top of page
Neo-avant-garde and New Wave in Hungarian Photography, 1965-2005 –

Concept by Gábor Einspach and Sándor Szilágyi

Curated by Gábor Rieder


Opening: 6 September 2018, 6 p.m.

Opening speech by Tünde Topor, editor-in-chief of Artmagazin

On view: 7 September - 6 October 2018


Kepes Institute, 3300 Eger, 16 István Széchenyi Street

Opening hours

Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00 - 18:00

Supported by Nemzeti Kulturális Alap (National Cultural Fund of Hungary) and Kepes Institute

Cover photo: István Szirányi, Photo-machine-man, 1976

Exhibition photos: Attila Vécsy

In the last decade an increasing number of art historians, photography historians, collectors, curators and other art world professionals –both in Hungary and abroad – have recognised the fact that between 1965 and 2005 a uniquely rich, intriguing and valuable kind of photography was born in Hungary where it thrived in subsequent years. This was thanks to some 40 mutineer photographers and 20-25 non-conformist artists who used photography too, all of whom rejected the official, kitsch, socialist-humanist “artistic photography” of the era and, inspired by contemporary (American, Western and Central-Eastern European) patterns, started to conduct photographic experiments. To this day, this was the only period in the history of Hungarian photography when our photographers did not lag 15-25 years behind an already outdated, classicized fashion wave which had long been superseded elsewhere, but breathed together with their contemporaries – something that can clearly be seen when looking at representative international exhibitions and publications of the time.

New Wave, which began around 1980 and reached its apogee in the 1990s, was not the sheer negation of the Neo-avant-garde period (1965-1984); rather, the differences between the two were a matter of emphasis. One was more this, the other more that. Stresses were moved – and at times they would be moved back to their original places. Nevertheless:


Neo-avant-garde is more social
                 – New Wave is more individualistic

Neo-avant-garde is utopian
                 – New Wave is more disillusioned, punk

Neo-avant-garde is more sombre, it has a sense of mission
                 – New Wave is casual, playful

Neo-avant-garde`s use of media is analytical
                 – New Wave takes photographical innovations as a given

Neo-avant-garde is mostly black-and-white

                  – New Wave is often colourful, parts of it                                                    frequently painted or coloured in


and so on and so forth.


(Sándor Szilágyi, PhD, writer on art photography)

bottom of page