BRATISLAVA

Mesiac Fotografie: 25 years

This year we can talk either about a quarter-century of  existence of the Bratislava Month of Photography or about its 25th edition. On the one hand, we highlight the weight of the event though it´s only a quarter; nevertheless the entire century is mentioned, as if we hoped that there is still three-quarters of the journey ahead of us, and that the we are part of a larger whole to which we belong and with which we identify. On the other hand, in mathematical terms, the routineness of the numerical seqence is emphasized; there is no difference between the number 7 or 25 or 41. One year is no more important than any other year, they are equal.

We find ourselves in such a strange intermediate state, there is a large amount of work behind us – hundreds of exhibitions since 1991, thousands of exhibitors and tens of thousands of visitors. In the cultural calendar of Bratislava and Slovakia as well, one expects to find the Bratislava Music Festival or Pohoda Festival; in the same way, every year in November, one expects that an interested person will have the opportunity to get to know a variety of works from current and historical photography originating at home from abroad. We became part of a movement that opened gallery space for photography; over this twenty-five year period, institutions, projects and books were created, which would not have been conceivable without the Month of Photography.

The dramaturgy of the event builds on the opposition between the home and nomadism. We prepared the program a year ago, there is no international correlation with the current refugee crisis; although this correlation cannot be avoided. We were taught at school that home needs to be understood as “hands on which you can cry“, but certainly it is a wider phenomenon. Wqe can include here: Knap´s Zen observations on the passage of time in nature of life; and Niedenthal´s authentic documentary photography of the struggle between Solidarity and political power during the eighties in Poland; or the persistent 30-year long oservation of the transformation of a street of Ľubo Stacho. In contrast to this stands the profession of a photograoher, who as an author reports on problems, conflicts, and countries which at first glance seen exotic and incompherehensible regarding the meaning of home. Martin Kollár thus reveals the undercurrents of the Israeli presence, Gregor Sailer narrates the storry of life in places, where, behind beautiful scenery, cruel conflicts také place. Markéta Luskáčová confidently alternates images of Slovak pilgrimages, the Czech experience and life in London.

A peek at the French photography becomes the special anniversary theme. The Month of Photography is an event that was created in 1991 thanks to the European House of Photography in Paris. In a way, France is the guest of honour of the event, therefore the choice of theme is in accordance with this as well. The photographic culture of France is represented by the works of two extraordinary personalities – Robert Doisneau, who perfectly reflects the joyful and optimistic era of the fifties and sixties and Bernard Plossu, who in the following decades looked for new forms of photography. From the younger generation, we chose Myette Fauchere´s project with resembles the ties between France and its former African colonies.

As always, a substantial part of the Month of Photography consists of exhibitions, which include the Slovak photographers – Judita Csáderová, Ján Šipocz, Boris Németh, etc. The highlights from central European world photography include an exhibition from the history of the Czech avant-garde and, of course, the work of Walter Niedermayr.