Fine art photographer Anna Tihanyi's award winning series Berlin bhf is on show during October at one of the prestigious galleries in Budapest. The series engages with issues such as rootlessness and the desire to integrate. Tihanyi's work is strongly related to film, which creates a unique visual communication with a distinct aesthetic. Her projects are born from extensive research and involve a collaborated production, with similar methods that are used within the film industry. I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions and began with her current exhibition.
You currently have an exhibition in a Gallery in Budapest, can you share how the opportunity to exhibit came by, and what you are exhibiting?
Faur Zsofi Gallery is a very prestigious gallery in Budapest, whose owner is known for her exemplary roster of contemporary Hungarian artists. I looked her up as I wanted to show her my ongoing series, and we thought it would be a nice opportunity to keep my previous series Berlin bhf. in the bloodstream by exhibiting it again. First I had a solo show in the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center, but this is the first time when I have a solo exhibition at a commercial gallery, so its a big step for me.
Berlin bhf. is rooted in intimate issues of my personal life, through which I could emphasize Berlin being a transitory place, a habitat of passengers. The series was also inspired by Hungarian authors' Berlin experiences, their visions, stories, expectations, through which I could create text-image pairs to describe the temporary homes for these authors, and me. Through my timeless series I wanted to emphasize the common aspect of rootlessness and alienation, the permanent feeling of outcast and the desire of being integrated. All scenes take places in different interiors of Berlin and Budapest, show feelings and relations through these moments of transitions, additionally each photo has a literary quote. Berlin bhf. not only talks about history, or memories, but as fictional, momentarily existing places it shows misplaced and unsettling situations, where people are uprooted from their origins, loved ones, and their center.
One of your main focuses is femininity, do you think that your work is gaining even more relevancy in connection with the current social environment and the #metoo movement?
Generally my work involves intensive research period and I have been working on a series for many years now. This new project does relate feminine issues, and global matters even though its much more related to my own maturing and personality development. In a sense it does gain more relevancy, because even people who didn't think of that know now that women's rights is an issue. But I prefer not to belong any big movements- its always an ambiguous thing for me. To react to these rising issues is an other thing, and I believe its a very important topic.
How do you feel about the change in the photography industry, when in the age of Instagram photography is much more embedded in peoples lives. Do you think it ads or takes away from the art form as you see it?
I think I don't compare my work or the way I think how others do or what's more popular.
I use Instagram for collecting moods, memories and for or inspirations. I don't think that's a same approach like I turn towards photography, my work is much more related to fine arts and film. However I do think about that I should keep up with the new age, and be present on different surfaces, which I always end up not doing - I think I just have to accept certain limitations, and that I come from a different generation. But if something, its this one that frustrates me, that you have to sell yourself in many platforms, otherwise you are not gonna be well rated. But this has nothing to do with my vision, in that I'm quite certain.
How would you define the line between fine art photography and fashion or editorial photography?
I don't know much about photography genres in definitions, so I'm not sure I'm the right person to define that. I think it has to do with something that one is commercial related work while fine art reacts to the world with emotional or intellectual content.
You started working on a new project, can you share a bit about it?
Absolutely. It's called "A Woman's chamber", and it's about the universal female psyche, roles and archetypes. The characters I form here talk about different situations based on my experiences but at the same time they raise awareness to social issues of today's global epidemics like equality, women rights, sexual abuses, family violence, gender matters and immigration.
At the moment I'm trying to raise the budget for the production, this project is the biggest professional challenge for me so far. Its a big production, and it requires a big crew with prosthetics, costume design, built sets.I have managed to create 2 characters from the total of 10, with the help of film production related companies like Visionteam, Propclub, Umbrella, and with the support of the National Cultural Fund. I have a whole crew of agile professionals as well, working together with them means a lot to me. You can see a sneak peak of the series at Faur Zsofi Gallery for two more weeks, and hopefully more soon once the project gets completed.
This introduction and interview was curated by Shally Zucker for Artqol.