Still-lifes in series made with Pécsi József Photography Grant

In our series, in a thematic selection, we show artworks, which were made with the support of the Pécsi József Photography Grant. The first subject is the still-life: “A type of artwork that depicts an arrangement of inanimate objects, such as fruit, flowers or musical instruments, often with symbolic connotations. The genre reached its zenith during the 17th century, most notably in the Netherlands. From the moment of photography’s invention, it was a favourite subject among practitioners, who found it well suited to the cumbersome nature of their equipment and the need for constant, prolonged pauses.” – writes the Dictionary of Photography, published by The Thames and Hudson in 2015. The still-life remained an exciting genre of photography later as well, as it is demonstrated by the photos of Zsolt Péter Barta, Imre Drégely and Melinda Kovács.

Zsolt Péter Barta: Natures Mortes

Zsolt Péter Barta: Cactus I., Budapest, 1992 © Zsolt Péter Barta/

“The ‘message’. A conscious artist never chooses by chance the subjects of his/her representation. This way, the pictures of Zsolt Péter Barta suggest maximal consciousness and intention. Still-life is indeed that branch of art which can represent the requisites of organic nature. i.e, it is its duty per definitionem, and we can understand that is has appeared relatively late in European art burdened ideologically. The basic message of still-life: organic life is only a passing moment in the big circulation of inorganic nature which is over and above man and life. This kind of painful consciousness gives the melancholy of still-life, and the representation of passing life makes it solemn. Therefore, it is absolutely the same what beauty means to people.” (Lajos Adamik: Paleophotography. On Zsolt Péter Barta’s Still-lifes. Fotóművészet, 1993)

Zsolt Péter Barta: Cápafog, Naples, 1993 © Zsolt Péter Barta/
Zsolt Péter Barta: Sea urchin, Naples, 1993 © Zsolt Péter Barta/

Zsolt Péter Barta received the Pécsi József Photography Grant in 1991, 1992 and 1993. Have a look at the other photos of the series on the site of the Pécsi József Photography Grant!

Imre Drégely: Still-life

Imre Drégely: Table, 1–9., 1994 © Imre Drégely/

“I am interested in the basic quality of photo: the details, enlarging, the illusion of sight. My world is the world of the darkroom. I am inspired by painting, however, I look for its photo-like character. I would like to evoke the moment when we experience capturing the image, which has firstly happened by the drawing-machine, later by the camera obscura, and finally by the polaroid. My means are cutting, fuzziness, free handling of tones. My aspect is lyric. My pictures imitate traditional still-life, interior, landscape paintings. I prefer those pictures which can be interpreted hardly, and hides more secrets than the genuine sight.” (Imre Drégely, January 1994)

Imre Drégely: Still-life with a fly, 1–9., 1994 © Imre Drégely/
Imre Drégely: Calyx, 1–4., 1994 © Imre Drégely/

Imre Drégely received the Pécsi József Photography Grant in 1991, 1992 and 1993. Have a look at the other photos of the series on the site of the Pécsi József Photography Grant!

Melinda Kovács: Still-lifes

Melinda Kobács: Simile I. (series), 45 x 45 cm, 1993 © Melinda Kovács/

“During my grant term of the Pécsi József Photography Grant I was making still-lifes. The titles of the series are Simile and Velvet. My photographs are determined by the attributes of painting. I like the lights and shadows, the colors and the way of representation of the Baroque art, as the whole extension and mass of the object materialize, independently of what is on the picture. It is not by chance what is seen on my photos, it could be an aesthetic object or a hideous piece of meat. What I like in still-lifes is the calm preparation. The objects individually or together have a meaning, which is more than the view of the arranged form. In my opinion, the represented objects determine what the image becomes: nature morte or still-life.” (Melinda Kovács, 1995)

Melinda Kovács: Simile II. (series), 45 x 45 cm, 1993 © Melinda Kovács/
Melinda Kovács: Velvet III. (series), 21 x 21 cm, 1995 © Melinda Kovács/

Melinda Kovács received the Pécsi József Photography Grant in 1992, 1993 and 1994. Have a look at the other photos of the series on the site of the Pécsi József Photography Grant!

Pécsi József Photography Grant Archive

“The purpose of the Pécsi József Photography Grant founded in 1991 was to ‘help to start the career, creative work, and development of talented photographers working as independent artists, and to provide them with beneficial conditions for creating high standard artworks, which are modern both in terms of form and content.’ […] An important element of the scholarship is that the artists selected by the jury present their series in a physical form. The most important aim of the archive to be compiled for the 25th anniversary of the Pécsi József Photography Grant is to make up for a deficiency of these two and a half decades: to present the works of art created in this period in a digital form, to make them accessible, visible and researchable. For the sake of completeness and accuracy, the archive is edited and updated continuously, and the descriptions of the series are published in English language as well.” (Judit Gellér, curator, the operator of the archive)

Pécsi 25. Pécsi József Photography Grant 1991–2016 – essays

On the 25th anniversary of the grant, in 2016, the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center organized the exhibition Pécsi 25, showcasing the works of previous grant recipients. Related to the exhibition, studies written by Judit Gellér, Attila Horányi, József Mélyi, Monika Perenyei, and Miklós Zsámboki were published. The book is available at Capa Center.

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