Curators: Gyöngyi Pál, Mária Pecsics
This selection of photo comics offers a view into the history of a form that appeared in Hungary with some delay – though closely following European trends –, in the 1960s, and sank almost completely into oblivion after the political transition. It is a young genre whose very name has not become firmly established, with “photo novel” being interchangeable with“photo comics” and the Italian “fumetti.” The genre stemmed from sequences of film stills published in picture magazines. Unlike their Italian and French counterparts, these narratives – usually loves stories – employed not speech balloons, but captions, in the manner of printed film previews. The history of the photo comics is closely related to the development of the press. A look at the genre shows how film previews disappeared from magazines as television and video became ubiquitous, and how changing editing practices influenced the layout of the photo novel, disrupting the orderly sequence of frames.
From the 1970s, similarly to Belgian examplesbut embedded in the distinctive socialist context, unconventional photographicworks appeared that drew upon this phenomenon of popular culture and sequencephotography. These new works appeared not in picture magazines but atexhibitions and in books, and the themes became more conceptual in nature.
The photographic stories presented at theexhibition were made by artists who approached the genre from other art forms(cinema, photography, sculpture, painting, literature), making use of itsformal characteristics in different ways, for diverse purposes. The commondenominator is a desire for narrative, and a readiness to give the benefit ofthe doubt to the photonovel, which was generally looked down upon andconsidered synonymous with clichéd, popular love stories. Instead, these artistchose to play with it, as artlessly as possible, which makes them unique evenby international comparison.