Young Photographer Discovered in Arles
Marcela Paniak, photograph from the series Elysium, 2013, image courtesy of the artist.
Marcela Paniak (born 1991) has been nominated for the Discovery Award at Les Rencontres d’Arles festival. Her Elysium series, picked by curator Diane Dufour, is a subtle experiment with mixed media and a poetic take on the subject of death and spirituality.
Paniak was nominated for the Discovery Award at Les Rencontres d’Arles, one of the biggest photography festivals in Europe. She was chosen by Diane Dufour, former director of Magnum Photos and a curator, and will now be featured in a solo exhibition at the festival with her series Elysium.
The series is described by the artist: "Elysian Fields is a mythological place where blessed souls of the dead stay. In the underground land of eternal peace and after-death happiness the souls, devoid of all suffering and desires, stroll through pale meadows surrounded by invisible lyre music, poplars and asphodels; the flowers that surround them symbolize death, grief, sadness, melancholy, sentimentality, eternity. These works are made out of scanned carte-de-visite photographs adorned with dried flowers. The series deals with the issue of human mortality, the image’s immortality and the passage of time".
The artist, whose real name is Katarzyna Woźniak, is a student at the National Film School in Łódź and a member of the Association of Polish Artists Photographers and of the Photographic Society of Łódź. She has already won awards in Poland including First Prize at the 2012 National Salon of Art Photography in Żary. Her work has been featured in exhibitions and at festivals in Poland and abroad – most recently, at the Month of Photography in Denver and the Copenhagen Photo Festival.
She says that she “has always been captivated by the world of children’s imagination":
I would like to use photography as a time-stopping machine; I’m attracted to memories – both my own and belonging to those who are not alive anymore. I don’t concentrate on the real world, but try to keep in touch with that which is conceived by human mind.
The Discovery Award is presented to a photographer or an artist using the medium of photography, whose work is newly discovered or deserves to be. Each year a panel of directors and teachers from major photography schools, and of other professionals from the industry, is chosen to nominate candidates for the award. Each candidate is given a solo exhibition in the Parc des Ateliers. Photography professionals elect the winner through a public vote during the opening week of the festival. The winner receives a monetary award of 25,000 euro.
This year, candidates were chosen by five nominators:
Zeina Arida - director of the Arab Image Foundation
Diane Dufour - director of Magnum Photos 2000-2006, curator
Alison Nordström - curator-at-large at George Eastman House
Brett Rogers - director of the Photographers’ Gallery, London
Olga Sviblova – founder of the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow
The Award winner will be announced on the 6th of July.