Łukasz Rusznica: winner of the 2017 Griffin Art Space – Lubicz Prize

The Griffin Art Space Prize is awarded to the author of the best original portfolio in the annual Portfolio Review at Krakow Photomonth. This year’s winner is Łukasz Rusznica, photographer, author of photo books and curator.

The Portfolio Review has long been the flagship event at Photomonth. It is an exceptional opportunity for young artists to meet, in person, a select group of Polish and international reviewers. For ambitious artists, taking part in the Review not only provides them with the chance to see their work judged by specialists, but is also a great opportunity for networking which may lead to future collaborative projects.

For the fourth time, the Review is accompanied by the 2017 Griffin Art Space – Lubicz Prize, awarded to the author of the best portfolio. The prize is the creation of a series of original collectors’ edition portfolios, two of which will be purchased for the Griffin Art Space Foundation collection. The winning work will also be exhibited at next year’s Photomonth festival. The portfolio and exhibition of last year’s winner, Wiktor Dąbrowski, is on show at the ZPAF Gallery until 18th June 2017.

“We’re so pleased to see that the annual Griffin Art Space Prize is becoming a recognizable brand in its own right,” says Anna Klimczak, Executive Director of Griffin Art Space Foundation. “We always try to base our decisions on variety within the projects, on their creation and craftsmanship. We hope that this lovely work will enrich the programme of next year’s Krakow Photomonth, just as Bogusław Madej, Wiktoria Wojciechowska and Wiktor Dąbowski’s exhibitions have done.”

The winner of this year’s competition was chosen by an international jury comprising representatives from the Griffin Art Space Foundation, the Foundation for Visual Arts and the Portfolio Review. The jury gave the following rationale for their decision: The jury has awarded the prize to Łukasz Rusznica for his expressive and intriguing visual language, his beautiful images and for the creation of an immersive world which exists, as the author himself says, somewhere between fiction and reality.

Photographer. Since graduating from the Faculty of Cultural Studies at the University of Wrocław, his works have been exhibited in numerous galleries both in Poland and abroad. The author of photo books Smog, Near, Infra, Toskana and Najważniejszego i tak Wam nie powiem (What’s most important stays a secret anyway) designed by Thomas Schostock, which was winner of ShowOFF at Krakow Photomonth in 2012 and the 2015 Warto Prize. In 2016 he was invited to take part in the project European Eyes on Japan, and took up a creative residency there. He is currently curator at the Miejsce przy Miejscu (A Place by the Place) gallery of photography at the Creative Arts Centre in Wrocław and also a member of the TIFF Festival Programme Board.

About “Underground River”
When I went to Japan, there was just one thing I knew, and that was that I wanted to make photos based on Japanese mythology, in particular Yokai, the monsters of legend. The photography was the consequence, the result of functioning in new surroundings, and was the end of a process of meeting people and building relations, which is probably why many of the images (especially the more intimate ones) feature my friends or people who trusted me – human people. The non-human world isn’t just an add-on, a visual interlude; it’s an equivalent. I understood that what interested me most in this context was nature. Humans are a part of it, no more or less important than a stone, a bush or a cat. I would add that the word nature also lacks precision, since it’s easy to reduce it to wild backwoods “untouched” by human hands. I would call nature everything that is subject to biological, chemical and physical processes – it exists, ages and disintegrates. This series is a question about wholeness – about how incomplete we feel and how we’re looking for a way back. That’s how Underground River came about.

Krakow Photomonth 2017