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The rich program and the numerous guest artists of the so far most ambitious and most extensive edition of the photography festival Organ Vida have been presented

The press conference of the 8th international photography festival Organ Vida has been held today at the Zagreb Dance Center. At the conference, the festival organizers have presented the most extensive and ambitious program so far, and have announced numerous guest artists of the festival. Organ Vida will take place September 13 – 24 at seventeen locations in Zagreb. The festival program includes exhibitions, educations, discussions and entertainment.

The festival program has been presented by the director and founder of the Festival Marina Paulenka, the curator of the main festival exhibition Lea Vene, and Sandra Vitaljić, the curator of the exhibition Lessons from ’91. To the media representatives spoke via Skype M. Scott Brauer, one of the finalists of the main festival exhibition and an excellent documentary photographer, most famous for his series of photographs This is the worst party I’ve ever been to about the stage-managed and rehearsed campaigns for the American presidential primaries, a topic very close to the Croatian public as well.

17 locations ⱡ 10 exhibitions ⱡ 7 workshops ⱡ a rich educational and entertainment program

“Every year the international open call of the Organ Vida festival is both a place of discovery and a meeting point of contemporary photographers from various world countries. It has also proven to be a powerful starting point for a multitude of young artists, both Croatian and international. This year’s main festival exhibition entitled Revelations opens on Tuesday, September 13, and offers a selection of different approaches to the problematics and the understanding of the topic, as well as new possibilities of creating and designing exhibitions at the location especially dear to our hearts, the French Pavilion. Apart from the rich exhibition program, we have set up as many as ten exhibitions, and have prepared interesting photography talks with experts, presentations of artists and of photo books, portfolio reviews by experts, authors’ tours of the exhibitions, and other interesting events.”, briefly elaborates on the program Marina Paulenka, the director of the festival, a photographer herself.


Organ Vida – the most relevant photography festival in the region

Paulenka has also commented on the program-wise very intensive Opening week, September 13 – 17, in which every day there are not only exhibition openings, film screenings, social gatherings, but also workshops as vital points of this year’s educational program. “Thanks to the quality and continuity of its activities, Organ Vida has become an important vehicle for presenting the works of international photography authors to the Croatian audience, as well as a gathering point of Croatian authors and a site for international advertising of their works. It is in this fact that we as organizers find the motivation and encouragement for expanding the scope of our work onto all year-long programs by the means of which we would get even closer to our goal of founding an adequate institution which would approach contemporary photography in diverse ways.”, reveals Marina Paulenka.


The works of the finalists to be observed only in daylight

Out of more than 400 submissions from 58 countries, our jury selected 10 finalists who will present their works at the main festival exhibition at the French Pavilion: Kirill Golovchenko (Ukraine), Gidon Levin (Israel), Maria Sturm and Cemre Yesil (Germany/Turkey), Anne Müchler and Nco Schmitz (Germany), Mario Brand (Germany), Qian Zhao (China), Andrea and Magda (Italy/France), M. Scott Brauer (USA), Michal Siarek (Poland), and Pierre Liebaert (Belgium).

“The exhibition was created in response to this year’s theme Revelations, which was meant to motivate the authors to use their own photography practice as a means of illustrating the unknown, unrecorded and unspoken transformational and everyday experiences, their own destinies and destinies of other people, social and personal fights, but also to portray in their projects the invisible, the excluded, the repressed.”, reveals Lea Vene, the curator of the exhibition, and a member of the jury which selected the finalists. The grand opening of the main exhibition will be on Tuesday, September 13, at the French Pavilion, from 6 to 8 pm, so that the photographs could be observed in daylight. After 8 pm, in front of the French Pavilion, there will be night screenings of the especially commended projects of the open call, as well as the opening party.


Lessons from ’91 – war photography which does not cater to political agendas

One day before the official opening, on Monday, September 14, the Zvonimir Gallery will host the opening of the exhibition Lessons from ’91, curated by the photographer Sandra Vitaljić. “The exhibition entitled Lessons from ’91 has gathered for the first time in this quantity at one single location photographers from the entire region and a few international guests in order to depict war years in the area of the former Yugoslavia. The exhibition focuses on the position of the photographers and their perspective on the past war years without catering to political agendas. Thirty-two male authors and one female author will present themselves through more than one hundred and fifty photographs from the innovative exhibition display of the Oaza art collective”, announces Vitaljić.


Brilliant exhibitions of photography stars Roger Ballen and Phillip Toledano

Among the remaining eight exhibitions is 1 %: Privilege in a Time of Global Inequality, a world-traveling exhibition which explores the theme of wealth inequality, and the magnificent exhibition Past is Now, which explores the status quo and the potential of the past within the present. What’s This Book? and Fotobook Festival Kassel will please all photo book lovers. Among the representative exhibitions are the one by Phillip Toledano, one of the most interesting contemporary photographers, who in his project Maybe faces his own fear of death; and the one by the great and influential Roger Ballen, who walks us on the roads of fantasy and reality towards Shadow Land. Nikola Zelmanović, a young Croatian photographer, will present his works at his solo exhibition Here and Now, a journey towards the unknown depths of our thoughts. The work consists of photographs that evoke the feeling of change.


The Croatian premieres of the films about the masters of photography – Robert Mapplethorpe and Nan Goldin

The film program of Organ Vida presents two Croatian premieres of documentary films about two masters of photography – Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures, about one of the world’s most controversial photographers who became a key figure of the 20th century photography; and Nan Goldin: I Remember Your Face, about the American photographer Nan Goldin, known for visual narratives which depict her own personal world of sexual activities and addictive behavior. The premiere of the film Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures has been organized in collaboration with the Dokukino KIC cinema, where you can see the film every day at 9 pm from September 16 to 24. Nan Goldin: I Remember Your Face will be shown at the recently opened Art Park on Saturday, September 16, at 9 pm.


The Organ Vida festival is supported by the Ministry of Culture, the City Office of Education, Culture and Sports of the City of Zagreb, and the Zagreb Tourist Board.

Media partners of the Organ Vida festival are: HRT, Telegram, HINA, British Journal of Photography, Lens Culture, Zarez, Vizkultura, Kulturpunkt.hr, tportal.hr, H-Alter, Vox Feminae, Radio Student, Yammat FM, Fotogard, Fotografija.hr, F-Stop, Vijesti.hr, HINA, Journal.hr, Designed.rs, ReFoto, Landscape Stories, FK Magazine, The Calvert Journal, GUP Magazine, Biennale hrvatske mlade fotografije, and Just Zagreb.