Barakonyi Szabolcs, Szász Lilla
Foreign field
10. May 2013. - 7. June
Opening: 9. May 2013 at 18:30
Remarks by: Mélyi József
Lilla Szász: Heroes Lilla Szász presents members of communities that are bonded by their common past; their common fighting and wars. The past that they share connects them, and puts their everyday life happenings in a remote distance.

Comrades (2010) documents the lives of Russian Jewish Veterans living in Brighton Beach, New York. As members of the Russian army, these people fiercely fought German occupation from 1941 to 1945. In the 1990s because of the post-war anti-Semitism in their own country, they immigrated to the US and settled in New York City area. The association today boasts 3,000 members.

Purple Hearts’ (2011) heroes are Russian and Post-Soviet citizens serving in the American military in order to get a green-card and obtain a US citizenship. They would like to forget their uniforms, medals and the years served in the army. They are not proud of their past; they are not happy to recall the terrors of war that they experienced. According to 2011 data 17.000 non-American citizens served in the US Army. Most of them come from South and Central America, Eastern Europe and the former states of the Soviet Union.

Freedom Fighters (2011-2012) Hungarian Jews, who were at that time excluded from rights, took part in the 1848 revolution in huge numbers. They received equal rights for their heroism from the Parliament. The Association of Hungarian Jewish Freedom Fighters commemorates the Jewish commanders of 1848 on their March 15 celebrations. Many Jews participated in the revolution of 1956 too. József Apró founded the Federation of Hungarian Freedomfighters, the aim of which is to provide emotional and financial support to Jewish veterans and to organize events that commemorate the revolution without distortions.

Szabolcs Barakonyi: Why the flowers are prettier here (2011-2012)

In 2011 I was awarded the André Kertész Scholarship of the Hungarian Cultural Fund. With this I received money and accommodation in Paris and my job was to complete a project there. I have, however, worked for a while here, in Hungary; my projects are about this country. But the scholarship was very tempting and this is why I applied for it. As I do not like just to work without any ground it was important for me to make a project about Hungary. It was also important that the problem I raise is timely. The first time I visited Paris in 2006. I was lucky enough to exhibit in Paris the first time I went; it seemed that there is interest towards my work. At that time I seriously considered moving there for a while. But after a long struggle I decided to stay. It was definitely because I like to work here; my works are inspired by Hungary and by being Hungarian. And therefore I decided to use my scholarship for showing what I know about Hungary and what preoccupies me. In Paris, too, my starting point was being a Hungarian as this what I knew about. I was interested in the Parisian lives of Hungarians from my generation; artists, or people dealing with art. I finally chose nine persons: some of them I already knew and I could make contact with others through those. This project was also a little therapy to me as – because of my decision - I comforted myself with others’ difficulties.