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Dániel Halász: Borderland

Visiting is free of charge
From May 04, 2021
Monday – Saturday: 9am – 7pm
Closed on Sunday.
Budapest Photography Grant 2019–2020
Capa Center – 8F Gallery
Curator: Emese Mucsi

A limited-edition photo book is published in conjunction with the exhibition, which will be possible to purchase at the cash desk of Capa Center.

“… a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances. Dérives involve playful-constructive behavior and awareness of psychogeographical effects, and are thus quite different from the classic notions of journey or stroll.”

/Guy Debord on the theory of the dérive, Les Lèvres Nues #9 (November 1956, reprinted in Internationale Situationniste #2 [December 1958]). Trans.: Ken Knabb/

Las Vegas 9,650 km. Helsinki 1,445 km. Rome 822 km. Lisbon 2,476 km. Sydney 15,783 km… The number of kilometers together with the city names reveal the current geographical point of reference–the picture was taken in Budapest, on the outskirts of the Hungarian capital packed with one-story houses, in front of a tree full of unusual direction signs. However, when reading all the metropolitan names painted on colorful boards, pointing in every bearing of the compass, our imagination sets off in a matter of moments, and the original venue gets lost in the distance. Sudden imaginary leaps spanning continental distances in every second: from the tangerine-flake colored, one-armed bandit to the sea-scented shores of the Gulf of Finland, thence to the millennial arches of the Colosseum, to the ancient palm trees of Jardim Botânico, and then flying away in mind again to the stairs of the Sydney Opera House from where the yachts in the neighboring harbor come into view, and then suddenly a barking dog pulls us back into the now-and-here of Budapest.

It is a borderland between Budapest and something else. This is what Dániel Halász’s photo series entitled Borderland presents: the transition zone. And he does so in a way that the transition itself also becomes an experience. His photographs were taken in Budapest, but far from the must-see sights, the fabulous historical monuments, the troubled and wise Danube, and the swarming passers-by of the Andrássy Avenue. They were shot in largely unknown places and situations, from where it is just a leap to get to somewhere else, on foot and in thought. Halász uses two kinds of creative methods to explore the geographical and virtual peripheries of the Hungarian capital.

On the one hand, he strolls, with a camera in hand, along the administrative boundaries of the city–by dormitory suburbs, magnificent hiking areas, green spaces, cross-border railway lines, highway noise barriers, factory sites, horse ranches, detached houses under construction on plots newly connected to utilities. A deal of his pictures partially documents these wanderings of his. Although Halász’s observation area is not focused on the bustling city center, his creative behavior is similar to that of the flâneur, a characteristic figure roaming through the crowded streets of Paris at the end of the 19th century. According to its theorists, the flâneur always strolls around with special attention, not losing sight of the smallest detail of the area visited. He moves around with the vigilance of a naturalist, a detective, or a photographer as Victor Fournel points out in his writing What One Sees in the Streets of Paris in 1858: “That kind of man [the flâneur] is a mobile and passionate daguerreotype who retains the faintest traces of things, and in whom is reproduced, with their changing reflections, the flow of events, the city’s movement, the multiple physiognomy of the public mind, the beliefs, antipathies, and admirations of the crowd.”

On the other hand, he drifts from one milieu and mood to another, in a way that his path will always lead back to Budapest. The landscapes, the object photographs, the images of buildings, and the mood pictures re-enact the creative drift of Borderland, but this is, unlike strolling about, not a physical change of location. It is more like surfing the internet: through progressive associations and hyper-leaps, a non-linear imaginary journey can be traveled along the ‘borderlands’ of Budapest. Contemplating on the above-mentioned direction signpost, the century-old wears of a landmark and its “Budapest capital 1882” inscription, the idleness of a transport vehicle peeking out from behind a fence, an airplane’s destination flying in the sky above Ferihegy, and the now-spiritual resident of a marble doghouse erected in a pet cemetery, the viewer of Borderland oscillates between various virtual locations and a rarely depicted Budapest, where the Chain Bridge can only be seen as a window shop sticker.

Emese Mucsi
curator

Halász Dániel: Határvidék, részlet a sorozatból | Borderland, from the series, 2019–20 © Halász Dániel
Halász Dániel: Határvidék, részlet a sorozatból | Borderland, from the series, 2019–20 © Halász Dániel
Halász Dániel: Határvidék, részlet a sorozatból | Borderland, from the series, 2019–20 © Halász Dániel
Halász Dániel: Határvidék, részlet a sorozatból | Borderland, from the series, 2019–20 © Halász Dániel
Halász Dániel: Határvidék, részlet a sorozatból | Borderland, from the series, 2019–20 © Halász Dániel
Halász Dániel: Határvidék, részlet a sorozatból | Borderland, from the series, 2019–20 © Halász Dániel
Halász Dániel: Határvidék, részlet a sorozatból | Borderland, from the series, 2019–20 © Halász Dániel
Halász Dániel: Határvidék, részlet a sorozatból | Borderland, from the series, 2019–20 © Halász Dániel
Halász Dániel: Határvidék, részlet a sorozatból | Borderland, from the series, 2019–20 © Halász Dániel
Halász Dániel: Határvidék, részlet a sorozatból | Borderland, from the series, 2019–20 © Halász Dániel
Halász Dániel: Határvidék, részlet a sorozatból | Borderland, from the series, 2019–20 © Halász Dániel
Halász Dániel: Határvidék, részlet a sorozatból | Borderland, from the series, 2019–20 © Halász Dániel
Halász Dániel: Határvidék, részlet a sorozatból | Borderland, from the series, 2019–20 © Halász Dániel
Halász Dániel: Határvidék, részlet a sorozatból | Borderland, from the series, 2019–20 © Halász Dániel
Halász Dániel: Határvidék, részlet a sorozatból | Borderland, from the series, 2019–20 © Halász Dániel
Halász Dániel: Határvidék, részlet a sorozatból | Borderland, from the series, 2019–20 © Halász Dániel
Halász Dániel: Határvidék, részlet a sorozatból | Borderland, from the series, 2019–20 © Halász Dániel
Halász Dániel: Határvidék, részlet a sorozatból | Borderland, from the series, 2019–20 © Halász Dániel
Halász Dániel: Határvidék, részlet a sorozatból | Borderland, from the series, 2019–20 © Halász Dániel
Halász Dániel: Határvidék, részlet a sorozatból | Borderland, from the series, 2019–20 © Halász Dániel
Halász Dániel: Határvidék, részlet a sorozatból | Borderland, from the series, 2019–20 © Halász Dániel
Halász Dániel: Határvidék, részlet a sorozatból | Borderland, from the series, 2019–20 © Halász Dániel