Petőfi‘s Corpse

Artist Feature of Tomoya Imamura

The series attempts to describe a Hungarian present whose post-socialist reality nourishes a new form of nationalism. A people who have been oppressed for centuries, whose culture and education has centered around the history of said oppression is searching for a new enemy to blame in this new free, but unfair world. This image series combines documentary photography and staged images, though it remains unclear how much manipulation took place in each picture. Part of this staging are paper-mâché objects, which represent communist-, as well as Hungarian national symbolism. They serve as a white projection surface or burned out form. For outsiders, they are almost the only direct reference to Hungary, although the national symbolism depicted does not provide more information about the country, than the occasional Hungarian-language lettering. The location thus remains in Eastern Europe and emphasizes the communist veil that poured the former Eastern bloc into uniform concrete. The title refers to Sándor Petőfi, who was the „national poet“ of the Hungarian Revolution against the Austrian Empire in 1848. In all likelihood, he was killed while fleeing a lost battle, but his death was never cleared. Another recurring element is the 1kg-loaf of bread. It is a standardized remnant of the socialist system, but also draws a parallel to the „body of Christ“ and the religious aspects of the right-wing-movement. Connected to the work‘s title it highlights Petőfi as a national „messiah“, whose death is just as unclear, as the evolution of Hungary‘s historical self image.