Here People Used to Live


Photo exhibition of Gábor Csanádi

opens: Tamás Fleischer

finissage: 2022 01 17

Here people used to live – a plaque tells to the pedestrian on a ruin pub's wall in the old Jewish
district of Budapest. The caption is matching, but also self-ironic as the location – as an active participant in
and stakeholder of the trend – is one of those ruin pubs that caused the transformation of the district into a
primary location of entertainment and parties that made the environment unliveable for locals.
Of course it is just partially true. Not everyone, not all kind of people disappered from the
neighborhood. This is the change in which the market and non-market agents managed to erase the
poorer, unprotected parts of the loacls. With the more capital-rich inhabitants they found a compromise in
order to physically change the environment so as to bring touristical investments and high-income, higher
statues new citizens. Similar events took and have taken place in the neighboring districts as well – to a
certain extent with different mechanisms, but essentially not differing in nature – hence one can say that
this is not a specific local phenomenon. About these question me and my urbanist-urban sociologist
colleagues wrote a lot and had sharp arguments.

The photographs seen here are dealing with these urban-developmental processes. This is not the
first that both a scientif research and the lens of a camero turn towards this issue. The list is long and
exciting, but I will mention the most interesting out of the recent works: the Just Pictures album of Zoltán

However, this exhibition does not show anymore those who became the victim-actors of the
dramas happening in the city. I show only the remaining lonely signs, deserted by humans that reinforce
and highlight even more the fact that people used to live, less fortunate, exploited and unpritected ones.
This way it might also help raise the question of what happened to those who dwelled here, where they got
from here.

I do know that this is not a particularly optimistic approach to urban development. I do know,
because numerous colleagues mentioned it, questioned me why I am not interested instead in a positive,
forward looking, aesthetic and exciting way, why I am not photographing them as good examples,
paragons. I think I can answer them the best through the words of Péter Esterházy: “Photography
eventually always works the way as in the Blow Up of Antonioni. It looks towards a direction where it
should not. The photographer is a victim of their own eyes. The photograph is the promise of secrets.”
/Gábor Csanádi/

The exhibition was made possible by the support of the international comparative research, financed by
the RFBR and FRLC 21-512-23004.