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Everyday Silences

An exhibition by artist Miklós Fejős

Life is mostly spent with everyday routine. We are surrounded by hundreds and thousands of ornaments and articles for personal use in our busy or idle everyday life. These are lifeless objects which only come to life when we use them and fill them with memories through their usage. These everyday objects, situations and the related memories are taken out from their context and raised to become outstanding moments by artist Miklós Fejős. Three of his series which are intertwined and show a similar topic, but shaped by different artistic tools – in each case chosen precisely and medium conscientiously – are shown in the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center.

His allegorical photo stills entitled Vanitas follow the model of 17th-century Dutch paintings and apply classical methods, proportions, and light conditions. However, the depicted objects, precious candlesticks, crystal glasses and fruit baskets are juxtaposed with the products of modern consumer culture. A fiberboard tabletop appearing under a Persian carpet, a remote control placed on a small copper plate, a clock radio, tempting fruit, canned pork liver pâté and beer cans – contrasting the precious and the cheap, the old and the new. Everyday items which may be found in any household; our poor quality convenience food and drink; our disposable and depreciating objects – telltale signs of our lifestyle. As the original vanitas still-lifes, the works of Fejős also call our attention to the transience of life (Memento mori – remember that you have to die).

Vedute are cityscapes at night, showing parking cars poorly lit by streetlamps, dim building details and flights of stairs. The dynamic noisy car traffic in the daytime is in a symbolic contrast with the melancholy atmosphere, the feeling of silence, standstill, desolation and solitude enfolding the pictures. The night cityscapes, painted on thick wooden panels and reminiscent of Byzantine icons, are following the 2:3 picture ratio of miniature film in this case, without denying their photographic origin. With their small size, they invite the spectator to have an intimate approach and at the same time a contemplating spiritual attitude, nearly to have a dialog.

The Moquette-series is a bit more personal than the other two not only in its topic, but also in its way of presentation, since there are traces of human presence, as well as concrete human figures shown on the images. The scenes painted on moquette (upholstery fabric) coming from a family heritage show everyday family events. Some small objects – a tube pan, tiny nips, a glass of water – as if they were the memories that the children who were playing on the carpet left behind them. Then the grown-up brothers are shown at work, trying to do their job with unexperienced movements: kneading the sausage filling and starting the chainsaw. The background of these pictures is provided by the material culture of the grandparents’ homes both in a symbolic and a real sense. They receive a new meaning by the continuation of traditional activities and by showing present actions.

The common feature of Fejős Miklós’ works is a system of symbols with a strong moral content, coziness hidden behind a dark-toned atmosphere and a somewhat melancholy mood, a highlighted role given to the whiffles of everyday routine. They call our attention to everyday events in order to recognize our transience while urging to silent contemplation.

Judit Gellér

Polski (2009) 24×32, oil on canvas

Curator of the exhibition:
Judit Gellér

The exhibition is open to the public:
24/03/2015 – 19/04