Pictures and Pixels
Photographic Art – and Beyond. National Salon 2016
23 April – 26 June 2016
Curator (photographic art): Klára Szarka, (and beyond) András Bán and Marianna Mayer
Almost everything in the past decade has changed around photography and a lot of things within photography, too. We owe to the digital revolution the renewal of taking, using and presenting pictures. This revolution not only brought technical changes to our everyday lives, but also, it keeps challenging and reinterpreting our every notion of photography.
A generation of highly trained, internationally inspired and connected individuals has grown up and risen to prominence in the past decade and a half. Possibly, they are less in touch with Hungarian photographic traditions. The Internet produces spawns unbelievable creativity while artists discuss the new dimensions and pitfalls of visuality with greater freedom than before, confidently reflecting on the events of world in their own environment.
The transformation of Hungarian photography, proud of its traditions, its entrenchment in, or isolation from, international trends reveals itself in the works produced in the past decade. That is the mission of the National Salon of Photography.
Even though the Pictures and Pixels is not a homogeneous show – which in any case would be an impossible venture with 150 artists – we have sought to make it more than merely placing works of different genre, style and inspiration side by side.
We have endeavoured to put together the most colourful selection with a view to offering artists, audience and researches inspiration from hundreds of recent photographic and media works.
As part of the Pictures and Pixels exhibition we present multimedia applications from the decades when knowledge was not generated by computers and spread online, but by the human mind and hand. In those days time was measured – by both creator and recipient – in years, months and days, not minutes. What we are offering is the writing of a diary with pen and pencil, photographic and movie camera, with a view to anything from rescuing archaeological finds to recording the events of a few decades before. This is brought to us by professional artists, scientists or unknown documenters.
This exhibition presents, among other things, a collection of the works of Hungarian ethnographers and travellers, including souvenirs from the 19th-century travels in Finland of János Jankó and the drawings János Xantus made in East Asia. The show will also display a selection of documents from a long-standing Egyptian excavation of TT184, a rock-hewn grave. Hungarian artist András Baranyay’s hidden self-portraits depict eternal doubt in a lyrical way, while Péter Türk makes the faces of his subjects disappear in his picture pair Class Average in a way that he cuts up a group photograph of a class of 25 boys, from which he puts together one big face, and he did this in 1979, long before the notion of digital. In his case it was not the computer, but the scissors and glue that transformed the mass of data. The transnational mail works of György Galántai gave inspiration to scores of young photographers and film-makers to keep in touch with each other and document the subculture of the age. For almost four years from 1978, László Lugosi Lugo obsessively kept his photographic diary, while Gyula Pauler put together from amateur photographs his 1956 steles, a cycle of paintings, in which he records the drama of shooting Budapest to bits in 1956.
It is a moving experience to meet disappeared people, memories, to meet the recent past from the perspective of the digital world, and to come face to face with passing time.