Artistic Reflections

4 October 2022

Contemplations on memories and ways of preserving them, on our social ties and the consequences of the development of AI are some of the issues examined through the prism of artists working in a wide range of printmaking media.

The International Print Triennial (MTG) in Krakow is the longest-running and one of the most important events of its kind in the world, held since 1966 (originally as the International Print Biennial in Krakow). In 1992, the International Print Triennial Society was founded to manage the event and it has been held every three years since. The Society was led for many years by its founder, the artist and great populariser of art Prof. Witold Skulicz. During previous editions, Kraków has welcomed acclaimed artists including Robert Rauschenberg and Joseph Kossuth, presented great works of pop-art, op-art, minimalism and conceptualism, and the advent of the digital age and new media brought digital prints and interactive works.

The flagship exhibitions of the main programme of this year’s events are the international Main Exhibition and the experimental transgraphia. The latter, first held in 2018, is a review of works by young Polish artists whose art breaks the boundaries of classic artistic printmaking. In 2021, the international competition held under the banner “Dissonant Futures” and the transgraphia 2.0 competition “Art is a Space for Freedom” attracted over 1000 submissions from artists from Poland and all over the globe.

This autumn, the International Print Triennial Society at 29 Rynek Główny (Main Market Square) showcases artworks by last year’s winners. Holding individual exhibitions at the Society’s gallery is one of the elements of the main prizes. “Laureates in the Centre of Attention vol. 2 is a cycle of three individual exhibitions presenting existing and brand-new works by artists awarded at the most recent edition of the International Print Triennial in Krakow, held last year. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on selected aspects of the world around us,” says Dr. Marta Anna Raczek-Karcz, president of the International Print Triennial Society.

To start with, we will see the latest project by the winner of the MTG 2021 Grand Prix Iku Hidaka (1–26 October). The author uses the painstaking process of printing layer upon layer of the image using a screen printing matrix to explore the processes of remembering and forgetting, and permanence and erasure. According to Dr. Raczek-Karcz, “the Japanese artist’s visually intricate prints draw the viewer’s attention to the intimate dimension of human relations, in contrast with contact initiated by electronic means. Just like a flâneuse [the wandering woman of Lauren Elkin’s memoir ed.] the artist visits popular meeting spots to catch fragments of conversation which she uses to create her latest compositions. She stresses the personal aspect of the overheard stories and their transience and deformation as they are remembered.”

In November, the gallery presents works by Magdalena Hlawacz, awarded the prestigious Witold Skulicz Prize (5–27 November). The artist “opposes that which she describes as a ‘hyper-contemporary tyranny of the moment’. By reaching for a variety of forms and using a wide range of artistic media (from classical printmaking to experiments with the digital world, objects and spatial arrangements), she conducts a critical analysis of functioning in a neoliberal diktat of success and constant activity. She reveals the consequences of being available and exposed to the media at all times, demanding that we react and comment immediately to make sure we keep on top of social media,” says Raczek-Karcz.

The cycle closes with the presentation of the latest works by Paweł Puzio, winner of the Main Prize of transgraphia 2.0 (4–31 December). Dr. Raczek-Karcz explains that his installations and objects are “a search for responses to the latest achievements and prospects of artificial intelligence, in particular the social implications of the potential development of strong AI”.

The cycle of individual exhibitions will be combined with free printmaking workshops for kids, teenagers and adults, led by the artists themselves. The event will be summarised by a free book documenting all exhibitions and workshops as well as featuring critiques and texts written by the artists.

The symbolic closure of MTG 2021 also serves as a preview of the next edition of the Triennial in 2024!

Dorota Dziunikowska

The article published in the 3/2022 issue of “Kraków Culture” quarterly.


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