Throughout most of the 20th century, neon lights were the sign of progress and modernity – and behind the Iron Curtain, the illusion of it. Fixed upon the crumbling facades of the once magnificent buildings of post-war Budapest, neon lights beamed banal advertisements and Communist propaganda just like in any other country of the Eastern Bloc. Still, from the relative comfort of the relative freedom of post-Communist Hungary, it is easy to feel some kind of a nostalgia for a time when advertisements (not the political ones!) seemed more direct, more honest, without trying to sell imaginary „lifestyles” through marketing hocus-pocus. Even regardless of their message, socialist era neon lights have various historical, artistic, townscaping and even some „archeological” value. Exploring them is one of the mystical ways to try to comprehend the realities of everyday life behind the Iron Curtain.
Lights of Budapest wants not only to document this characteristic of the city but create a catalogue where all the images are presented with the same kind of framing and a palette of saturated colours that reminds us to the American "Golden Twenties" images. Even if the political situation was totally the opposite, the purpose was the same: create this idea of modernity and fake prosperity.
Through this series, I contrast past and present, and through the crumbling neon signs set against an optimistic background, I want to expose the simple promises Communism could not deliver.
An Ode to Hungarian Packagings
Free interpretation of amazing vintage food packagings you can still find in almost any supermarket in Hungary.
All along the Metro Line 3 of Budapest, a plastic fantastic experience takes place everyday. Bright colours and sinuous shapes are placed in one of the most depressing areas of the city, reminding us of an imaginary, futuristic past.
"Blue Line" is a piece of the collective memory that has been left out in the public spaces of Budapest, now so alienated from the present moment that one could think it is an art installation, not real urban furniture.
The deliberate, timeless aesthetic of the images exposes an obvious confrontation between brightness and darkness, past and present. At the same time it pushes the observer to wonder: How much things have changed after all?
Blue Line Photo Book
Blue Line Accordion Book
Neon Budapest Poster and Guidebook.
Limited edition silk screen glow in the dark poster showing the whereabouts of the remaining iconic neon signs of the Socialism on the map of Budapest.
Comes with a Hungarian-English 52-pages artistic book about these decaying remnants of a bygone era.
Photos: Isabel Val Graphic design: Patkós Luca Text: Kozák Iván
Published in Budapest, 2017
By distressing negatives with different kinds of chemicals, old or discarded images come back to life again. There is a certain randomness in this process, as the effect of the chemicals on the negative cannot be controlled 100%.
This accidental kind of process contrasts with the digitalization of these new negatives. This way they can have an almost scientific treatment where the composition is based on colours, shapes and repetition.
Vibraciones is the exploration of the limits between music and photography and the merge of the most genuine part of both. The images are generated by the vibration that the music produces. The light, essential element in any photographic process, is in this case the last step instead of the first one.
All the images are unique and unrepeatable, because the conditions are constantly changing.
Vibraciones is music that becomes photography and images that are actually songs. There is no cameras. There is no film nor sensors. Just light and vibration.
But it's better than thinking!
The starting point of this project are some letters send abroad by Hungarians living under the Communist regime where they talked about their situation, their problems and the way they see life. Reading them I realized how little things has changed regarding our struggles or the way we approach our lives, even if apparently everything has changed since those times.
My aim is to reflect all these ideas through an artist book where I can find the narrative through a collection of photographs (own and found), collage, illustration and archival material. In this case, the phisical format - the book - is very important, as I believe that the mere fact of being able to touch and interact with the artwork creates a much more intimate experience for the audience. With this project, I want to start an honest conversation about where are we going as a society, what are the real benefits of this comfort days we live in and where all this working and consuming lifestyle is bringing us to.
Here you can see the scanned pages of a notebook I use to explore different ideas.