Every November, The Central European House of Photography, in Bratislava, Slovakia, hosts Month of Photography [MoP]. Founded by Vaclav Macek in 1991, this is one of the longest-running exhibition and portfolio review opportunities for photography in Eastern Europe, with emerging and notable participants from around the world meeting on both sides of the table.
In 2010, OFF_Festival, Bratislava was founded to share some of the attention with fresh talents of the photography scene. The theme this year was Manifesto. Organized by a team that included Founder Dušan Kochol, and Exhibition Coordinators Ludmila Dragulová, Zuzana Lapitkova, Lea Lovišková, Martin Ševovi, and Martina Vyskupová, the curators envisioned Manifesto as “a sense and pretext for a revolt, for a strength, which can change the world.”
The OFF program included twenty-two exhibiting partners—photographers representing Europe, North America, the UK, Russia, and Asia—with an impressive array of exhibitions taking place during November 7-21 at the Pisztory Palace (above), an ornate structure that has seen its share of history, and witnessed the occupation, and resulting devastation, of fascist (1938-45) and communist regimes (1945-89); and now, the ongoing global financial crisis (2008-?).
Today, MoP Bratislava and OFF_Festival Bratislava play to and off of each other, composing dynamic new chapters about photographic history that easily outpace history’s desire to subsume the future, positing broader visions for cultural interaction, critique, and communication.
Each year, an ON_Award is also presented. This year’s judges, Bohunka Koklesová, Lucia Nimcová, Štpánka Stein, and Dušan Kochol presented the 2014 Porcelain Award to Hungarian students from the University of Kaposvár, Faculty of Arts, Photography Department. Their exhibition, Interventions, curated by Lea Lovišková, was provocative and sensitive to contemporary concerns affecting a medium that is as mature as it is still learning to navigate its own potential and limitations. From my perspective, everything on view was deserving of further attention. For more information: Central European House of Photography | OFF_Festival, Bratislava | facebook
Benedek Regos HU (Hungary). This installation was about digital archives and Regos asked visitors to choose whether or not those images he thought fit to print should now be shredded and removed from his HD.
Dávid Biró (Univerzity of Kaposvár HU. Visitors were asked to choose slides and write anything they wish on them.
Lenka Lukaoviová, Slovakia (SK) Visitors were asked to dip their hands into developer and to imprint their hands onto a wall of fiber-based paper, referencing both traditional photographic processes and the need for more momentum to push over the wall that continues to separate us from the ideals that brought down the wall in 1989.
Eszter Rigaová (Univerzity of Kaposvár, HU)
Sergey Melnitchenko, UA, (Ukraine)
Saul Robbins is a New York based photographer whose most recent exhibition, How Can I Help? – An Artful Dialogue, was presented at Photoville 2014, in Brooklyn, NY. This unique installation displays photographs from Robbins’ series Initial Intake within a pop-up psychotherapy office environment, inviting passersby to speak with other artists and himself about anything they wish for free and in complete confidence. Presently, Robbins is reviewing portfolios and leading workshops during the Budapest and Bratislava Month of Photography festivals, and leading master workshops in Napoli and Cagliari, Italy, and Berlin and Bielefeld, Germany.