Private Document – Gergely László, Nándor Hevesi – Kornél Szilágyi, Lilla Khoór – Will Potter

Opening: 7 November 2006

On view: 28 November 2006

For remembering we need handholds, so that we may recall, highlight and evoke fragments of the past as memories. These handholds make possible the reconstruction of life scenarios, persons and stories, as well as the way in which the rememberer relates to these, his means of understanding himself in the past and of shaping his present. Such handholds, transmitters or shells include old photographs, film recordings, collected objects, and memories carried in music, and it is these elements around which the portraits featured at the Private Document exhibition are ordered. The displayed works are connected not only by the central theme of recollection, but also by the personal – and yet only indirectly present – relationship, which links the creators of the pieces with the rememberers.

Photography, by virtue of its very essence, is most suitable for serving as a point of departure for contemplating the work of remembering and forgetting on the viewer’s part. Gergely László, in conjunction with a family celebration, has already worked with the old pictures his grandfather took during official foreign travels and family events. The family archive holds a lot of these, having documented personal stories and the semi-official moments of foreign assignments for decades. The latter were produced in the familiar behind-the-scenes settings of socialist countries and are significant for both personal and historical memory. Reviewing some of these photographs provided the framework for the dialogue in the video recording. The photos somehow marked themselves out for the artist (in the video, it becomes clear that the selection is more an indication of his own curiosity, than a reflection of his grandfather’s preferences), which on the one hand stimulated remembering, and, on the other, diverted it from already fixed directions. The dynamics of the conversation oscillate, the rememberer skips over some of the photographs in a disciplined – but, at the same time, bashful – manner. The narrative gains more elaborate ground when, through the photos, we are afforded insight into the political climate of the given historical period, and the way in which it infused public life. During the course of the conversation, the photos are more supposable, than visible, to the viewer; their presence is created by verbality.
(Gergely László: István Kádár on his Photographs)

In a film by Nándor Hevesi and Kornél Szilágyi (These Days You No Longer Ask Anyone), the personality of the main character is so deeply pervaded by remembering that it forgoes a dimension and becomes a present reality. Ferenc Mosonyi, in addition to leading an amateur film circle as a teacher, and, to making, in his own words, neoprimitive-ultra naive wedding clips, is also the keeper of the famous hungarian singer, Péter Máté’s musical legacy and a performer of the songs of this deeply respected musician. He brings the deceased singer-songwriter to life with engaging dedication and surrender and offers his own self as the medium of remembering, so that, through the special moments of playing his songs, indissoluble boundaries dissolve and the illusion of presence is rendered experienceable.

In another film by the artist duo entitled Promenade, the contemporary portrait of Ernő Király, a composer and collector of folk songs and folk instruments from Subotica, is outlined by old Novi Sad television recordings as well as interviews from recent years. In the film, the life story of the composer unfolds through a presentation of his sources of musical inspiration and of the instruments made by him (citraphone, tablophone), revealing an unpretentious person who mixes tradition with experimental music with the greatest ease and is similarly candid while talking about his memories during conversations in his home and while weaving them into his music in his performances on stage.

Miklós Khoór has been collecting prehistoric stone artifacts and traces of the Inca civilization found in Hungary for many years, outside the scientific circles of prehistoric archeology, based on his own personal understanding and observations. He assigns unique scientific explanations and personal stories, which describe the circumstances of discovery, to the stones that he believes to be of cultic significance and that, according to his theory, bear the obvious marks of human intervention – being portraits or animal sculptures. He perseveringly maintains his views in the face of skepticism on part of the scientific community and even his own family. Though the pieces of the collection bare witness to an alternative theory of prehistory, they probably tell us more about the mythos-creating imagination of the collector, about his dedication, which finds verification even in his abandonment, and about the tiresome work of uncovering memories, which bridges time and cultural distances with the help of the imagination.

(Lilla Khoór – Will Potter: Khoór Miklós’ vision of the Inca-Maya Culture in Hungary)

Nikolett Erőss