I visit regularly Budapest since 1997 and I have never heard of the Vintage Gallery (open since 1996), although I have passed many times by Magyar utca and the Karoly park, the place where this gallery dedicated to the Hungarian photography is located, in the heart of the city. Last Tuesday I went there finally. I saw Lucien Hervé’s (1910-2007) exhibition — and there were the photos of Le Corbusier (1887-1965) works, with whom the Hungarian photographer, born László Elkán, collaborated, from 1949 to 1965 — and talked with gallery’s director Attila Pocze., who kindly offered me the catalog of a surprising work by László Kaldor (1905-1963), shown at the gallery in 2002. Afterwards, I went to the Ludwig Múzeum. It was a long journey to get there; I had to take a tram, then a bus, and then a tram again, due to the works on the tramline that crosses the city along the banks of Danube. Objective: Robert Capa’s exhibition (until October 11). When I got there, I was so tired after a long day that I chose instead museum’s café terrace, a few meters from the river.
Vintage Gallery, Budapest, 2009
On the following day, I went to the Nessim Gallery, which is at the 16 of Paulay utca, in one of my favorite neighborhoods of Budapest. The friendly director of the gallery, Mihály Surányi, welcomed us with enthusiasm, talked about the photos of the Czechoslovakian Ladislav Postupa (n.1929) which are currently on exhibition at the gallery and showed us the works of some of the artists represent by the gallery. Of two of them, Ivo Přeček (b.1935) e Minyo Szert (b.1955), Mihály offered me the catalogs of their most recent exhibitions (I also had the pleasure of knowing Szert, who was in the gallery at that time, a good habit that so many artists disregard; well, at least in Portugal…). I think that the foundations of a future collaboration may have been raised last Wednesday at the Nessim Gallery.
Ludwig Múzeum, Budapest, 2009
The last step of this photo-journey was the House of Hungarian Photography. The place, which does not have a permanent exhibition and currently has a show on astronomy photography, was disappointing, although the building itself is fascinating. Built for the photographer Manó Mai (1855-1917) in 1894 it has beautiful revivalist façade and a sunlight studio on the top-floor. After a quick visit to the interesting bookstore, I went to the nearest café and prepared myself to enjoy the last final hours in Budapest, while I watched, with a bit of envy, the people entering the Opera for Beethoven’s Fidelio. Maybe one day I manage to get my “year in Budapest”. Until then, I have to keep on with these short visits in order to maintain alive the old relation that I have with Budapest.
Carlos M. Fernandes