International Photography Festival, the largest festival of contemporary photography in southeastern Europe, opens today in the Croatian capital, Zagreb.
Organ Vida brings together young photographers from around the world, with the aim to “advance the practice of contemporary photography and facilitate discussions about crucial socio-political issues.”
Each year Organ Vida holds an open call centering on a particular issue, with the festival this year taking on the theme of “Revelations”.
The festival program has been presented by the director and founder of the Festival Marina Paulenka, the curator of the main festival exhibition Lea Vene, and Sandra Vitaljić, the curator of the exhibition Lessons from ’91.
“Every year the international open call of the Organ Vida festival is both a place of discovery and a meeting point of contemporary photographers from various world countries. It has also proven to be a powerful starting point for a multitude of young artists, both Croatian and international.
“This year’s main festival exhibition offers a selection of different approaches to the problematics and the understanding of the topic, as well as new possibilities of creating and designing exhibitions at the location especially dear to our hearts, the French Pavilion,” said Marina Paulenka, the director of the festival, a photographer herself.
“Thanks to the quality and continuity of its activities, Organ Vida has become an important vehicle for presenting the works of international photography authors to the Croatian audience, as well as a gathering point of Croatian authors and a site for international advertising of their works.
Out of more than 400 submissions from 58 countries, our jury selected 10 finalists who will present their works at the main festival exhibition at the French Pavilion:
Kiril Golovchenko (Germany), Gidon Levin (Israel), Maria Sturm (Germany), Anne Müchler (Germany), Mario Brand (Germany), Qian Zhao (USA), Andrea and Magda Micelli (Italy/France), M. Scott Brauer (USA), Michal Siarek (Poland), and Pierre Liebaert (Belgium).
“The exhibition was created in response to this year’s theme Revelations, which was meant to motivate the authors to use their own photography practice as a means of illustrating the unknown, unrecorded and unspoken transformational and everyday experiences, their own destinies and destinies of other people, social and personal fights, and also to portray, in their projects, the invisible, the excluded, the repressed,” says Lea Vene, the curator of the exhibition, and a member of the jury which selected the finalists.
One day before the official opening, on Monday, September 12, the Zvonimir Gallery will host the opening of the exhibition Lessons from ’91, curated by the photographer Sandra Vitaljić.
“The exhibition has gathered for the first time photographers from the entire region in order to depict war years in the area of the former Yugoslavia,” says Vitaljić.
“The exhibition focuses on the position of the photographers and their perspective on the past war years without catering to political agendas.
Thirty-two male authors and one female author will present themselves through more than one hundred and fifty photographs from the innovative exhibition display of the Oaza art collective.”
The festival also includes exhibitions by Phillip Toledano, with his project Maybe, where he faces his own fear of death; and by Roger Ballen, who walks us on the roads of fantasy and reality towards Shadow Land.
Nikola Zelmanović, a young Croatian photographer, will present his works at his solo exhibition Here and Now, “a journey towards the unknown depths of our thoughts.”
Organ Vida runs until 24 September at seventeen locations across Zagreb. More information can be found here.