Film series part 4: Tibor Hajas

Self fashion show (1976)

October 10–12, 2008

The fourth and last part of Ludlow 38’s film series will be Tibor Hajas’ Self fashion show (1976, 15 minutes, 35mm transferred to DVD).

In spite of his early death, the action and performance artist and poet Tibor Hajas (1946–1980) counts among the most important Hungarian artists of the second half of the twentieth century. His performances, which took place without an audience and were only documented by a photographer, strove for a holistic experience between life and death in which he—like the Vienna Actionists—explored his own physical and mental limits.

Hajas’s short 35 mm film Öndivatbemutató (Self fashion show), produced at Balázs Béla Filmstúdió in 1976, suggests documentary methods before questioning them. On a busy square, passersby are stopped and asked to look into the camera for one minute in a pose of their own choosing, to present themselves as “models of their own fates.” The vulnerability and manipulability of the persons approached become apparent and are highlighted by the soundtrack added later. Image and sound form a montage: the “protagonists” appear as a “collection of beetles, an anthropological manual” (Hajas) and are instructed by three speakers in how best to present themselves.

Courtesy of Béla Balázs Studio Foundation, and thanks to Kontakt Collection

Vienna-based curator Walter Seidl and Tobi Maier discussed the work of Tibor Hajas on Sunday, October 12, at 7pm.