There would probably be no competitions in an ideal world. Pandemics maybe, but certainly not competitions. Competition-based systems have long been powerfully resisted by visual arts communities. In previous editions of the Kraków Art Salon we wanted to reformulate the form of an artistic salon and competition so that it worked in favour of the artists. The exhibition, the jury, and the prizes were designed to ensure that we went beyond the traditional schemes and offered the visual arts the visibility they so visibly need. This year we wanted to avoid a competition like the plague, but how can we deliver the funds, so needed by artists, critics, curators, and organisers of the grassroots and non-institutional artistic life of the city, without a competition framework? Well, yes, that is impossible.

That “impossibility” inspired this year’s edition of the Kraków Art Salon. Perhaps it was not the “impossible” itself, but rather the reasons behind it and its consequences. Instead of easing down, softening, and concealing the convention of the competition, we decided to take a closer look. This year we allowed ourselves to be guided by the rules, regulations, and definitions. Aren’t they to a large extent what builds our professional reality of an artistic world? So it is also in them that we look for the answer to our questions and doubts. Who is part of the “artistic circle” and who is beyond it? Who is a freelancer? What is a “Work”?

If you have trudged through the text to this point, you must really be interested in participating in the competition. Obviously, the fundamental questions are whether you feel connected to Kraków and whether you identify yourself as part of an artistic circle. If you do, and moreover, you have come of age, it’s been worth the trudge.

Two groups of participants are welcome to apply to the competition this year.

The first are PEOPLE, that is freelancers – people who do not have a stable source of income and do not receive the minimum income from permanent employment. Importantly, the very broad definition of a work (dzieło) in the context of copyright and related rights opens before us a vast space of works that are eligible to be submitted to this competition. Therefore, this year we invite not only visual artists, but also curators and authors of texts on art, to participate in the competition.

The other group of participants are PLACES, that is organisations (such as foundations, associations, private galleries) whose fundamental area of activity is the visual arts, and who have their registered seat or the majority of their activity in Kraków. The term “place” does not have to refer to a particular venue where a business is run. However, the competition is not addressed to units of the local authorities nor the institutions of culture they run.

To participate in the competition, a participant must submit A WORK that was made after 1 January 2019. The work can have already been exhibited publicly but it has to refer to, or be interpreted through, the title of the competition, i.e. A BROKEN PIECE OF MISERY. Perhaps the Act on Copyright and Related Rights can shed some light on understanding what a work is, as Art. 1.1 defines the object of copyright as “any manifestation of creative activity of individual nature, established in any form, irrespective of its value, purpose or form of expression (work).”

To encourage you to participate in the competition, we can add that the total pool for the prizes this year is PLN 100,000, and, like in previous years, the application form is very simple. You can apply from 5 August to 5 September 2020 by completing an online form that you can find through this link, or by post to the address: Krakowskie Biuro Festiwalowe, ul. Wygrana 2, 31-311 Kraków, Poland marking your entry as KONKURS “Obraz nędzy i rozpaczy” w ramach Krakowskiego Salonu Sztuki. (Literally: “COMPETITION A Broken Piece of Misery” as part of the Kraków Art Salon).

We entrust the selection of beneficiaries of the competition and the appraisal of their works into the hands of the Commission for Breaking Scenes of Misery that has been appointed this year especially for the purpose. Composed of artists of various generations, critics, curators, and gallery owners, the commission is a team of experts who together represent a broad spectrum of Kraków-related visual arts communities.

Why don’t you take a look at the rules and regulations of the competition which you can find via this link?