Writings on the Wall

 

Décollage came to mind as I photographed a torn, weathered poster on Vasvári Pál street in central Budapest. Wasn‘t there a group of French artists in the early ’60’s doing something with tearing street posters? Looked them up – Jacques Villeglé , Raymond Hains and François Dufrêne – those three, part of the Nouveau Réalisme group, linked to artists like Yves Klein, et al.

Hains photographed surfaces and collaborated with Villeglé  in appropriating torn posters for exhibition. It was a kind of found art, or ready-mades of the sixties, yet the two carefully removed and mounted them one by one, naming each piece with the address of its original location. They also did some tearing themselves, not entirely satisfied with leaving it all to chance and weather.

OK, so without knowing it, I was channeling Villeglé, Haines and Dufrêne as I walked around Budapest photographing found surfaces and torn posters. They were the Paris avant-garde in the ’50’s and ’60’s. Here and now in 2016 I wasn’t doing anything so radical. A mere documentation of the workings of my eye on the streets of the 6th, 7th and 8th districts of Budapest.

I had my own game to play – all editing to be done in the moment on location, as dictated by the eye alone. Cropping only by moving closer, moving back and forth to formulate the composition. Sometimes it was a torn poster – scrawls and printed word fragments being of significance or not; sometimes it was the raw, decaying surface itself of wall, street, curb. Sometimes it was graffiti – a bit of appropriation did occur as I re-worked the street work of anonymous others.

Could easily have digitally manipulated the images further, but somehow that seemed too easy, maybe a tiny betrayal to the grain of concept behind the act, or maybe just unnecessary. Perhaps another time.

So was it just a visual thing? No. As I walked, I mused over why I was shooting close-ups of all this 21st century detritus and disintegrating street refuse. The young, urban, alternative culture was building something creative and raw, layered on top of this dead residue. This was the way to find future in the otherwise unacceptable present. This was the way to tolerate the decline, find something compelling, make something out of the shit. So I shot, with mobile phone, nearly every day as I walked the city streets. Sometimes the decay was downright depressing, but I shot anyway. Getting close, could even smell it. Closer still, and the narrative changes – from this feverish 21st century to some sort of single chord of abstract texture, color, shape, to a small but audacious collaging of this disintegrating, unravelling  world  –  A World in Fragments.

The Nouveau Réalisme group in Paris were aiming for audacity, but there was something empowering, nihilistic, in their mid-twentieth century appropriations and street work. These Writings on the Wall photos are part of a twenty-first century version – grabbing and collecting a found, decaying reality, documenting and playing with the sometimes hideous, sometimes exhilarating fragments of contrast of energies; maybe announcing, in some way, another new realism.

 

 

 

 

                                                                         ONE

Writings on the Wall - 33            Writings on the Wall - 47            Writings on the Wall - 40

 

Writings on the Wall - 39            Writings on the Wall - 52            Writings on the Wall - 63

 

Writings on the Wall - 48            Writings on the Wall - 60            Writings on the Wall - 51

 

Writings on the Wall - 55            Writings on the Wall - 59            Writings on the Wall - 58

 

Writings on the Wall - 54            Writings on the Wall - 50            Writings on the Wall - 65

 

Writings on the Wall - 42                    Writings on the Wall - 49                    Writings on the Wall - 53

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                        TWO

Writings on the Wall - 80                      Writings on the Wall - 78                    Writings on the Wall - 79

 

Writings on the Wall - 93                      Writings on the Wall - 81                    Writings on the Wall - 90

 

Writings on the Wall - 85            Writings on the Wall - 88            Writings on the Wall - 86

 

Writings on the Wall - 89            Writings on the Wall - 91            Writings on the Wall - 4

 

Writings on the Wall - 83                    Writings on the Wall - 82                    Writings on the Wall - 84

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                    THREE

Writings on the Wall - 22                    Writings on the Wall - 21                   Writings on the Wall - 23

 

Writings on the Wall - 24                   Writings on the Wall - 19                    Writings on the Wall - 25

 

Writings on the Wall - 26                   Writings on the Wall - 27                    Writings on the Wall - 71

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                     FOUR

Writings on the Wall - 70                    Writings on the Wall - 77                    Writings on the Wall - 9

 

Writings on the Wall - 76                    Writings on the Wall - 74                     Writings on the Wall - 75

 

Writings on the Wall - 14            Writings on the Wall - 15             Writings on the Wall - 11

 

Writings on the Wall - 69            Writings on the Wall - 13             Writings on the Wall - 110

 

Writings on the Wall - 99                Writings on the Wall - 68               Writings on the Wall - 100

 

Writings on the Wall - 104                      Writings on the Wall - 103                     Writings on the Wall - 106

 

Writings on the Wall - 108                      Writings on the Wall - 111                    Writings on the Wall - 112

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                         FIVE

Writings on the Wall - 113                Writings on the Wall - 126              Writings on the Wall - 94

 

Writings on the Wall - 114                     Writings on the Wall - 115                     Writings on the Wall - 130

 

 Writings on the Wall - 117                  Writings on the Wall - 118                  Writings on the Wall - 119

 

Writings on the Wall - 120                    Writings on the Wall - 116                      Writings on the Wall - 97

 

Writings on the Wall - 123                    Writings on the Wall - 122                      Writings on the Wall - 125

 

Writings on the Wall - 124                    Writings on the Wall - 96                      Writings on the Wall - 121

 

 Writings on the Wall - 128                 Writings on the Wall - 129                   Writings on the Wall - 127

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                        SIX

Writings on the Wall - 131                    Writings on the Wall - 135                    Writings on the Wall - 136

 

Writings on the Wall - 133                    Writings on the Wall - 132                    Writings on the Wall - 134

 

Writings on the Wall - 139                 Writings on the Wall - 138                  Writings on the Wall - 140

 

Writings on the Wall - 145                     Writings on the Wall - 147                    Writings on the Wall - 142

 

Writings on the Wall - 146                  Writings on the Wall - 148                Writings on the Wall - 149

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                      SEVEN

Writings on the Wall - 153            Writings on the Wall - 151            Writings on the Wall - 150

 

Writings on the Wall - 152                 Writings on the Wall - 155                Writings on the Wall - 154

 

Writing on the Wall - 168                    Writing on the Wall - 184                    Writing on the Wall - 167

 

Writing on the Wall - 181                    Writing on the Wall - 179                    Writing on the Wall - 180

 

Writing on the Wall - 157                    Writing on the Wall - 159                    Writing on the Wall - 158

 

Writing on the Wall - 183                   Writing on the Wall - 185                    Writing on the Wall - 172

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                      EIGHT

Writings on the Wall- 188                 Writings on the Wall- 173                 Writings on the Wall - 187

 

Writings on the Wall - 178                    Writings on the Wall- 160                    Writings on the Wall - 177

 

Writings on the Wall- 161                Writings on the Wall- 174                 Writings on the Wall- 156

 

Writings on the Wall - 182                   Writings on the Wall- 163                    Writings on the Wall - 169

 

Writings on the Wall - 186                 Writings on the Wall- 30                 Writings on the Wall - 165

 

Writings on the Wall - 170                    Writings on the Wall - 171                    Writings on the Wall - 164

 

 

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