The Ludwig Museum continues its practice of presenting last year’s Hungarian exhibition of the Venice Biennale to the public in Budapest. Tamás Waliczky’s exhibition Imaginary Cameras revolves around the wide array of possibilities of visual perception and the ways in which they can be captured and depicted. The artist draws inspiration from the past of photographic history and uses state-of-the-art imaging techniques.
The mapping of human vision has been a recurring theme in the work of the internationally acclaimed new media artist Tamás Waliczky. The title refers to the 23 imaginary cameras Waliczky began designing in 2016. The optical devices created using digital software, but operating with analogue mechanisms, simulate and map the world in different visual languages. The 23 mechanic imaginary cameras – which might even be built – are masterly examples of futuristic renderings of augmented reality. His cameras and optical devices draw attention to the cultural and technical determinedness and manipulative character of visual perception and depiction. His choice of subject matter is particularly timely, as we have become enmeshed in the intricate web of cameras to an extent that we have not yet entirely grasped. The meticulously designed black and white digital images and animations simultaneously provide an aesthetic experience and prompt us to reflect on forgotten chapters in technical development and alternatives conjured by artistic deliberation. Waliczky’s “camera metaphors” will appear in the form of lightboxes and animations at the exhibition. The artist has completed the series displayed with great success in Venice with a 24th device, the Spiral flipbook camera and another animation, both of which will be on display for the first time at the Ludwig Museum.
An interactive installation in the open-air atrium of the Hungarian Pavilion allowed visitors to try out one of the cameras. We can see the indoor adaptation of this installation at the Budapest exhibition, only here the viewer can take a self-portrait in front of the Budapest skyline instead of the panorama of Venice.
Tamás Waliczky (1959) is a prominent representative of contemporary new media art. He began creating animations at the age of nine. Later, he worked as a painter, illustrator and photographer. He has been working with computers since 1983, and he is a pioneer and an eminent representative of Hungarian digital art. In 1992, he was invited to work at the Institute for Visual Media of ZKM, and he later became a member of the institute’s research team. He has taught and worked in Hungary, Germany, Japan and France. Since 2010, he has taught as a member of the faculty at the School of Creative Media at the City University of Hong Kong, and in 2013 he became an honorary professor at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design. Waliczky has won several international awards, including the Golden Nica Award at the Prix Ars Electronica Festival in Linz. He has participated in numerous exhibitions across the world, such as the Lyon Biennale of Contemporary Art, the ICC Gallery in Tokyo, the Multimediale in Karlsruhe and the Biennale of Contemporary Art of Seville. His works are found in several major public collections, including Centre Pompidou in Paris and Ludwig Museum in Budapest.