Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The 8th International Art Moves Festival starts on 1 September in Toruń

The 8th International Art Moves Festival starts on 1 September in Toruń
The 8th International Art Moves Festival starts on 1 September in Toruń
Art in public space is an essential element of a modern city – in every important European or Polish city: London, Berlin, Warsaw, Krakow or Gdańsk – there is a project devoted to public art presenting works of artists in the city space. The International Art Moves Festival has been presenting artworks in Toruń for 8 years. It turns the city space into an enormous art gallery where apart from debutants, one can admire the works of renowned artists from all over the world. Art enters the city space – the works of artists talk directly to recipients. This is extremely important because only a small percentage of Poles visit traditional art galleries and museums. As part of the festival, the works of international artists are presented in Toruń. They focus on important and current issues. 

This year, artworks relating to the theme of the event: “What has real value? Can money buy everything?” will be presented by means of carriers that are usually used to show advertisements: billboards, city lights and LED displays. 

One of the main elements of the festival is the annual international competition for the best billboard work. For the competition exhibition, the most interesting pieces by talented artists from all over the world are selected. These works constitute a creative artistic statement centred around the festival’s competition slogan. We prepare the topics for our annual competition in such a way, as to make them reflect the processes and social phenomena that shape the contemporary, global world. These topics are rooted in our deep sociological, psychological and philosophical considerations and they testify to our concern with the shape of the reality surrounding us. 

This year, the theme of the Art on Billboards Competition was “What has real value? Can money buy everything?”. 587 artists from 53 countries entered the Billboard Art Contest this year. We received 1017 art works from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Guatemala, Ghana, Macedonia, Pakistan, Romania, Estonia, Israel and many others! The substantial interest in the festival among the artists from all over the world points to the enormous potential of the idea behind the festival and of art presented in the public space – the place which encourages deeper reflection and social communication. 

This competition slogan could be treated as a metaphor of all the processes taking place in the world today. What has value in the modern world? Which gives meaning to human existence – values or money? Can love, freedom, truth, beauty be bought? Is money an end in itself or a means to an end? What’s the point of having money if it, not we, starts dominating in the modern world? Is the world, whose guiding principle is to maximise profits, able to survive? And even so, will there be people – feeling creatures who think? Could we start viewing money as a tool that helps humanity develop and not as a superior value that organises the modern reality? What would we want the modern, better and more sensibly organised world look like? What goals and values should we put into practice so that humanity does not die under pressure of social inequalities, nationalisms or ethnic and religious conflicts? 

The international jury panel, including: 

Christine Wong Yap / artist / New York, USA 

Christian L. Frock / curator, writer, educator / San Francisco Bay Area, USA 

Małgorzata Augustyniak / art historian, vice-president AMS SA / Warsaw, Poland 

Rafał Góralski / artist, curator, Art Moves Festival director / Toruń, Poland 

selected 10 most interesting projects which will be exhibited on billboards located on Pl. Rapackiego in Toruń. The jury decided to confer the main award of 5000 PLN to Lex Drewinski from Germany. 

The winning project shows the relationship between two seemingly exclusive fields of human experience. This is how the author described his work: “I focused on two terms: “GOD” and “GOLD”, which seem to be two opposite poles. But is that really so? The message of the work basing on ambiguity which manifests itself in an unstable gradation of values, tilting to one side or the other, should induce recipients to reflections. In my work I used only typography and colour symbolism”. 

Lex Drewinsky’s work will also be exhibited on 5 billboards in Warsaw.

In the next work by the Swiss author Patrick Baumann, the problem of what has real value is presented in a completely different way. It reminds us about the basic and fundamental fact regarding human existence – we will all die no matter whether we are low or high on the social ladder.

Lucy Pisanava from Canada, in turn, uses the words of one of the founding fathers of the United States of America – Benjamin Franklin. Her work tells us that real value depends on us and our endeavours: “Content makes poor men rich, discontent makes rich men poor”.

