Bence Bakonyi
  • Introduction

  • Bio

  • Exhibitions

  • Links


Near the Chinese oasis city of Dunhuang, on the edge of the Gobi dessert, emerged Bence Bakonyi’s remarkable series “Cognition”. This stretch of land, which marks the transition from civilization to an inhospitable terrain of sand dunes, appears almost unreal. The scenery seems exotic to us, as if from another planet, yet these locations have a long, rich history. This settlement once served as an important juncture on the silk road. Today, Dunhuang is a popular travel destination, and the Chinese tourists captured the attention of the artist. Bakonyi documents their bustling activity as a distant observer. Yet he does not seek to portray individuals. “Cognition” can instead be understood as a study of group dynamics. Even when they are photographed from afar, the artist shares the tourists’ curious glance at the unknown landscape.


The dream of flying becomes a reality in Bence Bakonyi’s images; his subjects float, weightless. An invisible power lifts them into the air in front of the magnificent scenery of lavish baths and marble halls. At first glance, these delicate figures appear to be studies of time and space. A different concept drove the artist, however, and upon closer inspection, the images reveal a surreal dream.

The subjects hover with closed eyes, as though asleep; one could easily speculate on the contents of their dreams. Lost in their imaginations, the subjects of Bakonyi’s images defy the laws of logic. They lift themselves up, detach themselves from the pressures of reality and glide like feathers. We look upon these photographs with disbelief because we are used to depictions of reality. But these images shake our foundations and blur the lines between dreams and reality before our very eyes. Bakonyi’s works contain an unreal romanticism that moves us and creates questions. After all, “how can you prove whether at this moment we are sleeping, and all our thoughts are a dream; or whether we are awake, and talking to one another in the waking state?” (Plato)

After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Photography from the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest, Bakonyi felt compelled to head out into the unknown. He travelled to Shanghai (China) in 2013, on the search for inspiration, and found fresh inspirations for his fantastic works.
Born in Keszthely, Hungary
2010Member of the Hungarian Association of Young Artists – FFS, Budapest, Hungary
2010-2013Studied Photography at Moholy–Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest, Hungary
2013-presentLives and works in Budapest, Hungary and Shanghai, China

Solo Exhibitions (Selection)

2014Project Room – Cognition, Varfok Gallery Budapest, Hungary
The Presence, Artify Gallery Hong Kong, China
The City of Lights, Pantocrator Gallery Shanghai, China
2013Xuhui Art Museum Shanghai, China
X6 Photo Edition Gallery/LUMAS/Budapest, Hungary
FID Design festival, Costa Rica, USA
Athens Art/Video/Festival, Athens, Greece
2012WISH YOU WHERE HERE, Portfolio Points, Artbasis Gallery, Budapest, Hungary
2010HOMO LUDENS XVII BIENNALE, Hungarian National Museum, Esztergom, Hungary

Group Exhibitions (Selection)

2015SNAP!, AIDS Committee, Toronto, Canada
2014New Frontiers, Galleri Tryffelgrisen Stockholm, Sweden
2013M17, Contemporary Art Centre, Kiev, Ukraine
2012XY Mome Generation, Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary
2011FORETASTE, Hungarian Cultural Centre, Prag, Czech Republic
ATTENTION, FFS, Artbasas Gallery, Budapest, Hungary
2010WONDER, Urania National Film Theatre, Budapest, Hungary
2009OKTV, Palace of Arts, Budapest, Hungary
LIGHT, Boulevard & Brezsnyev Gallery, Budapest, Hungary

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