Peter Puklus is among a generation of artists for whom photography isn’t taken as a straightforward medium. Instead, it is a tool bogged down by a trail of cultural, artistic, commercial and political associations and correlations. Rather than consider this aspect as a weakness, the artist consciously exploits this context to invert it to his own advantage. He primarily operates in his immediate environment and his basic medium of expression is the outwardly classic technique of studio photography.
Trivial events, subtle gestures and momentary poses come together with a constellation of objects or home interiors as a photographic narrative woven by Puklus. The thread running through “The Epic Love Story of a Warrior”, the series presented in the exhibition, is an attempt to recreate the subliminal memory of the imaginarium of 20th-century history set in a scenery typical of a modern Central Europe family. Here and now, within the particular climate of the politics of memory that is intensively in the making, an accidental pose might end up as a monument, a common object as a requisite of History. And vice-versa. Puklus sets up his photographs with an understated sense of humour, paying heed to the distinct character of the photographic medium. He reaches for various techniques and tricks of the trade, taking on classic forms like a study of a nude or a still-life, filling the entire historical-artistic foundation with an uncanny inlay of imagination, sensibility and intimacy.
The objects collected and constructed specifically for the purpose of these photographs often take on a second life as individual works, sculptures or installations in their own right. They build a third dimension within Puklus’ photographic universe, while effectively rubbing out the boundary between fiction and reality, documentary and creation.
The particular allure of Puklus’ practice is derived from his ability to construct visually captivating, multi-layered images out of basic elements, figures and iconographic frameworks that are within our reach. An intriguing introduction to the Hungarian artist’s universe is his photobook “Handbook to the Stars”, which can be read as a traditional book—or as we have opted to show it—as an insightful wall map of visual associations and interconnections.
Peter Puklus (b. 1980) lives and works in Budapest. He studied at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design (MOME) in his hometown and École National Supérieur de Création Industrielle in Paris, and is now finishing his doctoral studies in photography at MOME. Winner of the Renaissance Photography Prize (2009).
Exhibition organized thanks to the support of the Hungarian Institute of Culture in Warsaw