The artists whose works will be presented during the main show – on city lights and LED displays – were also asked the question What has real value? Can money buy everything? One of these works will be “Onuce” (Footwraps) by Adam Niklewicz. This is the artist’s comment on his work: “I remember newspapers wrapped around our feet (before putting on top-boots) during harsh winters of my childhood. Those paper footwraps gave extra protection from freezing. Footwraps are made of The Wall Street Journal (a symbol of capitalism). Nevertheless, the newspaper does not serve human rapacity, greed for money or desire to be rich, but basic human need to chase away the cold. So, what is the value of The Wall Street Journal? Does this value lie in the information it conveys or in physical properties of paper?”

The hosts of the festival (artists from the Rusz Gallery) see value mainly in the present: Joanna Górska’s work “Lepsze jutro” (A Better Tomorrow) and in love: Rafał Góralski’s work “Język” (Language).

We dedicated this year’s edition of the competition to Susan O’Malley – an American artist and curator from California, who passed away tragically in February 2015. Susan took part in the Art Moves Festival in 2012 and was two times a juror of the Art on Billboards competition. She always brought her wonderful mixture of optimism, energy and professionalism.

This is how Christian L. Frock – this year’s juror of the competition – remembers Susan: “Her rare generosity of spirit provided a tremendous example for those around her, myself included. O'Malley believed strongly in the importance of things money can't buy - family, friends, love, kindness, patience - and would have taken this year's festival theme very much to heart. She is sorely missed by her many friends all over the world, and will be forever”.

As part of the festival, 2 works by Susan from the cycle “Inspirational Posters” will be presented on city lights.

We also asked the honourable patron of the festival – Michał Zaleski, President of Toruń – what had real value: “Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much – I go along with this maxim as I think not everything that is important in life can be converted into money. FAMILY, LOVE and FRIENDSHIP are the most valuable things because they give us a sense of safety which is essential to living a happy life”.

Our spectators will also be able to create with us – as part of Art Moves Workshop, workshops for children and teenagers will be held. There will also be a special, interactive billboard for recipients to write what has real value for them.

In this edition of the festival, we will exhibit the works of 18 artists from 8 countries:

Lex Drewinski / Germany 

Aleksandra Leszczyńska / Poland

Marek Tobolewski, Iga Starowiejska / Poland

Lucy Pisanava / Canada

Adam Kurłowicz / Poland

Patrick Baumann / Switzerland

Alicia Medeiros / Portugal

Magdalena Bogacka / Poland

Anita Jaźwiec / Poland

Desha Nujsongsinn / Germany

Susan O’Malley / USA 

Joanna Górska (Galeria Rusz) / Poland 

Rafał Góralski (Galeria Rusz) / Poland 

Jerzy Kosałka / Poland 

Adam Niklewicz / USA 

Monica Fraile Morisson / France 

Mariusz Waras / Poland


The official opening ceremony of the festival took place on September 4, 12 pm on Rapacki Square, Toruń. It will be accompanied by the artistic action of the Rusz Gallery entitled “What has real value for me?”

Festival programme:

September 1 - September 30 – exposition of artworks on city lights located on bus stops (whole city)

September 1 - September 30 – exposition of artworks on LED displays (Czerwona Droga Street / Cinema City, Lelewela 33 Street / Galeria Wnętrz AMC, Intersection of Łódzka Street and Hallera Street, Żółkiewskiego 15 Street / Atrium Copernicus Shopping Centre)

September 1 - September 30 – exposition of artwork of Lex Drewinski on billboards (Warsaw different points of the city)

September 3 - October 7 – exposition of artworks on billboards (Rapacki Square, Chopin Street, Wały gen. Sikorskiego Street / CCA)

September 3 - September 9 - Art Moves Workshop / workshop for children and youth / interactive billboard for children, youth and adults (Rapacki Square, Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu)

September 4, 12 pm – festival’s opening (Rapacki Square)

September 4, 12 – 1 pm – Galeria Rusz’s artistic performance (Rapacki Square)

Art Moves Festival was held under the honorary patronage of Piotr Całbecki, Marshal of the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Region and Michał Zaleski, President of Toruń

The festival has been co-funded by the Local Authorities of Kujawsko-Pomorskie Region and Toruń Municipality.

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