Eleven institutions from eleven European countries cooperate as part of the European Photography Platform’s Futures project in order to discover emerging talents and to introduce them on an international level, especially to the European art market. As a platform partner, the Capa Center selected five young authors during Budapest Portfolio Review 2019 who joined Unseen Amsterdam this September. Get to know the Futures talents of Capa Center!
Krystyna Bilak (1993) was born in Munkachevo, currently, an artist living in Budapest. She graduated from the Faculty of Arts at the University of Kaposvár with a bachelor degree in photography. She continues her studies at master level at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design. Can we consider photography as a tool for extended cognition? Krystyna examines this issue in her earlier work, which also explores the interaction between people and space, and provides insight into the different areas of perception with the tools of photography. While studying the human cognitive function, she takes steps to get to know herself. Krystyna sees photography as a reconnaissance tool. For getting acquainted with the unknown areas, she stretches the possibilities of the medium and experiments with frontier topics. At first, through personal topics, she outlined herself with photography, and later on, the characteristics of the medium and its relation to human and reality began to interest her. She explores the subject of her current interest in details, in many different methods, experimenting with various media to understand the topic as a whole picture. At the moment, she is interested in the directed viewpoint created with images and the features of image reading. During her earlier activities, she was represented at several Hungarian and international exhibitions. From 2016, she is a member of the Studio of Young Photographers. In 2017 she was awarded the Photography Scholarship by The Association of Hungarian Photographers. From 2018 she is a member of The Studio of Young Artists’ Association. In 2019 she won the Budapest Portfolio Review.
When and how did you first get acquainted with photography? When and how did it become important for you?
I started working with photography years ago, and I just found it to be an interesting activity. I liked that I could capture sights, which almost felt like appropriating them via the gesture of taking their photographs. Later this evolved, and I became interested in the wider interpretation of the photograph. During the three years of my BA studies, I got acquainted with the various genres of photography, its inherent opportunities, the ways of its practical utilization, and its history. This made me realize that I had found the tool, the method of expression, through which I could explore the world.
How do you see your relationship to photography? How do you use this medium?
At first I delineated my relationship to photography via themes personal by nature, but then I started to become increasingly interested in the medium itself, and its relationship to people and reality. If I receive and answer to just one of my questions, even if only partially, and I get to understand something new, it helps my development, my progress. Now I use the medium and its effects consciously, I conceptually conceive of various topics. I explore bordering areas, which continuously broadens my creative attitude.
Generally, which are the most important questions for you, and how do you reflect on these in your works?
I consider photography to be an exploratory tool, an opportunity to discover myself and my environment, and to understand how things work. I’m always interested in different questions, and my interest is shaped by my actual life situation. Many times I try to find inspiration not in the everyday situations, but in something entirely distant. I’m interested in questions related to the photograph as a medium, for example the general trust in photographs, their everyday use, the revealing effects of photography, or the virtual self-image evolving through the pictures. My representations are not concrete statements, rather questions, queries, and experimentations, through which I myself find answers too, or evolve.
What do you think about the situation and the future of photography?
As much as the photograph is a systematic medium, it is also one that offers free conceptualization. The various planes of its interpretation and creation ensure its unlimited freedom. At present, photography serves people’s needs in many areas: in their private life, in the media, in the arts scene, in science, etc. Do we need to really know photography, or is it enough to use it in accordance with the known best practice? It is difficult to disregard this question. I think it would be necessary to learn the functions, effects and meaning of photography. The knowledge that helps us navigate between the sign systems we are enchanted by, should not be the privilege of our trade. The future is an enormous question, especially because of how widespread the use of photography has become, but I think that in the future an increasing number of exciting questions will arise, as there is a constant development, our tools are rapidly changing, and the reception of visual culture is filling up, so a selection process has started.
What are you working on, and what are your short-term plans?
At present I’m mostly preoccupied by Komplement, my diploma work for the Photography MA at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design. In an endless pile of images, we are trying to find the milestones of truth, but we are using obsolete senses. We shouldn’t look for the meaning of the photographs lost in their subjects, but we should define it through the functioning of the images.
My series is based on two approaches. On the one hand, I create visual riddles with the intention of deciphering the image, while I use the characteristics of directed interpretation for creating the pictures and guiding the perception. My primary source of reference used for the decoding of the images is the human body. My objective is to invite the viewer for the decryption of the images, for a slower reading and a playful interpretation. In the future I would like to open up towards new media. I would like to create an inspiring context, as well as an ideal place for the creative work for myself. Just as presently, in the future I will also strive to have my works presented via various contests. In the near future, the Komplement series will be showcased at the Art Market Budapest fair, at the Capa Center booth.
Selection from Krystyna Bilak’s series calledKomplement