Group photography exhibition at the Capa Center in Budapest


Exhibiting artists: Máté Bartha, Lajos Csontó, Viola Fátyol, Tibor Gyenis, Enikő Hodosy, Gergely Szatmári, Lilla Szász, Éva Szombat

For the 21st century, mental health problems have become a global issue. Research shows that within 20 years depression will be responsible for the most severe mental health crisis in the world. Just as this very forecast of a dystopian future and crisis is one source of anxiety, so are the predictions that preach the “end of the world.” The problem is not new; many works of art and numerous scientific studies have already addressed the various types of melancholy causing physical, intellectual, and mental symptoms. That is why it seemed timely to explore the ways out of this crisis and the possible cures.

Which are the small steps that can help individuals to maintain their mental health, and what are the possible solutions for smaller or larger communities and society as a whole to recover from the problems caused by crisis, anxiety, and burn-out? Ultimately, the question is: how can we be well? And what role can photography play in all this?

In December 2019, I invited eight artists to look for answers and to explore and present the ways and possibilities that can serve as a cure for us today through new works, mainly created via the medium of photography. A few weeks after my call, a world-wide pandemic made our questions and the possible solutions even more relevant.

The artists reflected on the issues raised from their personal experience, and this delineated the course our exhibition took. The first two rooms are dominated by the inner world through works exploring the beginning of a new life or life phase (Viola Fátyol), the practice of prayer (Lajos Csontó), transcendent experiences (Enikő Hodosy), and the bond between members of smaller communities (Gergely Szatmári). The next room examines how outer appearance can bring joy, looking at the relationship between fashion items of specific subcultures and time (Éva Szombat) and the search for everyday happiness (Lilla Szász). Artists of the fourth room raise questions related to our globally interpretable and understandable relationship with our immediate environment (Máté Bartha), or invite responses to the possible consequences of personal decisions (Tibor Gyenis).

The existence of good presupposes the presence of evil. Happiness implies sadness. Fullness suggests emptiness. Suffering implies cure. People are full of contradictions stemming from their desires and decisions. The exhibition titled Cure reveals that the dilemma of “being well” is answered by various photographic concepts resulting from the different creative positions: the personal stories offer identification and, perceived from our diverse life situations, they can lead us to revelations that act like a soothing balm, while they also give way to raise further questions.

Judit Gellér curator

Viola Fátyol: 204

“My son was born in January, two months earlier than expected due to a sudden pregnancy complication, preeclampsia. [...] We first experienced the mother-child bond filled into bottles. Taking photos of the milk bottles gave me some comfort even in the darkest periods, by taking me out of the grim reality of the hospital for a moment.”

I would like to express my gratitude to the doctors and nurses working at the NICU of Szent János Hospital, who healed us with their knowledge, sacrificial work, and loving human gestures. I dedicate this series to them.


Viola Fátyol: Untitled, from the 204 series, 2019–2020, inkjet print, 15x20 cm

Lajos Csontó: Dog Year

“This material is a kind of lyrical documentation of my recovery from the operation, and it comprises my own texts written over the three months of my convalescence, and the images taken during this time with my phone, capturing my memories. The texts unfold from the religious practice of prayer expressing petition, request, and gratitude.”

I am indescribably grateful to the doctors and nurses of the Heart and Cardiovascular Center on Városmajor Street and the Balatonfüred State Heart Hospital for their efforts and compassion in helping me through the three most difficult months of my life. I thank them tremendously.


Lajos Csontó:There is a prelude to everything (top), Accepting (bottom left), It’s hard to believe in yourself (bottom right), from the Dog Year series, 2020, c-print, 60x90 cm

Enikő Hodosy: Available Light

“About a year ago, I started meditating regularly, and it has fundamentally transformed my worldview. By immersing myself in my own thoughts and mind, I managed to bring some deep-rooted problems to the surface and put them into words, which helped me to readjust my inner world.”


Enikő Hodosy: Untitled, from the Available Light series 2020, barryt, gyclée print 40x60 cm

Gergely Szatmári: Bellin, Hamburg, Augustenhof

“The images of this series present turning points, cataclysms in the life of a smaller community. The pictures reflect on the cyclic nature of the events by highlighting embraces, touches, gazes, and gestures. The bittersweet depiction of grief, joy, and acceptance creates a sense of ambivalence.”


Gergely Szatmári: Untitled, from the Bellin, Hamburg, Augustenhof series, 2008–2018, giclée print, 50x70 cm

Éva Szombat: Tutti Frutti

“I am over thirty years old, and my childhood is back in fashion. Tamagotchis are coming back, Buffalo shoes are not only worn by clubbers, and the 3310 [phone] is the new 3210. A new youth is rising, and they have no memory of Sándor Friderikusz’s jackets. In my series, I explore items stuck here from the 1980s and 1990s.”

Part of the series was supported by the Creative Arts Grant of the Photography Board of the National Cultural Fund of Hungary (NKA).


Éva Szombat: Ábel (top left), Grosfillex (top right), Cabinet (bottom left), Polly Pocket (bottom right) from the Tutti Frutti series, 2019, giclée print, 40x60cm, 30x45 cm, 33x50cm, 50x80cm

Lilla Szász: Self-Fashion Show

“I am looking for situations where people are happy, either together or alone, either for a long or a short period. These images seem almost utopian; yet, they are beautiful because they are true.”


Lilla Szász: Young couple, Alfama, from the Self-Fashion Show series, 2020, lambda print, 15x15 cm
Lilla Szász: Girls, Cais de Sodre, from the Self-Fashion Show series, 2020, lambda print, 15x15 cm
Lilla Szász: Girl among Flowers, from the Self-Fashion Show series, 2018, lambda print, 15x15 cm

Máté Bartha: Sunday

“In my photo series, I explore the emotional dimension of the global uncertainty beyond the necessary alternation and competition of the religious, cultural, and political ideologies increasingly defining the public discourse of recent decades.”


Máté Bartha: Untitled, from the Sunday series, 2020, giclée print, 70x70 cm

Tibor Gyenis: A Personal Decision

“My work is aimed at exploring relevant and symbolic gestures that point to broadly interpreted yet important processes. After all, what can an artist say authentically? Can an artist make specific suggestions beyond providing a status report in the language of photography? This endeavor is supported by the metaphoric nature of the image, the intuitive references of which are suggestive and interpretable in a number of ways.”


Tibor Gyenis: from the Personal Decision series, 2020, werk-images


  • Curator | Judit Gellér
  • Project coordinator | Ágnes Roth
  • Graphic design | Tamás Füredi
  • Installation | Róbert Mayer, Márton Süle
  • Translation | Vera Bakonyi-Tánczos, Zsuzsanna Bodóné Hofecker
  • Proofreading | Vivien Boronyák, Balázs Gáspár
  • Video | Benedek Bognár, Zsuzsanna Simon



Due to epidemiological provisions, the Capa Center is closed. The exhibition will be on view when our institution will reopen.


Created By
Judit Gellér


© Capa Center and the authors