Berlin Bhf: A Photography Series by Anna Tihanyi
“Perhaps it doesn’t qualify as literary exaggeration to say that the room was full of the shadowy figures of wild visions… One always carries his paranoia with him wherever he goes… We don’t really want to let this noise close to us, just like we refuse to acknowledge the idea of a serious sickness… Outside? The Outside has its own inside too…”
—Remembrance of West Berlin (1987) by Gyorgy Konrad
“In West Berlin on Stayloyalstreet/ I had pizza dinner in front of a restaurant/ with four or five other tables next to mine,/ all empty,/ maybe because of the black rain that was dripping…/ A tiny waiter stopped by my table:/ “Mr. Goliath, am I right?”/ To my affirmative answer, he gave me a letter/ And while I was looking for the sender,/ He hit my face with a hot Cheese,/ tomato and salami topped pizza./ … the big house started spinning/ before me I was lying on the/ cobblestone in the rain/ And knew I was going to die hungry –/ The corpse ravaged by a hundred rats/ A thousand flies covering dead rats,/ The small eats the bigger –/ Times are tough for Goliath/ Times are good for little David.”
—On Stayloyalstreet (1982) by Istvan Eorsi
“Everything has a sense, a meaning. Everything is a part of something, fits into something… but it seems as though this somehow doesn’t apply to Berlin, to West Berlin more precisely. This is why I mostly stayed home, curled up, seeing the spy and the enemy in everybody… This was even worse than loneliness… a vacuum, a hole that cannot be filled, a throbbing, aching wound… Despite all this, I long for it now because back then M was still with me… and we played with marbles in the hall of our apartment…“
—Berlin Battle (1988) by Imre Oravecz
“The starting point has to be this interaction, the gentle interplay between being touched and untouchable, of being familiar and a stranger. It is present but abstract at the same time. Being home, no matter how relative it is, is always routine and repetition…”
—The Red Lion (2002) by Lajos Parti Nagy
“If the most important thing is freedom, the devil wouldn’t possibly want more than to take it from one by binding them to bad habits. These habits then drag the soul to ignorance and an animalistic existence… She went to the window and stared at the dark, empty streets through the curtain. She slowly understood that she was lost. She had fallen in love with that man…”
—Black Berlin Notebook (1997) by Erno Sziv
Couple in Bed
“Isn’t this shock I act to myself just a stage? After all, what is a play but an effort of the inevitable present to experience the past or the future? … The stage only makes this constant confusion of time and space visible… if I make myself disappear from my own present as an experiment! If my imagination places it on a stage… ‘What a play! But it’s only a play!…’”
—Berlin Grey (1973) by Peter Nadas
“The object of the rage usually remains indefinite. One can only decipher the trail of this anger. Rain was dripping from the alder: a tap has been opened and the tubes fixed on the branches started spraying water. The man, with the hammer held against his chest, was soaking under the tree on the sunny square, his face indifferent…”
—Mystery (2004) by Zsolt Lang
My photographic work evolves into contemporary tales about human subconscious, reflecting surrealist qualities while playing with reality. I love the reconstructing capacity of photography that by transforming elements from the existing world it shows us a parallel universe, and leads back to something faithful at the same time. The intellectual and artistic ground of the ’50s and ’60s is a great source of inspiration for my art. I feel connected to this era, as the complexity experienced in art, when artists began to examine critically the disconnection of the image from reality. Even the esthetical appearance of this era, literature through movies, has the biggest impact on my visual thinking and on my life as a woman as well.
I’m interested in exploring my own female self, and femininity in general terms. Adopting a deceptively childlike charm, my work transports the viewer into a feminine surrealist wonderland, a fairytale-like environment that explores the “in-between”, the tension that lies both within the physical and psychological space of the female identity.
My most recent series Berlin bhf. (bahnhof) was inspired by Hungarian authors’ Berlin experiences. I fragmented their works, creating narratives reacting to each of them. The concept is entirely rooted in intimate issues of my personal life, through which I could emphasize Berlin being a transitory state, as a habitat of passengers, temporary home for these authors. Even though these writings are inspirational, text and image work together as a puzzle here. The scenes take places in different interiors of a fictive Berlin, showing feelings and relations through these moments of transition. With the narrative capacity of photography I wanted to emphasize that the image is frozen in time, and there is no before or after told. Only this moment exists in the present with the permanent feeling of outcast, rootlessness and the desire of being integrated.
Anna Tihanyi received her MA in communications at the JATE University with a thesis themed in photography: “Stills in Motion.” Twice, she received a grant from the Ministry of Education and Culture of Hungary, and became a member of the Studio of Young Hungarian Art Photographers (FFS). With her series Berlin bhf., Tihanyi has won the 3rd prize at the European Month of Photography Festival in Ljubljana, Honorable Mention at the Moscow International Foto Awards, and debuted in a solo show in the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center in Budapest, Hungary. She has been selected to participate and exhibit the series at NordArt International Art Exhibition in Germany, and been nominated for submitting the same series to the prestigious Prix Pictet Award.
Tihanyi has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally. She is currently working on her next project “Character Assassination” in Budapest, Hungary.