Exhibition Opening: Fabrikage - Multimedia Exhibition

Fabrikage | Gabriel Amza, Giorgos Chatzipanagiotis, Alex Todirica, Imre Toth, Erik Kun

Curator: Teodora Talhoș

Fabrikage is a multimedia exhibition, the result of a collaboration between artists and art workers in the three European Capitals of Culture for 2023. In trying to find a common ground between our geographies and histories, we stumbled upon something that has been there all along, right in front of our eyes: the industry that has shaped the cities, their ecosystems and the societies around them.

The industries in these areas have a common history: they were developed around the second half of the 19th century, and towns and communities grew up around them. Then, in the case of Hungary and Romania, the mines and factories took on a new highly respected status during the socialist regime, with miners and workers embodying the proletarian ideal of the era. Beginning in the 1990s and continuing to the present day, the formerly frenetic and active areas began to decay and depopulate due to mass closures of mines and factories and numerous layoffs. Today, the future of these once thriving areas is bleak and uncertain.

Fabrikage aims to propose new ways of looking at industrial heritage and the history of local communities, while exploring ways of bringing these areas back to life through art and culture. The four artistic positions are presented in chronological order, from the 1960s to 2024, giving an insight into a complex timeline from a subjective perspective.

Imre Tóth's photographs give us a rare insight into the everyday life of the miners in Ajka. A hobby photographer who worked as a miner for most of his life, he captured genuine moments that oscillate between work and leisure. Alex Todirică, architect and photographer, focused his attention on the relics of the socialist industrial past in the Banat Mountains. His photographs are almost devoid of human presence, depicting decaying structures frozen in time. Nature, however, plays an important role, reclaiming its territories after centuries of exploitation. Over the past 10 years, Gabriel Amza has carried out an extensive photographic research project in the Jiu Valley. His project deals  with the ambivalence of the miner in the Romanian social context. On the one hand, the 1977 miners' revolt was the biggest act of resistance against the communist regime. On the other hand, the raw violence that the miners used against demonstrators in Bucharest during the mineriads in the early 1990s has not been forgotten or forgiven in the collective consciousness. Giorgos Chatzipanagiotis' sunny landscapes and portraits of his home town of Elefsina are perhaps the most optimistic. He documents his circle of friends and the underground skating scene, with the former industrial areas serving merely as a backdrop for their refreshing joie de vivre. His photographs open up the discussion about possible futures.

Erik Kun created an ambient sound to help visitors immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the exhibition.

Part of

HEI - House of European Institutes

HEI - House of European Institutes