Artist statement

I have completed my studies at the Department of Photography, the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest. I always considered photography a broader medium than its traditional fields, artistic photography, portrait photography or socio-  and documentary photography, that are rather popular in Hungary due to their long tradition. I consider the technique of photography, the medium as a tool to give form to my thoughts, concepts and not as an end in itself.

In my first series (Paris, 1987) I used the tools of classical photography, however due to the special viewpont and field of vision it is also a break with its canon. In my Still-life series (1992) I transgressed the boundaries of photography as a genre, certain parts of the pictures were corroded, colored. In 1994 I made a series of portrait photographs of the members of the Hungarian gay subculture. This topic is almost a taboo topic up to now, especially if the attitude to it is not that of a socio-photographer’s, feeling sorry for  and keeping a certain distance at the same time form these „others”.

In the exhibition, Pleasure of Art *** that focused on erotics and sexuality in Hungarian art, I already presented objects (Nem/gender, 1997). In 1997-98 I participated in a one year long post-graduate master course in Brighton. The works I made here were still objects – using photo technique in a variety of ways (photographs on cloths, pillow, embedded in gelatine) and I presented them in the form of an installation.  My works are considering the body the social representation of the body, gender roles and sexual stereotypes, similarly to my Tryptichon (2000), where I printed photographs onto transparent foils and casted them into a transparent plastic mould layered way.

Looking back, the year 2000 was a turning point in my work. I focused on notions, thoughts on art itself, concepts prevailed over tradition art objects. In my exhibition, On the track of… I investigated the use of photography as an applied technique, documentary tool, use by the police. The exhibition itself is preserved only in the form of photo documentation.

With my project, Our Seasonal Patron Saints I oppose the notion of the closed work of art, since the number of figures advertising restaurants can be broadened unlimited. In my l Shadow traveler series  made in NyewYork and Budapest I inverted the object/subject, professional/amateur relation. Also, I move out from the central position (from the focus of the narrative), towards the edges, so the series is also about loss and void.

In my further works (Life Is Beautiful in Cuple 2005, With as Well as Without You 2005, Lenticular Pictures 2007) I discovered the concept of recollection. How, in what ways and what do we remember? What is the preference of solutions of different communities and what material culture they create for the alleviation of their own duties? Is there a collective memory and how is it constructed and what kind of tools do they use for its creation and alteration? How do our memories change and how conscious are we when changing or manufacturing them? I use photography, which is otherwise the typical manifestation of this genre (production of recollection).

In 2009, as a participant in a very complex project, I imitated the toolbar of the highly popular cookery programs and the attributes of commercials, within them especially the characteristics of food photography. In my work I Want to Get Married! 2009 I was making fun of those societal stereotypes that determined the place of women in “domesticism”, and on the female behavior code and appearance normalized according to the male-dominant expectations of the domesticated environment; I also criticized the starlets coming to the fore as the trustees of knowledge.

My series Backround 2013 deals with the, to me at that time entirely new, role of mother, the nature of her task, her societal role and judgement by society. In one respect my pictures are mainly portraits of children; on the other hand, they are the metamorphosis of the maternal identity. The background of my photo series was a fantastic imagery: 19th century Victorian baby- and infant photographs, the so-called “Hidden Mothers” pictures. In my latest works I have been reflecting on such social issues as the never-ending consumption as well as the refugee crisis. Following the tendencies of the previous years, I am still concerned with the artistic features of photography and their possible forms where film and photo are both present at the same time.

In order to persist, I have gained great reinforcement from the number of publications, positive reviews, achieved tenders, professional awards and grants, not to mention the unceasing professional interest that has always accompanied my artistic activities

Luca Gőbölyös DLA habil