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Capa in Israel

Opening: Friday, October 6, 2017, 6 pm.
Greetings by:
Csaba Káel Chief, Executive Officer, Palace of Arts, Budapest
Orsolya Kőrösi, managing director, Capa Center
Opening remarks by: Yossi Amrani, Ambassador of Israel to Hungary

Open to the public:
2017. 10. 07. – 2017. 11. 26.
Every day 11 am – 7 pm
Closed on public holidays.
Curator: Gabriella Csizek

Endre Friedmann, who is better known as Robert Capa (1913–1954), is often called the best war photographer of all times. Between 1948 and 1950 he went to Israel to photograph daily life in the newly established Jewish state.

The photos made during this heroic and controversial period when the state of Israel was born offers a truthful view of the optimism, naivety and idealism that informed the life of the Israeli pioneers.


Capa in Israel

Robert Capa (1913–1954), with his legendary oeuvre and life, is considered the unique visual chronicler of the historical events of the 20th century both in the universal and the Hungarian history of photography.

The Hungarian photographer, who covered five wars directly from the battlefield, made his mark in photography in the course of his tragically short life. He created a revolutionary visual world with his photographs and showed generations to come how powerful the images constructed from a deep sense of humanism can be.

Wherever Robert Capa went in the world, he took photographs. By always making a stand by the suffering and the deprived, his images are capable of presenting even the tragic situations in their complexity, not only revealing the historical context but also the underlying individual stories and lives of the participants.

He took photographs in Israel several times between 1948 and 1950. He captured the reality of the newly founded Jewish state’s first years, from the arrival of the immigrants, through the everyday life of refugee camps, until the finding of their new homes, with all the expectations, joy, pain, and doubt involved. The photographs taken in this heroic, but at the same time ambiguous period of Israel’s birth, present a true image of the life experience filled with pain and uncertainty, and yet still optimistic, naive and idealistic, which pervaded the ordinary life of Israel’s pioneers.

The selected photographs are not only meaningful descriptions of the stories, and witnesses to Robert Capa’s compositional virtuosity as well as his visual solutions constructed from thorough observations, but they also show his unique ability to capture one’s entire life in a face or a gaze.

Robert Capa’s photographs taken in Israel are incredible visual highlights of the story which leads from the journey, through the arrival, to the world of the not less heroic days of their everyday lives. Taken during his three stays in Israel, the images of this photo series were also shot from his usual position of the participating observer and now are considered to be an integral part of his oeuvre.

We are all familiar with his world-famous words: If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough. In Israel, Capa was “close enough,” together with his subjects, and this is how these images were born as well.

Gabriella Csizek, the curator of the exhibtion




The exhibition is part of the CAFe Budapest Contemporary Art Festival. It is realized in partnership with the Hungarian House of Photography – Mai Manó House.