Elek Judit Katalin, Erdei Krisztina, Fabricius Anna, Fekete Zsolt, Fodor János, Kudász Gábor Arion, László Gergely, Szabó Sarolta, Szász Lilla, Tóth Szilvia, Zana Krisztián
Transmission of Everydays
15. May 2004. - 13. June
Opening: 14. May 2004 at 18:00
Remarks by: Beke László
Dokumentum 6 is part of a series of exhibitions started a quarter of a century ago which focuses on the most progressive and up-to-date forms of the photography-based image-making. This time again, curators turn towards such young artists, who convey a novel picture of our environment through their colourful, diary-like works treating or interpreting different ways of living. The invited artists of these exhibitions are looking for an approach - on the basis of the experience of the so-called ‘documentarist’ photography - that might portray or express our contemporary world. The pictures exposed by them are usually non-manipulated - still, they are characterised by subjectivity because the artist’s personality is reflected by the visual representation of reality.
There is a discernible tendency in the history of both the mass media and photography that the bigger the influence exercised by mass communication, the bigger the demand for the independence of the private sphere. The unbelievable amount of private photos produced these days do not materialise but - transformed by different digital devices - they exist on displays or screens, and are deleted or overwritten only by newer pictures. It is noticeable that we are heading towards a vegetative visual communication: the production and consumption of pictures are not performed consciously, but have become the automatic and inseparable part - or even purpose - of certain life situations, at least if we yield to the temptation of services and technologies or the pressures of marketing. At the same time, as a result of the natural and instinctive process of identity-search, the individual does not rely on the ideals suggested by the media-image, but endeavours to form his/her own visual patterns and their micro-publicity by the available means. Photography, the recording, saving, scanning, forwarding or manipulating of digital images - despite the technological differences - might become an instrument of self-expression or self-realisation just as creative photography was in its golden age... But we should not cherish this illusion too much; the media-image of our age does not leave the private sphere, self-realisation or even our dreams untouched! Thus the major weapon of art in its pursuit of preserving independence is that it remains constantly aware of its own relationship not only with reality, but with the actual media-image of reality as well, and reflects on that relationship in different ways. The photograph is not defined by itself but by its context - and the images reaching us through other channels and the mass media as a whole have a major role in this. The photographer involuntarily makes a comparison with the images and the media determining his environment and adapts to or deviates from them. This is a fundamental change that has put an end to the exclusivity of photography in Hungary as well as throughout the world.
The exhibitions organised in the framework of Dokumentum 6 project in 2004 - leaving behind the already too well-known pictorial clichés of “documentarism” - concentrate on personal and fresh ways of “exploration of reality”, consequently, the reality-image conveyed by these exhibitions shall not appear in a greyish-black photo-historian frame, but rather in the context and framework of the colourful mass media of our everyday world. The artists participating in the exhibition organised at Mai Manó House are inspired by the environment they are living in and moving around, or with which they have personal contact. Thus, the ‘reality’ seen on their pictures is the reality of the artist, which provokes the question: how can the obvious orientation of their work be ‘transcended’ within the framework of art? The exhibition - which could also be titled ‘Transmission of Everydays’ - hence proves that even photographic approach leads to the expression of universal content through the subject.
The Hungarian and foreign participants of the Dunaújváros exhibition - which could also be titled Distance - demonstrate an even more concentrated representation of the private world and environment of the photographer. Our relationship with reality is determined - among other things - by our everyday experience and - linked to it very tightly - our visual sensitivity. Our attraction towards or turning away from certain things can be interpreted as projections of our personality, from this perspective this exhibition is about the uncertain relationship between the photographer and the subject s/he has chosen. The central question we are most eager to answer is how can the relationship between the artist and the piece of reality s/he has chosen and recorded on the photograph be characterised: the choice reveals a personal motivation, thus willy-nilly, the documented world is furnished with a personal reading and interpretation. Hence, the ‘distance’ is between the creator and the subject, between reality and art, because no picture can ever be objective and descriptive, on the contrary - the picture is always the result of the assessment of this uncertain relationship.
If we limited this investigation exclusively to the relationship between the subject and the visible material world, then we could even talk about “subjective documentarism”. Whereas, if the unfolding picture could be denoted as the determination of a kind of permanently changing new identity as well, then the notion of reality should be extended to include the prevailing media-image, which is a medium influencing or shaping personality in an active way. And if the picture arrived to in this way differs from the already known documentarist-type “exploration of reality” both in its appearance and in its ideology, it is only because technology is constantly changing, the idiom depicting the world is changing as well, and the media-environment is changing too, and inside: we are changing as well.