Camera: Benedek Bognár, Zsuzsanna Simon, Editor: Benedek Bognár, Emese Mucsi, Zsuzsanna Simon
©Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center
Marcell Esterházy works with family materials and found archives that he appropriates and reinterprets. He has been preoccupied with the history of the Esterházy family since 2005 the events of which constitute an integral part of the Hungarian and universal history. In his 2013 exhibition compare (cf.), marking the end of an artistic period, he presented his works that focused on some arbitrarily chosen details from his own memories and the family archive.
The Shifting Meaning exhibition is the first stage of a new creative period, in which the starting point for Esterházy remains the observations made in his own surroundings; nevertheless he stopped limiting the scope to his family. He has also altered his working method: while his primary tool of expression used to be photography, now most of his new works consist of found or created texts treated as images and interconnected by the exhibition situation itself.
The context of interpretation for his exhibition is provided by several entities: the comprehensive exhibition Meaning, the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center, the Hungarian art scene and today’s Hungary. As a result of contemporary events in this milieu, concepts like truth, propaganda, fence, state, interest, war, Russians, ending, etc. are being filled up with new connotations. Esterházy gives space to these new meanings by intentionally de-emphasizing his personal involvement in his works.
The meanings are modified by the method of presentation and also by the media. The chosen and appropriated texts and images of Esterházy appear in the forms of photographs (One Day, Tourner la page), an object (Cui prodest), videos (Man Forgets, You Know?), installations of takeaway artworks (Propaganda) and a neon sign commissioned from a neon expert (Liar’s Paradox). These pieces demonstrating great diversity in the way of expression are characterized by the gradual disappearing of the visual information.