Budapest (Re)imagined: Creatively Examining Urban Street-Poster Aesthetics in Hungary’s Capital

  • Abstract:

    As an artist I work with city walls. Specifically the printed posters, flyers, and urban ephemera that accumulate on their surfaces. The exterior walls of Budapest are covered with colorful posters, street artwork, advertisements, and other printed matter—in some places centimeters thick. This printed “skin” accumulates particularly on the street-level surfaces of abandoned or derelict buildings which dot the downtown districts. Graffiti artists, advertisers, political sloganists, and other pedestrian voices engage in a discourse: crossing out or altering previously written messages, tearing away and pasting new posters, and otherwise raising a wide variety of personal, public, or existential concerns. My art practice involves exploring the city’s walls and urban spaces, photographing and collecting scraps of torn posters. I then use this documentation as a starting point for exploration: I recontextualize the collected information, often by using traditional poster-printing techniques such as lithography, or silkscreen-printing. Then I reintroduce this transformed information back into the urban environment by pasting my own posters or photographs back into the environment, or by installing larger works or performances in urban settings. I intend my work to function both on a very local level—specifically dealing with Budapest’s unique aesthetic and cultural parameters –but also i intend it to serve as a development in a universal discussion about urban street-level aesthetics, particularly the role that these aesthetics can play in the re-imagining of a city’s identity within its own cultural, national, and global context. I believe that examining this urban discourse through an artistic lens helps us gain profound insights into the continuing development of a city’s identity.