One of Mai Manó House's exhibition series – spanning across many years – is showcasing works of Hungarian-born photographers who later gained world-fame as members of another nation (Kati Horna's Civil War photos (1999), Taken at Home Photo-Diary. André Kertész and Hungarians (2005), Miklós Müller Retrospect (2006), Gyulus Brassai Brassai photographs and documents (2007)). Their art careers are deeply rooted in Hungary, however, their artistic development became part of the international history of photography as art influenced by the impulses of their chosen country, as well as by the experiences the artists gained along the way.
One such photographer is the recently deceased (June 26, 2007) LUCIEN HERVÉ, also known as the the reformer of architectural photography. The current exhibition features snippets of Hervé's life and works through a selection of his Parisian photo-series and his artist-portraits from France.
The two themes – portraits of the city and of people - paralleled in the exhibit illustrate his solid artistic style. They respond to the probably unasked question of how Hervé sought to portray his ''own'' city, Paris. Paris - the city where he lived, where he departed from and returned to after his travels; the city where he spent his days. No selection has been made of his works based on such criterion; therefore, this selection may hold surprises even for those familiar with his defined style and breakthrough photography. Those who have never encountered Hervé's art will find new ways and fresh perspectives to look at the perhaps already well-known places and buildings of Paris (the Champs Elysées, the Eiffel tower, etc.). The people portraits provide an insight into the most prominent circles of the ''French art-world.'' The photos feature Hungarian artists and intellectuels who either lived in Paris or at least stayed there temporarily (Anna Mark, György Ligeti, Endre Rozsda, Lajos Kassák, Ferec Fejtő). Also portrayed are the great figures of architecture (Le Corbusier, Marcel Brauer, etc.), as well as the era's important artist, Henri Matisse. Through the photos, we may witness the evolution of a grand personality and his way of thinking. Hervé always had the courage to walk his own way. He was not afraid of exposing his own sensibility and openness through his pictures. His photos are the definitions of his choices, his quality of life, his rebellious personality, his ever-creating attitude towards life and living and towards finding truth.
Lucien Hervé's specialty lies in his ability to see and make see his architectural philosophy in his photography to others, as well. He basically breathed in-out together with the architectural shapes and forms; he was so sensitive as to notice constellations of the the natural environment and the built spaces that often surprised the architects themselves. He captured the fullness of details with simple, pure techniques. He must have been a close friend of light or – as his wife put it – he carried light in his pocket since that is the basic component, the formulating element of his compositions. We still owe a lot to him and while this exhibition is not the first step, we still have a lot to do.
Gabriella Csizek artistic director
Letters exhibited were selected by Imola Gebauer, art-historian
As part of the exhibition, we are projecting Szilvia Seres's movie PORTRAIT OF LUCIEN HERVÉ.
Special thanks to Judit Hervé for making the exhibition possible
Thanks to Orsolya Sandly, Dávid Bán, Illés Sarkantyu for organizing the exhibition
The exhibit is sponsored by: Insitut Français/French Institute, Budapest, ELLE
Hungarian House of Photography in Mai Manó House
H-1065 Budapest-Terézváros, Nagymező utca 20.