In the last decades, centres for art photography have been established in many European countries. Some started out in the field of amateur photography and others developed in the context of fine art. Their efforts resulted in the fact that photography is finally being considered and respected as artistic expression. However, in the East / South East Europe the situation is still underdeveloped in comparison to countries which embraced photography as an art form soon after the WWII. The institutional sphere in the SEE region has witnessed relatively slow progress in this area with very rare specialized public institutions for photography (Houses of Photography in Bratislava and Budapest are more exemptions from the rule). However, this part of Europe has had a strong tradition and a very vivid network of amateur and photo-club scenes, which have evolved into the present contemporary photography situation.
The aim of the Tension Field project is to provide information about the current condition and status of the photo art scenes in the region after the developments in the 1980’s and 90’s, which have led to the present state. The majority of the photo artist here emerged from club scenes in early 1980’s. Their roots spring from local photographic traditions and the shaping sensibility for local socio-political circumstances during the transitional period; however, at the same time, they remain open (and informed) to actual trends in photography and to the broader art scene. They reflect both the traditional and the more conceptual approaches, which means that especially the younger photographers have recently started to perceive themselves as „artists using photography“. Tension Field focuses on some of these particular aspects, such as the local and regional photo traditions and their implementations, working conditions affected by the cultural politics, cultural key aspects and prominent development tendencies or influences caused by international developments, trans-regional trends and mutual effects.
The Tension Field project strongly accentuates the comprehensible dialectic process of research, which presents the identification of contemporary photography developments and trends. Guest curators from partner cities have nominated 3-4 photo artists, each representing their respective local photo art scene. Besides the aspects mentioned above, this nomination focuses on artistic quality and expressiveness. Based on these proposals, the main curator has developed the exhibition by considering all relevant tendencies and key themes. Furthermore, aspects of international cross-linkage and trans-border cooperation have been observed and illustrated. Local and supra-regional aspects have been combined to provide an insight into contemporary photo art of the South/Eastern/Central-European region.
By connecting local sources of knowledge, the project’s overall goal is the examination of the transitional period in the field of art photography and the focus on particular local situations, which serve as models for a broader consideration of the subject. Tension Field project has joined curators from six different countries (Austria, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia) into a partnership, functioning as an initial step towards continuous “mapping” and networking throughout this region.
(Max Aufischer, Dejan Sluga)
From October 21 until November 14, 2010, in Mala galerija / Cankarjev dom Ljubljana
Kustosi: Max Aufischer, Aleksander Bassin, Zuzana Lapitkova, Svetlana Mladenov, Zoran Petrovski, Sabina Salamon, Dejan Sluga
Umetniki: Ivan Blažev, Tomaš Blonski, Ranko Dokmanović, Jan Durina, Vlado Elias, Mario Furcak, G.R.A.M., Christoph Grill, Živko Gvozdanić, Robert Jankuloski, Jelena Jeruša, Daniel Kariko, Damjan Kocjančič, Stevan Kojić, Damir Krizmanić – Kriza, SofijaSilvia, Jože Suhadolnik, Goran Škofić, Antonio Živkovič
Partnerji: Kulturvermittlung Steiermark – CCN Graz, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Arts Rijeka, Museum of Contemporary Arts Skopje, Central European House of Photography Bratislava, Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina Novi Sad, Photon Association Ljubljana