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Hellish Eden

What was the Hungary my parents grew up in like? Cruel compared to the West, humane compared to its neighbours, surreal from today's perspective, still somehow charming when seen in old pictures.

In my series I attempt to remember a time I haven't lived in, yet, what plays an important role in forming my identity and our current society.

The title Hellish Eden refers to the duality and absurdity of Hungarian communist regime in the 70s and 80s. Based on my parents’ stories I capture fictional situations that could have been possible in the past, still had never happened. My photos are mostly staged, but with using an unusual documentary approach, my purpose is blurring the line between fiction and reality

Nowadays, especially in post socialist countries, talking about past in my parents and grandparents’ generation is often a taboo. Collaborating with my parents and using my imagination I recreate the era they were young in. With this gesture I want to emphasise the importance of talking about past to understand our present and create a better future.

Franciska Legát (b. 1997, Budapest, Hungary) lives and works in Budapest. She graduated at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, from Bachelor of photography in 2021. In 2020 she spent a semester in Utrecht at HKU photography with Erasmus Scholarship. Currently she’s doing her master’s degree at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design. Absurdity, irony and a particular kind of dark humor plays an important role both in her personal and commissioned works.

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