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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.Bio
Born in Keszthely, Hungary 2010 Member of the Hungarian Association of Young Artists – FFS, Budapest, Hungary 2010-2013 Studied Photography at Moholy–Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest, Hungary 2013-present Lives and works in Budapest, Hungary and Shanghai, ChinaExhibitions
2014 Project Room – Cognition, Varfok Gallery Budapest, Hungary The Presence, Artify Gallery Hong Kong, China The City of Lights, Pantocrator Gallery Shanghai, China 2013 Xuhui Art Museum Shanghai, China X6 Photo Edition Gallery/LUMAS/Budapest, Hungary FID Design festival, Costa Rica, USA Athens Art/Video/Festival, Athens, Greece 2012 WISH YOU WHERE HERE, Portfolio Points, Artbasis Gallery, Budapest, Hungary 2010 HOMO LUDENS XVII BIENNALE, Hungarian National Museum, Esztergom, Hungary
2015 SNAP!, AIDS Committee, Toronto, Canada 2014 New Frontiers, Galleri Tryffelgrisen Stockholm, Sweden 2013 M17, Contemporary Art Centre, Kiev, Ukraine 2012 XY Mome Generation, Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary 2011 FORETASTE, Hungarian Cultural Centre, Prag, Czech Republic ATTENTION, FFS, Artbasas Gallery, Budapest, Hungary 2010 WONDER, Urania National Film Theatre, Budapest, Hungary 2009 OKTV, Palace of Arts, Budapest, Hungary LIGHT, Boulevard & Brezsnyev Gallery, Budapest, Hungary