Exhibition of photographs by Andre Kertesz opens in Budapest

André Kertész (1894-1985) is today famous for his extraordinary contribution to the language of photography in the 20th century. This retrospective, the touring exhibition of the Jeu de Paume, which travels after Winterthur and Berlin to Budapest, marshals a large number of prints and original documents that highlight the exceptional creative acuity of this photographer, from his beginnings in Hungary, his homeland, to Paris, where between 1925 and 1936 he was one of the leading figures in avant-garde photography, to New York, where he lived for nearly fifty years without encountering the success that he expected and deserved.

The exhibition pays tribute to a photographer whom Cartier-Bresson regarded as one of his masters, and reveals, despite an apparent diversity of periods and situations, themes and styles, the coherence of Kertész’s approach.

It emphasizes his originality and poetic uniqueness, drawing on new elements to present his oeuvre as the photographer himself conceived it, reflecting as closely as possible the course of his life. It makes full use of archive documents, focusing in particular on an area of his work that is little known (the beginnings of photo-reportage in Paris and the publication of his images in the press and books), and it analyzes the circumstances surrounding his late resurgence. By exploring the recurring preoccupations and themes of Kertész’s work, it sheds light on the complex output of this unclassifiable photographer, who defined himself as an “amateur,” and in connection with whom Roland Barthes talked of a photography “that makes us think.”

(Michel Frizot and Annie-Laure Wanaverbecq, curators of the travelling exhibition)

This first hungarian retrospective of his work will bring together a sizeable ensemble of prints and original documents covering the different periods of Kertész’s artistic career. The show reveals how Kertész developed a genuine poetics of photography – what he himself called “a real photographic language.”


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