About festival

On 10, September 2019 for the sixth year in a row, the grand opening of the only international photography festival in Belarus takes place at the “Gallery Ў” (Minsk).

This year The MONTH of PHOTOGRAPHY in MINSK presents around 20 exhibitions of photographers and photo collectives from 10 countries held in 8 venues of the capital to its audience of more than 500 000 people. The festival is an invitation to reflect on photography as a phenomenon, a tool and a topic for dialogues, discussions and experience exchange. For the six time in a row its team keeps the public “intellectually fit”– through unexpected concepts, projects coming from various parts of the globe and renowned guests.

Following its established tradition, the main exposition of The MONTH of PHOTOGRAPHY in MINSK presents projects that in various ways deal with the festival’s central topic proposed by its team members. In 2018 it was the concept of jubilee, in 2017 – collectivization, in 2016 – the opposition between center and periphery. This year the team proposes the festival’s guests to get acquainted with topical series reflecting photographers’ interpretation of the concept of “history”. Today this broad term has to do with construction and deconstruction of historical narratives, as well as with the artist/photographer’s role in social-political context.

The topic is divided in three large parts:

1. Social choreography. Social choreography is dedicated to bodily representation of historical events and ideologies and draws attention to the way our body is formed through political, cultural and social context. The topic is raised by the Belarusian photographer Siarhei Hudzilin in his installation “New Olympia” where he explores Minsk parades through their participants’ bodies seen as ideological “patterns” forming “mass ornaments”. Also, social choreography can become an element of resistance – as, for example, in the project of the Lithuanian photographer Romualdas Požerskis “Baltic Way”. The photographer documents a well-known protest of the Baltic states residents
against the USSR in 1989, when Lithuanians, Latvian and Estonians formed a live chain of almost 600 km in length. A striking example of social choreography are famous protests held Paris in 1968 reflected in the project “May’68”.

2. History re/deconstruction. Disassembling or, vice versa, assembling photography, like a kind of jigsaw, artists show us social constructivism of any historical narrative, its bias, and thus – conventionality. Such issues are addressed by the project made by the Belarusian artist Maxim Yasinsky “Compromises” dealing with the study of city
toponymy as a place of history and ideology battle. The topic of gaps in history is addressed in the work “Reconstruction” by the famous Estonian-Russian photographer Alexander Gronsky. Deconstructing iconic symbols of the stagnation era, the artist Masha Svyatogor uses collage to create works that make viewers reconsider this period in the life of the country – the ironic approach of the technique offers different
interpretations of Brezhnev, ballet, feast, etc.

3. Gaps in history. This thematic block draws attention to events that turned out to be on the periphery of history, or invisible processes. One of the projects where insignificant facts are brought to the fore is the series of the German artist Simon Menner “Surveillance Complex”, dedicated to the study of the Stasi Records Archives.

In 2019, for the first time in six years, The MONTH of PHOTOGRAPHY in MINSK invites amateurs and professionals to take part in portfolio review. It takes place on 11, September held by foreign guests and Belarusian experts in the field. Series and projects “in progress” can be shown to the artistic director of the Triennial of Photography in Hamburg (Germany) and a member of the committee of the Lodz Photo Festival, Krzysztof Candorowicz, the German photographer Simon Menner, the French publisher, general secretary of the art committee of the “Circulation” Festival Emmanuelle Halkin, the director of the Riga Photo Festival Arnis Balcus, the coordinator of the “Circulation” Festival Clara Hall and others. The Belarusian photographic community is presented by the director of The MONTH of PHOTOGRAPHY in MINSK, photographer and curator Andrei Liankevich and the expert in photography and photo books, art critic and lecturer Olga Bubich. From 13, September to 15, October, 2019, for the first time the exhibition of the greatest portrait photographer “Moses Nappelbaum. Portrait of the era” is held at Belarusian National History and Culture Museum.Moses Nappelbaum is one of the most significant names in the history of photography. When in 1918 the Bolsheviks needed to show the world the image of
the leader of Soviet Russia, he was commissioned to make the first art portrait of Lenin. Even this fact alone is enough to prove the scope of the photographer’s talent. The exhibition is dedicated to the 150th anniversary of Moses Nappelbaum. A set of postcards is going to be published to be presented together with the exhibition. Moses Nappelbaum’s heirs will be invited for the opening. The project is curated by Maya Katznelson.

This autumn, the exhibitions are held at the Ў Gallery of Contemporary Art, the National Center for Contemporary Arts (NCCA), Maxim Bogdanovich’s Literary Museum, “Shafa” space (Minsk) and the Center of City Life (Grodno), Belarusian National History and Culture Museum (Minsk).

Supported by CRAVT chain store.
Information support – Belarusian portal TUT.BY, radio Unistar and online city
magazine Citydog.by
Technical support: Samsung
With the support of the Embassy of France in Belarus, the Embassy of Lithuania in Belarus, the
Polish Institute in Minsk and the Goethe-Institut Minsk, the Gallery of contemporary art “Ў”.

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