PETER LAJTAI (Budapest, 1949)
He starts as a poet. At the end of the 1960s he joins the Hungarian underground movement. He is a member of Halász Péter’s alternative theatre, the Kassák Studio and among others he is also the author of the play: „The Murderers of The Skanzen”, which leads to the prohibition of the group. He takes part in the Chapel Exhibitions in Balatonboglár, then in 1972 he migrates for political reasons.
In the beginning he lives in Israel, later, until 1980 in France, and then in Belgium. In the 1980s he opens art galleries in Antwerp, New York and Paris.
He moves back to Hungary in 2004, and since then he has been engaged in computer imaging based on digital photography.
In his monumental works of art he starts out from macro-photos of Jewish ecclesiastical objects (phylactery, prayer shawl, menorah) and from macro- photos of object parts (item details). The reality is concentrated. He assembles sequences from the imprints, floating out of time and space, and from microscopical details. In his works of art he traces the relation of the whole and the parts, the borderland between the sacral and the secular. Reminiscent of music compositions, his works, overriding the original meaning of the objects, do not delineate – they are the starting points of the mapping of an invisible World.
FROM SINAI TO THE WEB
One of the greatest achievements of human history is the invention of laws, which regulate society. The Mosaic stone tablets recording the revelation of God made order come to existence from the chaos, which sticks to our skin almost as clothes. As the eye seeks order among the accidentally outlined crumpled textile patterns, the geometric structure, the exploding slices of reality conglomerate to an integral whole. To such a Mosaic-like possible world, which also refers back to its starting-point, to the information hidding in the memory of the computer as a binary-code or to the elementary picture-points, pixels seen on the screen.
The ground of freedom, the internet-web, free from strict rules unites the Law, the unapprehendable with the undescribable. The pictures, floating in virtual space, separated from the concrete object, with their indistinct colours and dissolving outlines, tip over the object-less abstraction.
Past and present adjoin: the way arches from Sinai to the web.
The whole exhibition can be interpreted as the metaphor of human history. The encounter of cultures disponent of various traditions has never been smooth. Contrasting forces have been in tense opposition for centuries. Who will win in the fight of light and shade, where is the one steps into the other? Can darkness be illuminated?
The Menorah, radiating light, is sometimes bright, sometimes grow dark, its picture becomes abstract. From the peculiar colour and light relations we can not only associate to X-ray photographs but also to pulsing human figures. The pompous and lustrous halter neckline of the prayer shawl turns black, the patterns illuminate darkly. The colours are diametrically opposed, the total opposition of Black an White contrasts. The soft textile ossifies, the numb branches are covered by prickly thorns and spines.
Is that all our ancestors have left to us? Yes, but also that nevertheless everything in its place, everything goes in way.
PART AND WHOLE
The faith in the power of laws was shaken, the truth broke into pieces. The space converged, the elements are pushed onto each other as homespun. The data-crumbs and the image-fragments are covered by masks, by homogeneous surfaces.
The black squares appearing on matzah – tables, almost compulsively recurrent, summoning Malevich, seem at the same time to be concealing surfaces (masks) and shaded lack, visual loss. False and right, part and whole intertwine, cannot be separated from each other. The entirety is unapprehendable, perfection is not attainable.
But from the reality, disintegrating into fragments, nevertheless a new world can be built – as long as we admit that our knowledge is finite and we can never posses the whole.