KÁROLY CHOCHOL | Processing Memories

Budapest Gallery

1036 Budapest, Lajos utca 158.

18 April – 10 May 2015

Vernissage: 17 April 2015., 17:00

Curator of the exhibition:

Klára Szarka

photo historian

Károly Chochol has been photographing Budapest for more than sixty years. His records sometimes reflect a lyrical, often ironic, other times an objective approach. Were one to compare his visual world to the works of another photographer, one would probably think first of the Frenchman Robert Doisneau. Chochol, however, is at home not just in genre scenes. He has won awards with his portraits and has earned recognition as a landscape photographer, but his oeuvre contains far more than this, and in a far greater diversity. As an eternal innovator, an artist who was always active, he has accumulated an array of images that is imposing in its size alone. Over the course of the past few decades, however, creation itself has always been more important, along with the many roles he has assumed in the public art world, than any systematic presentation of the various segments of his oeuvre.

Károly Chochol

Angyalföld Back Then… (photograph from the series), 1960s

Károly Chochol

In Budapest, 1960s

His eightieth birthday this year proved a good prompting for a long overdue retrospection. Thus, on the walls of the Budapest Gallery the visitor will see works never before published, providing surprises even for those who are well acquainted with his work.

He stepped onto the stage of Hungarian photography in the early 1950s as a young high school student. His teachers were the great old masters who had attained international fame before the war. The legendary Angelo Master, F. G. Haller, Ernő Vadas and other great masters of the profession encouraged the talented young photographer.

Károly Chochol

Warily Guarded Treasure, Budapest, 1970s

Chochol has committed his entire life to photography. Creating images, indeed, has remained his passion to this day.

The present cross-section of his oeuvre – which is presented here with an exhibition and a representative album – not only offers a sample of the self-expression of a photographer with a unique approach, but also constitutes a thought-provoking imprint of the last sixty-five years of Hungarian photography and, in certain respects, Hungarian history.

Károly Chochol

In Budapest, 1960s

Biography of Károly Chochol
Born on 27 January 1935, in Budapest
1949–1953 Attended the Eötvös József Grammar School
949–1953 Attended the Eötvös József Grammar School
1950 Accepted to MADOME, where he learned from masters of the time; he soon began holding lectures himself and was active as an author on photography
1954–55 Studied to become an optician and a photographer
In 1957 he became a member of the Association of Hungarian Photographers; since then he has been a member of the Jury Committee and chairman of the Museum Committee; he was also the person primarily responsible for saving the Rudolf Balogh bequest; he has served as a guardian and researcher of the oeuvres of several photographers, authoring numerous theoretical essays on photography.
Colleague of the periodical Család és Iskola (Family and School), later working as the illustrator for the journal Gyermekünk (Our Child).
1960–1995 Photojournalist of the Hungarian Television’s News program
1995 Retired and has since been overseeing the family optician business

Important solo exhibitions
1966 Faces, József Attila Theatre, Budapest
1986 Trees, B Galerie, Munich, Federal Republic of Germany
1989 Our Churches, Hungarian Television Headquarters, Budapest
2000 China, From the Great Wall to Shanghai, Kondor Béla Community House, Budapest
2001 On the Road – From the Great Hungarian Plain to England, City Hall Gallery, Budapest
2005 Jewish Cemeteries, International Week of Photography, Plovdiv, Hungarian Institute, Sofia, Bulgaria
2006 Jewish Cemeteries, Hungary, Museum of Ethnography, Burgas, Bulgaria; 56 – IMAGE, Hungarian Academy, Rome, Italy, International Week of Photography, Plovdiv, Hungarian Institute, Sofia, Bulgaria, Kondor Béla Community House, Budapest
2009 That’s How You Take Pictures, Duna Gallery, Budapest
2010 On the Road… Gaál Imre Gallery, Budapest; On the Road… Dunapart, Graphisoft Park, Budapest; On the Road… Angyalföld, Club and Gallery of Újlipótváros, Budapest; Landscapes… Hommage à Károly Markó the Elder, Duna Gallery, Budapest
2015 Processing Memories, Budapest Gallery, Budapest

Important curatorships
1981 Picture-Fact (co-curated), Kunsthalle, Budapest
1983 Salutation of Ferenc Haár, Budapest Photoclub
1987 An Exhibition of Works by Kálmán Szöllősy, Budapest Photoclub
1989 The Magic of Photography (co-curated), Kunsthalle, Budapest

Important publications
Fotótrükkök, felvételi fogások (Photography Tricks, Shooting Techniques) (Sevcsik Jenővel / co-authored with Jenő Sevcsik), Műszaki Könyvkiadó, 1971
Rapidtechnika (Rapid Technology), Műszaki Könyvkiadó, 1974

Important awards
A.F.I.A.P. Award (1954), Székely Aladár Award (1967), Ezüstgerely-díj (Silver javelin award, presented by the Hungarian Olympic Committee), F.I.A.P. III. Diaporama Festival I. Prize, MFSZ Best Photo of the Year Award, Best Photo Series of the Year Award (1968), A.F.I.A.P. Award (1969), Merit for Socialist Culture (1981), Award of Excellence presented by the Hungarian Television (1978, 1979, 1981, 1986, 1987), Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Hungarian Television (1995), Artist Grand Prize presented by MAOE (Association of Hungarian Creative Artists) (2000), Aranytoll (Golden Quill) Lifetime Award (2005), Ministerial Tribute (2006), MAOE (Association of Hungarian Creative Artists) Aranykazetta-díj (2010), MFSZ Lifetime Award (2010), Pro Urbe Pestszentlőrinc–Pestszentimre, Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic, civilian category (2015)

Association of Hungarian Photographers (board member), Association of Hungarian Journalists, Association of Hungarian Creative Artists (vice president), Hungart International Rights Management Association (vice president)

Works in public collections
Collection of Contemporary Photography, National Széchényi Library
Hungarian Museum of Sports and the Olympics
Museum of Ferenc Erkel, Gyula
Hungarian Museum of Photography, Kecskemét
Town Museum, Nagyatád
George Eastman House, Rochester, USA

“We know of many artists who create oeuvres worthy of recognition and respect without, in the meantime, taking much notice of life around them. For Károly Chochol, in contrast, life and art are one. His work is not simply his passion, it is life itself. This is palpable even when he seeks “only” to bring the viewer joy, ‘only’ to enrapture his audience with his images. At the same time, he rejects all forms of manipulation, and perhaps this is why we find each of his compositions so shockingly simple and yet monumental.”

Art historian Ildikó D. Udvary on Károly Chochol