Memories of oblivescence
Photo / Model 2
16. February 2018. - 25. March
Opening: 15. February 2018 at 18:00
Curator: Peternák Miklós
Exhibition of the Library, Archives and Art Collections of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts and the Doctoral School

The Hungarian University of Fine Arts has been uncovering and processing its Art Collections for over two decades, in parallel with ongoing research on the history of the institution. The University regularly makes the results of this undertaking accessible to the public and to scholars in the form of exhibitions, publications, and online. This present show can be regarded as a continuation of the exhibition held in 2016 ( While the aim in the previous exhibition was to offer a comprehensive presentation of the rich material comprising the photography collection, the present show takes a significantly different approach.

What we are interested in, within the context of the Art Collections, is who used photographs, who took them – or had them taken – when, how and why? Who at the Hungarian Royal Drawing School (the institution which preceded the HUFA) was engaged in photographic activities? What did they think of this new medium? What was it good for, what was it not suitable for? What do the photos themselves have to tell us about the former institution and its actors? In finding answers to these question, it helps to invoke the atmosphere, tastes and thinking of the era: to have a closer look at the milieu in which these photos were – and can now – be found, and to which they pertain.

At the same time, we can gain insight into the intensively changing visual world of the period between the 1860s and the 1910s and the basic transformation that occurred during this time in art and the public sphere, as well as in the visual industry and its products. The exhibition showcases artworks and documents – originals and reproductions – arranged into thematic groups. During the preparatory stage, one of that questions that gained considerable importance was what should be regarded as original in case of a photograph of historical significance. Should it be the object itself or the “light-information” it captured (the purpose for which it was taken), which has been changing, fading and transforming through the years. In this present exhibition, we have decided to liberate, in some instances, the traces left behind by once-existing spaces of light from the trap of actual sizes and tone values.

New works – contemporary reflections: Students of the Doctoral Programme of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts have been invited to create new works in connection with the theme of the current exhibition (similarly to how it was done for the 2016 show), in accordance with their own points of view. As a result, seven new works of art will be displayed by the following artists: Anna Barnaföldi, Manuel F. Contreras, Bianka Dobó, Margit Koller, Bence György Pálinkás, Anna Peternák, and Péter Pettendi Szabó.

Memories of Forgetting will also present works from outside the University’s Art Collection; the various thematic groups are supplemented by other relevant works that have been loaned to us, thereby expanding the context of possible interpretations. We would like to thank all the participating institutions and private individuals for their help and support: the Budapest History Museum – Kiscell Museum, the Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library – Budapest Collection, the Museum of Fine Arts – Archives of the Hungarian National Gallery, the Semmelweis Medical History Museum, the Alajos Strobl Memorial Foundation, as well as Zsuzsanna Demeter, Zita Nagy, Réka Pálinkás, and Tibor Sándor. Special thanks are due to Mátyás Stróbl for his generous help and cooperation.

Works in the historical part of the exhibition are featured by the following artists: Ede BALLÓ, Adolphe BRAUN, Giacomo BROGI, Mór ERDÉLYI, Lili FABINYI, Adolphe GOUPIL, Franz HANFSTAENGL, Dr. Hermann HEID, Adolf HUSZÁR, György KLÖSZ, Ferenc KOZMATA, Jean Pierre Philippe LAMPUÉ, Jean LAURENT, Károly LOTZ, Gusztáv MORELLI, Giovanni Battista PIRANESI, Robert RIVE, Giulio ROSSI, Antal SIMONYI, Giorgio SOMMER, Alajos STROBL and his wife Alojzia Kratochwill, Marianne STROBL, Ödön UHER, Antal WEINWURM, Josef WLHA, Károly ZELESNY.