Art Competition Odds

Art Competition Odds: 2014 Art Moves Billboard Art Festival

The 2014 Art Moves Billboard Art Festival聽received 566 applications for ten exhibition spots, and one cash prize.

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Selected聽artists聽comprise about 1:56, or 1.7% of applicants.

The cash聽prize winner comprised 1:566, or 0.17% of applicants.

See聽all聽Art Competition Odds.

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Travelogue

Travelogue: Art Moves Festival, Torun, Poland

Art Moves Festival artists and organizers: Kevin, Joanna G贸rska, Alicia Eggert, Susan O'Malley, Agnieszka Brz臋cka, and Rafa艂 G贸ralski. Art Moves Festival, Fryderyka Chopina, Toru艅, Poland

Art Moves Festival artists and organizers: Kevin Duff, Joanna G贸rska, Alicia Eggert, Susan O’Malley, Agnieszka Brz臋cka, and Rafa艂 G贸ralski. Art Moves Festival, Fryderyka Chopina, Toru艅, Poland

I had the great fortune to visit Poland for the Art Moves Festival, an annual exhibition of art on billboards, founded by artists聽Joanna G贸rska and Rafa艂 G贸ralski (Galeria Rusz) in 2008. They invited me to present some of my ribbon texts聽on billboards and visit their fascinating city of Toru艅.

Billboards by Christine Wong Yap (center) and Susan O'Malley (right). Art Moves Festival, Fryderyka Chopina, Toru艅, Poland

Billboards by Christine Wong Yap (center) and Susan O’Malley (right). Art Moves Festival, Fryderyka Chopina, Toru艅, Poland

I’m so glad I accepted their invitation. My first trip to Poland could not have gone better.

Artists' presentations at Galeria Rusz' studio.

Artists’ presentations at Galeria Rusz’ studio.

Galeria Rusz assembled a cadre of interesting international artists at various stages of their careers. I was very lucky to reconnect with Susan O’Malley, a fellow CCA alumna from California, and meet Alicia Eggert, a text-based artist based in Maine, whose work I’d admired on the web. I was also very happy to get to know Kevin Duff (UK), Egor Kraft and Karina Eibatova聽(Russia), Roy Meuwissen聽(Canada), Darya Zaichanka,聽Micha艂 Le艣niczak, andMaria Wawrzyniak. Joanna and Rafa艂 are artists as well; they organized a night of informal artists’ presentations to familiarize each other with our practices, with an incredibly pleasant and whip-smart translator, Jagoda Ratajczak聽(nicknamed Blueberry). It was awesome to arrive in a new country and find simpatico with artists from such different backgrounds.

With the wonderful help of Art Moves assistant Agnieszka and volunteer Anna, we explored the city together. With locals sharing their knowledge of Toru艅 and Polish language and culture, I found my experience very satisfying. Our three days were filled with so many experiences, it felt like weeks.

Toru艅 is a beautiful, fascinating setting. Its features a massive city wall that runs along Poland’s largest river, the Vistula (Wis艂a). It’s also the birthplace of Nikolas Copernik, and the home of delicious gingerbread.聽Founded in the age of the Teutonic Knights, Toru艅 has preserved or reconstructed many historic buildings. I loved the mix of old and new signs, flags, and typography.

We were incredibly impressed by the spacious, sophisticated Contemporary Art Centre. I loved Widomy kapita艂, the聽exhibition by Agnieszka Kurant, a Polish conceptual artist. One of my favorite pieces of hers was a radio tower broadcasting the an audio track stitched together from the dramatic pauses in various political speeches. It was a great example of art that says so much with very little. She’s working on a forthcoming show at the Guggenheim鈥攍ook out!

We were also delighted to visit the medieval festival. I wanted very much to learn more about the participants in the swordplay competitions, who likely assembled or made their own costumes, armor and weaponry. Re-enacting medieval swordplay can seem very nerdy, but these competitors had meticulous costumes fitting for this magnificent gothic city. Even better, a few competitors aggressively made the most of the two-minute bouts; we could hear the “THWACK!!” of sword against shield in our rooms a hundred feet away in Dw贸r Mieszcza艅ski (Burghers’ Hall, the building in the background of the photo above).

What is it like to be an artist in a gothic city? For Rafa艂 and Joanna, it means having a studio inside the city walls鈥攏ot within the city walls, but actually situated within a tower in of the wall. Their windows are tiny, just big enough, it seems, for a bowman to sight an invader. Now, though, one could use this space to stage a performance by a great Polish singer-songwriter folk duo called Twilite as an art opening, and to ply foreign artists with pierogis of all kinds, which would then fuel a spontaneous dance party.

On the last day, we had a bonfire scheduled, but afternoon rains drenched the firewood and our hopes for flame-cooked kielbasas. We opted for a ferry ride on the Vistula, but the weather threatened wind and rain, driving away other sightseers, who were needed to achieve the minimum ticket count before the boat would leave the dock. When we tried to while away wait with beverages, the draught emitted only foam. The outlook was grim. Then, a reversal of fortune: the strictly-Polish-speaking captain, apparently the father of the two sailor-outfitted youths manning the ferry, jubilantly ushered Susan and I up to the bridge, where he started the engine and gestured for us to take the steering wheel. Though there were only our small party on the boat, we were off. The sun broke through the clouds for magnificent late afternoon views, and beverages aplenty soon appeared. We had accepted paying a few fabricated “we-don’t-speak-the-language” taxes here and there, but this ferry family seemed to offer us a “welcome-and-enjoy-Torun” rebate.

A slogan for the city appeared on many tourist souvenirs: Toru艅: Heart Beats Stronger. In my experience, I felt that Toru艅 was a place where my heart grew fonder鈥攆or artists like Joanna and Rafa艂, who spent all year planning an exhibition that inserts art in public spaces for everyday people, and generously sharing their wonderful historical city; and the artists from around the world who came to dialogue and make new friends.

The Art Moves Festival聽continues through October 17. Stationary billboards are on view in聽Rapacki Square on Chopin Street; text and video works are also on view on LED screens on LED screens on聽Kraszewski Street, Szosa Che艂minska/NOT, Czerwona Droga/ Jan Pawe艂 II Avenue; and聽mobile billboards throughout Toru艅.

Thanks to Joanna, Rafa艂, Agnieszka, Anna, Susan, Alicia, and all the Art Moves artists; the kindness of strangers; Art Moves supporters (Minister of Culture and National Heritage, the Local Authorities of Kujawsko-Pomorskie Region and Toru艅 Municipality,聽AMS SA billboards, Plaza Toru艅, STGU, CityCelebrity,聽AMS SA, Artysta.pl, Design Attack, Arteon, O.pl, cowtoruniu.pl, TVK Toru艅, rynekisztuka.pl, Independent), AIG, HWT studio, and M.

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