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Péter Kollányi: Memento

The photographs presented here are selected from Péter Kollányi’s album published by the Capa Center on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Devecser and Kolontár red sludge disaster.

Five years later Péter Kollányi’s poetic images of the red mud catastrophe remind us to recall one of the most frightening environmental disasters. On a tranquil October day at Ajka alumina plant in Hungary, a dyke suddenly burst and 1 million cubic metres of toxic red mud poured out of the storage pond, causing the immediate evacuation of two villages. Residents had only a few minutes to leave and most of them could never return home. The mud painted everything with all shades of red – what remained was solely chaos and silence.

For over a year the Hungarian documentary photographer had shot images of the ghost villages before the abandoned houses were knocked down. His award-winning photo series systematically pursued to find vanishing marks of human existence, creating an elegiac refrain between the post-apocalyptic view and passing life.

Written specifically for this album, the internationally acclaimed Hungarian writer, Péter Nádas provided a lyrical opening with his text that stands at the intersection of the catastrophe’s verbal and visual aftermath, blending genres to create an encompassing whole.

István Virágvölgyi

Photo: Péter Kollányi, Memento (from the series)

The exhibition material was selected by:
István Virágvölgyi, the Capa Center’s deputy director for professional affairs

The exhibition is open to the public:
02/10/2015 – 21/10