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The Getxophoto festival goes on Pause !


No less than twenty two artists are taking part this year in the seventeenth edition of the Spanish festival located in the Basque Country (Biscay) in Spain. Coming from Switzerland, Japan, Ecuador, Mexico, Argentina, Great Britain, Brazil or Greece, through numerous exhibitions and installations; most of them being as usual, present in the emblematic places of the seaside city.

On the other hand, it is a first for María Ptqk, the new artistic director, appointed for three terms. She chose the theme of Pause in the sense of Stop! Enough… Let’s slow down, sit down and reflect on this ever-changing world. Encounter.


Can you introduce yourself ?
M.PTQK: So I am María Ptqk, the new curator of Getxophoto, a festival whose principle is to renew its artistic direction every three years, which is a very good thing in my opinion.
I was born in Bilbao, I trained as a researcher, and I consider myself a curator and researcher, especially in the arts-sciences field, even though I am interested in many other things. I do not come directly from the world of photography, but my interests revolve around the sensitive in the image. 

Is the Covid pandemic one of the reasons that made you choose this Pause theme?
M.PTQK: Of course the experience of this shutdown of society has marked us all, but it is rather in a political sense, like a call for a break. The idea is not to approach this theme in a personal but collective form and to reflect on the mode of organization of society, see a mode of governance. Taking a break is also taking a break for ecosystems, letting the world rest.

Wouldn’t these be social reflections and concerns rather than artistic ones?
M.PTQK: The art of each historical moment is a reflection of society. Also, how can we ask these questions from an artistic approach? How do the artists represent them, how do the artists formulate the questions? and how do they formulate new questions for us and bring us new perspectives? My role as artistic director is enriched by these facts, of the proposals received, and is filled with other nuances and the visions of the creators.

Besides, how are the exhibitors selected here?
M.PTQK: One of the sources of the exhibitions scheduled at Getxophoto comes from the international call for projects, another comes from meetings with Spanish photography schools; there is also a partnership with the PhMuseum and of course curatorial selection work.

Is there a direction you intend to give during these three years?
M.PTQK: I want the idea of ​​a story. 2023 we are thinking about the Pause, 2024 and 25 I don’t know yet, but I would also like to go and study the underside of certain subjects. Even the theme of Pause can be questioned; who can afford to make one? Isn’t this a privilege reserved for some? etc…

Do you maintain the presentation of exhibitions, mostly outdoor, in Getxo?
M.PTQK: Yes, there are always the traditional sites of the city, even if we have new places. Of course, I want the public space to continue to receive proposals from artists, because I find that even for a culturally aware public, the approach to works is different outdoors, all the more so when the installations enter into dialogue themselves with town planning. There is an additional discourse that is created by the choice of location, and it is also an interesting challenge for the artistic direction, not only from a production point of view but from a discourse side.

Jean-Jacques Ader


Festival Getxophoto
du 1er au 25 Juin 2023, à Getxo (Espagne)

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