The photographic works of Bence Bakonyi represent symbols of freedom, liberation and transubstantiation. Beneath their contemporary and visually captivating aesthetics, there exist deeper layers of interpretations. The series explore human existence, the relationship between body and mind, and how human life blends into natural landscapes.
Bakonyi creates pictorial dramas that seem almost otherworldly, extending beyond the corporeal, like the very concepts that the artist seeks to explore. Bakonyi’s works have the ability to bridge reality and fantasy, the ethereal and empirical, conflating in scenarios that bear as much unease as tranquility.
In 2013, Bence Bakonyi travelled the expanses of China, exploring a complex culture so different from his native one. What resulted is a new series entitled Cognition, where Bakonyi puts the viewer in the delicate position of a distant, outside spectator. It is only at this withdrawn vantage point that we are able to experience and comprehend a situation in its entirety, specifically ‘the spirit of the group’ as portrayed in these images taken in the natural wonders of Dunhuang and Zhangye Danxia.
The artist wishes to capture not the singular figure, but the whole community as an individual entity – the way it moves in unity and the process through which the unknown is uncovered.
The protagonists in the photographs represent the face of countless tourists, to whom the landscape was just as alien and fascinating as it was for Bakonyi when he documented it, capturing a shared experience that extends far beyond archival photography.
In Bakonyi’s celebrated series Dignity, stark formal contrasts conceal the essence of his works – his concern that there is something untouchable in all of us, something unrelated to countries, regimes, politics and even to people.
The crux is that this something springs from life itself, from the unique, inimitable expression of human existence.
‘I cannot escape from the fact that I struggle with myself,’ the artist proclaims.‘It has always been a difficult question for me: do I know him? Who is he anyway? It’s so alluring, sometimes as if the will of the body would want to swallow me, leaving my thoughts behind, but then comes the soul to pull me back. It’s an eternal battle and a game. Like the gravitational pull of a black hole, when it touches you, something new is born, as if I’m not me anymore, somewhere else, in an unknown place.’
The exhibition bears witness to Bence Bakonyi’s fondness of philosophy, and presents to us the concept of art as ideas and journeys into the inner self. His extensive exhibitions across Europe, Eastern Europe and China are testament to the quality and success of his digital work as well as classical photography.
About Artify Gallery
Launched in 2012, Artify Gallery is Hong Kongʼs premier gallery dedicated to the art of contemporary print and paper works. The Gallery aims to collaborate with emerging artists to provide access to new methodologies of production, opening channels from contemporary photo printing to more traditional forms such as etching, lithography, ink art, silkscreen and woodblock printing. The gallery hosts a dynamic combination of exhibitions and interactive outreach events. Workshops, edition printing with artists, talks and screenings are programmed to benefit the public, acting as catalysts for new ideas, dialogues and developments for contemporary art in print and paper.
About Bence Bakonyi
Born and bred in Budapest, Hungary, Bence Bakonyi is a photography graduate of Maholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest. Concerned with the metaphysical questions of human existence, Bakonyi’s works are characterized by stark contrasts and pictorial dramas that bridge the real and the fantastical. Recent solo and group exhibitions include Photo Offart fair, Paris; Xuhui Art Museum, Shanghai; Athens Art Festival, Athens; FID Design Festival, Costa Rica; X6 Photo Edition Gallery, LUMAS, Budapest and M17 Contemporary Art Center, Kiev (all 2013). His work has also been featured in ELLE Hungary, MASHABLE New York among others.