29 April – 13 June 2015
Curators: Dejan Sluga, Bálint Szombathy
The concept demonstrated here was inspired by the apropos of a significant event in art history, namely the centennial of Suprematism. Although the first Suprematist manifesto was published in 1915, two years prior to that Kazimir Malevich had created the first series of paintings denying objective representations; therefore, historiography considers 1913 the birth year of this revolutionary, high-impact trend. Works in this exhibition do not relate to the Suprematist tradition as a systematic pattern, that is to say they do not desire to illustrate Malevich’s doctrine. The Suprematist attitude is already present in the creations, as a result of a long process of self-development behind which there is a genuine human-creative sensibility. The project simply enhances the unique historical moment, confirming, amongst the broadest international environment, the high standards and the quality of Hungarian contemporary photography that, at all times, is capable of adding own values to the actual artistic productions in an up-to-date manner.
Artist Bálint Szombathy invited two of his artistic colleagues, Károly Minyó Szert and Anikó Robitz to join him in a group of particular representatives of Hungarian contemporary photography according to above-mentioned principal aspect. Malevich’s idea of pure sensibility is vigorously present in all three authors; however, it manifests itself on slightly different levels with regards to linguistic articulation. But in fact these differences between stages demonstrate most truly to the all-time actuality of pristine human ambitions to be launched towards ethereal heights and divine spheres.
Károly Minyó Szert, who specifies himself as a visual artist and freehand photographer, individually developed a technical-lingual process that manifests itself on a strange border-land, since it combines manual painting and mechanically associated photography. The artist coats the canvas with paint in a traditional way, and once it dries he proceeds to spread it with light-sensitive emulsion. At last he covers it with negative cut film and exposes it to light. On bright areas painted freely with sweeping gestures identifiable objects of the material world or the self-seeking human stumbling around in metaphorical mist emerges in patches as illumination visions. Every one of his pictures is a unique panel painting created by manually coating emulsion and using conventional analogue lab techniques. As part of his open publicly held photo-performances, Minyó, while pedalling a bike in a darkened showroom, illuminates the cut film fixed on the previously exposed canvas with the bike’s lamp, then spreads developer on the surface. During his process the picture gets developed in front of the eyes of the spectator, emphatically demonstrating the gestured power of manual development.
Whilst a few elements of the anthropocentric world can be recognized as slight hints in Károly Minyó Szert’s creations and earth-like limitations restrict; on the other hand, Anikó Robitz’s photos completely take off towards a geometrical-abstract domain, which not only at the level of sensibility but also in form evokes Suprematist language. We move in a strictly defined world of symbols but firstly we know nothing of the origins of these shapes. These signs seem constructed and manipulated but they are not. Robitz consistently refuses to employ external interferences; the photos are pure snapshots, manifesting their strange vision and beauty solely in themselves. Nobody would think that the photographer travelling through metropolises of the world would capture thrilling details of the micro world in hidden corners of contemporary geometrical architecture. She demonstrates a completely unique and original vision that not only has no comparison in Hungarian contemporary photography, but its historical role models can be explored in distant relations somewhere in Bauhaus’ aesthetics.
Works of Bálint Szombathy consist of false pictures taken by the telephotograph fully set aside the camera as a device, regarding that it’s a once used telecommunication instrument. The collection of about 200 unique pieces was accumulated in the eighties; a smaller selection was on display for first time in 2011 in the Hungarian House of Photography – Mai Manó House. During the exhibition Bálint Szombathy exemplified step by step how a recognizable, materially bound world falls apart and how these pieces gradually become more and more unrecognizable, until they eventually settle to nothingness. The last fragments in the series are finalized in monochrome, in such greyish and black squares that echo to the zero point of the new language – the pure sensibility – that is born due to the unintentional mistakes of the mechanical language of mass communication. Telephotographs caught in the act of the highest level of Suprematist sensibility exhibited in large size digital canvas prints.