May 2 – 10, 2017
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THE INSTANT project is based on the re-contextualization of some of Gergely Szatmári’s commercial polaroid photographs that were created for various clients in the 1990s, just a few years after the political regime change in Hungary as well as in Central Europe. The images selected for the current exhibition are also included, along with several others, in the recently published book “Nálunk/Villanás” that was co-authored by Gergely Szatmári and Gábor Fabricius, and designed by Andrea Parák.
The 1990s belonged to the era of analogue technology. As digital photography was not yet available, polaroid shots were taken for test purposes before the final visual content was recorded on film. These polaroid images were useful for both the creative team and the client to shape the visual message of the project they were involved in.
In this part of the world, the 1990s was also a politically and economically turbulent period when all that had been stable, familiar and recognizable were thrown into a state of flux. The rapid transformations that characterized those years and the consequent complicated co-existence of old and new had a strong influence on the visual modes of expression used in the applied arts. New lifestyles, attitudes and values emerged, new types of heroes of a new world entered the scene. The resulting visual hybridity preserved elements of the visual culture of the former Eastern bloc and incorporated features, in terms of both form and content, of the commercial advertising world of the West in a unique way, creating a peculiarly Central European version of the nineties.
Two decades have passed, and that creates a long enough distance to look back on this period without nostalgia for the “good old days” when everything seemed (almost) possible or at least promising, in a brief period of suddenly emerging hopes and dreams. Instead, now we can examine and understand how our culture has been transformed as a result of a major historical change. Deprived of their original contexts, the images now exist in a vacuum with their absurdity even more exposed. There are no longer headlines, additional pieces of textual information to determine their meanings, it is only the images that we can rely on for interpretation.
These artefacts of visual culture offer a strong testament to our history, and their re-contextualisation may help us to a deeper understanding of our identity and values.
Gergely Szatmári, MA, DLA (Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design), Hungarian photographer. In his early works he engaged in commercial and fashion photography; since 2006 he has been focusing on his own themes and fine art photography projects. He is most interested in the critical representation of current social values. Szatmári has published several books: Conventional (2008), followed Meadowlands (2011), and American Idler (2012). His work has been exhibited in numerous group shows and solo exhibitions, most notably at DeMarkten Cultuurcentrum, Brussels, at Viennafair, the Hungarian Cultural Centre in London, he Museum der Arbeit in Hamburg, at the Berliner Kunstverein and at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin and at Montclair State University (NJ, USA). Currently he is an Associate Professor of Photography at the University of Kaposvár.
Gábor Fabricius is a media designer, film director and writer, holding an MA from Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design. His early interests lay in music, the fine arts and media design. in 2000 Fabricius won the Golden Media Lion award at the Cannes Lions Festival, then moved towards directing shorts, music videos, documentaries and multimedia pieces. Around the turn of the millennia he was involved in social awareness campaigns with Ittvan.org, a non-profit organization. In 2014 he set up a cinematic creative collective, Otherside Stories. Since 2010, Fabricius has taught courses in Media Theory, Media Design and Visual Communication at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, (MOME) in Budapest. His first novel, Más bolygó [Other Planet] was published in 2016.
The exhibition was supported by the National Cultural Fund of Hungary.