Open Eyes Art Festival
Thursday, October 14, 2021 - Thursday, November 18, 2021
The Open Eyes Economy Summit (OEES) reveals that the best link between seemingly distant worlds is art.
The event, held in Kraków for the sixth time (16 and 17 November), brings together representatives of the scientific, economic, cultural and political circles. The summit is dedicated to the economy rooted in social values, and it features accompanying events held more or less throughout the year.
“OEES is an initiative of people involved with Public Economy and Administration, formerly a field of study and now a faculty at the University of Economics in Kraków. The creation of the faculty was driven by the idea that students and their growth are of the utmost importance. I believe that our students – young people – should stand out. We added imagination to the traditional triad of goals of academic education, that is knowledge, skills and competence. For me it means not just being open to new experiences, but learning to develop a sense of responsibility. Imagination is supported by culture which provides a creative vision of the world. Culture is as important to economists as it is to students.
OEES is an answer to the problem faced by economics as a field of study. Mainstream economics, also known as neoliberal, is undergoing a crisis. OEES shows and describes the need for, functioning and consequences of value economy. And if we’re talking about value economy, it’s obvious that culture is an important element of our interests. We want to transform the economy into culture, not vice versa,” says Prof. Jerzy Hausner, Chairman of the OEES Program Council and GAP Foundation Council.
Cultural events accompanying the conference have an exceptionally extensive formula: the six week-long Open Eyes Art Festival (OEAF) 2021 features dozens of events preceding the congress, held all over Kraków and open to the public. Exhibitions, concerts, happenings, conferences and other events are organised by the Academy of Fine Arts, the Nowa Huta Cultural Centre and the GAP Art Agency and GAP Foundation. “During the 6th OEES we will contemplate intergenerational relationships. Their diversity is clear in the very programme of the congress. There is something for all age groups, and the OEAF programme intertwines youth with maturity,” adds Prof. Hausner.
The festival opens with an exhibition of artworks by Janusz Leśniak Hidden Order at the Nowa Huta Cultural Centre. Acclaimed at home and abroad, the Cracovian photographer (best known for his images featuring his own shadow) steps beyond objectively capturing reality to preserve traces of human presence in this highly digitalised world. The ninth instalment of the Nowa Huta Cultural Centre’s exhibition cycle A Space for Art, popularising works by artists and lecturers from the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, is dedicated to Jacek Waltoś, one of the leading artists of Poland’s contemporary art, professor at Academies of Fine Arts in Kraków and Poznań and co-founder of the Wprost group. We will see a selection of his works at the Nowa Huta Cultural Centre Gallery and at the Academy of Fine Arts and the University of Economics.
Working with cultural institutions in Kraków, the Academy of Fine Arts has prepared around thirty events for OEAF: exhibitions, conferences, art auctions, discussion panels, film screenings and meetings with artists. One of the most important is the pioneering exhibition Open Art. Wesoła (the former building of the Faculty of Clinical Biochemistry at 15a Kopernika Street) and the bustling campus of the University of Economics present interdisciplinary projects prepared by around a hundred artists from various institutions especially for the exhibition in response to an open call to art schools throughout Poland. The unique nature of both venues makes them perfect for the project and confirms that art is indeed the link between seemingly distant worlds.
Works by artists and lecturers from the Academy of Fine Arts are shown at a collective exhibition at the Małopolska Garden of Arts. Art by their students from various faculties is presented at the International Cultural Centre, Cricoteka, Regional Public Library, Kraków Opera and ICE Kraków. The Szczepański Square and courtyard of the Krzysztofory Palace host sculptures by Paweł Orłowski, lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts, winner of numerous prizes and distinctions and participant in over 50 artistic projects, exhibitions and symposiums all over the globe. The International Print Triennial Society Centre presents a symbolic encounter between the master of Japanese printmaking Toshihiro Hamano, twice-winner of the International Print Triennial in Krakow, and Monika Szydłowska, recent graduate from the Faculty of Printmaking at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. The gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts shows works by Karol Palczak – “Rembrandt from Bieszczady”, winner of the Grand Prix at the first Kraków Art Salon (2018) and the Grand Prix of Bielska Autumn the following year.
Czesław Słania was the Royal Court Engraver in Sweden, Denmark and Monaco. Graduate from the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, he was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the most prolific and skilled of all stamp engravers; we will see his beautiful works at the exhibition at the National Bank of Poland. The Academy of Fine Arts also recalls Róża Aleksandrowicz, an artist years ahead of her time, one of the greatest muses of the interwar period in Kraków and patron of artists such as Jacek Malczewski, Wojciech Weiss and Teodor Axentowicz. The exhibition of her portraits at the Academy of Fine Arts Museum reveals how she was perceived by the finest artists of her time.
The GAP Foundation and the GAP Art Agency have prepared a project for children and seniors Don’t Break Our World with participants searching for answers to pressing questions on the changes occurring the world over and the challenges they present. The concert by the Hirundo Maris ensemble presents music from the album Poésie et musique produced by the GAP Agency. We will also see a semi-improvised spectacle featuring Krystian Lupa and Katarzyna Janowska Artists Change the World; prepared especially for the Open Eyes Art Festival, it is an adaptation of the annual OEES sessions into formal theatre. The festival also features projects prepared by children.
The two-day long proceedings of the OEES 2021 contemplating issues faced by humankind, currently largely driven by the ongoing pandemic, will be followed by open meetings with artists exploring their take on the world. (Dorota Dziunikowska)
The text was published in the 3/2021 issue of the “Kraków Culture” quarterly.
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