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Culture in KRAKÓW: the top 10 exhibitions, festivals, and cultural events to attend this spring (Part 1)

28.04.2017 City

Kraków, oh Kraków! Your bards sing you shall not become the capital. Yet, you became one in 2000, when the town of Krakus was the first Polish city to be chosen the European Capital of Culture. Is it since then that the unceasing and rising tide of cultural events have been carrying away both residents and tourists? Let’s see what the waves will bring in the upcoming weeks.

Norman Leto „Non-existent exhibition spaces”, Museum of History of Photography  
April 19 – May 7

Ten years after his famous debut in the Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Norman Leto presents a cross-section of his work in the Museum of History of Photography in Kraków. At 26, the artist experimented with video art, creating computer simulations. Since then he has been considered one of the key representatives of video art within the field of visual arts. The very title of the exhibition – “Non-existent exhibition spaces” – refers to Leto’s frequent practice of digitally creating his own exhibition space based on a blueprint of a real-life place, gallery, or museum. Such spaces are present in his videos and 3D renderings as well. All this reflects a tight connection between the real space and the artist’s use of blueprints and algorithms for creating 3D spaces.


Museum of History of Photography 
Ul. Józefitów 16
30-045 Kraków

„Zsolnay. Hungarian art nouveau”  International Cultural Centre
April 19 – July 2

The exhibition brings us closer to the extraordinary art born in Pécs, a city that has been Kraków’s official partner since 1987. We can take all the time we need to delight in the collection of more than one hundred objects from the famous Zsolnay ceramics factory – one of the synonyms for Hungarian art nouveau. The variety of patters and the innovativeness of applied technologies have brought fame to the Zsolnay factory not only in Austria-Hungary, but in the entire Europe, while its products have been compared to the work of Massier and Tiffany. The exhibition in Kraków features both captivating porcelain with its characteristic, soft lines and iridescent, metallic hues, as well as drawings and architectural details from the collection at the Janus Janus Pannonius Múzeum in Pécs. Both the collection and the phenomenon are making its first appearance in Poland.


Zsolnay. Hungarian art nouveau
International Cultural Centre
Rynek Główny
31-008 Kraków

29th International Festival of Krakow Composers  
23-30 April

The festival features the work of musicians connected with Kraków. This year’s edition is devoted to the Nordic composers from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and Denmark, as well as from the Netherlands and Estonia. At the opening of the festival, the composition of Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, this year’s special guest, entitled “Notes on Light” will be performed by an excellent Danish cellist – Jakob Kullberg – together with Orkiestra Muzyki Nowej conducted by Szymon Bywalec. The event will also feature the Danish Kroger Quartet and the Dutch composer and musicologist Leo Samama performing String Quartet No. 3 composed specially for the festival. The finale will witness the world premiere of Symphony No. 3 by Maciej Jabłoński – a Cracovian by choice.


29th International Festival of Krakow Composers  
Office of the International Festival of Krakow Composers

ul. Dunajewskiego 5, 31-133 Kraków

Netia Off Camera Festival
April 28 – May 7

The festival presents daring and independent cinema swimming against the current.  One of the main aims of the festival is to support young and talented directors. This year, ten films – most of them directors’ debuts – compete for the Krakow Film Award in the main competition under the title “Making Way”. Also, a new section – “Till Death Do Us Apart” – has made its way to this year’s edition with an aim to show the directors’ nostalgia for romantic stories. One of them is a story of a young Pakistani girl living in Brussels who, as the tradition requires, has to choose herself a husband and, in order to do that, she is using ... Skype (“Noces”, dir. Stephan Streker). As part of the “The Future Starts Now” section, we’ll see idyllic, utopian images blended with dark dystopian visions of the future. Films featured in “The Strong Sex” show stories of uncompromising and brave women. Music enthusiasts will have a chance to listen to young singer Dillon, whose intriguing, breathy voice is already known all over the world.


23rd Young and Old, or Jazz in Kraków International Festival
April 25-30

The jazz festival is one of the most popular festivals of this kind in the world. A rich program features masters of international and Polish jazz as well as premiere performances of a young generation of jazz artists. Unquestionably, this year’s edition star is China Moses – a daughter of extraordinary vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater. We’ll also have a chance to listen to the album “Polish Jazz – YES!” by saxophonist Zbigniew Namysłowski. April 25th marks the 100th birthday anniversary of The First Lady of Song; a special concert “Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald” will feature young vocalists interpreting the most significant songs of the jazz icon. We will also have a chance to listen to the rising stars as part of the Young Jazz Scene concert.


Article: Kasia Pilitowska
Photos: courtesy of institutions and festival organizers

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