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Imre Szabo - nineties

Imre Szabó – The Nineties

Imre Szabó is one of the authors who is in the most profound and direct way creatively responsible for the press photography in both modern Serbia, as well as in former Yugoslavia.  This argument is not a bit exaggerated – its clear proof is the author`s fund of works from several decades ago and a fantastically expressed  sense for being in the right place at the right time, and his insightfulness and determination to literally grab moments of history that in all those years arose before its lens.

His work with the perspective of the present and the time offset from the conflict in the area of former Yugoslavia, represents a substance through which we must constantly move towards the analysis and the setting of parallels between the events "then" and now. We ask ourselves whether we have learned some lessons from the past, or perhaps some new historical corrective exam due to the hot-blooded Balkan mentality may be preparing for us. This is particularly important in the analysis of the Kosovo conflict, where in its essence the author may have shown the most, starting from the anthology photo "House for Sale" of 1981, through the speech of Slobodan Milosevic to Serbs on Kosovo field in 1987, and to scenes during the bombing by NATO forces, as the chronological tag of the first half of this Gordian knot.  The fact that Imre Szabó has spent, one with another, two years of life in fieldwork in Kosovo, explains that this is a mandatory guideline, which you simply need to refer to, if you want to comprehend the essence of this problem. 

The theme of the exhibition "Nineties" is the author`s war opus, moments spent on the battlefields of Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo, in addition to some recorded events that were occurring before those, or parallel to them, as effects of the consequences of these wars in Belgrade itself.

In these situations, Imre Szabó does not necessarily perform, or not at all, as a war reporter, but as a witness of the time, recording the life circumstances, space and situations in which he found himself from his perspective and guided by personal intuition in a deeper and more complex way. The people and the grotesque aesthetics of the national separations in the making, leading inexorable into the depth of the conflict are primarily in the first plan of his war and socially engaged photographs.

With reflection and the feeling for identifying the moment, Imre Szabó is a photographer of life that makes an imminent step forward in the experience of human, emotional. In a situation where you must choose by rule which side you will play, Imre has managed to stay on his own, as the language in which he spoke at that moment, was exclusively and only – photographic. Such language, if correctly used, does not understand the forms of separation, such language understands only the process of recording the genuine moment. A moment that will only later inevitably be exposed to the (manipulative) public and will try to remain genuine. This is the situation where Imre Szabó just writes the history of these regions in the best way.

There are forty genuine examples in front of you, we are talking about. Exhibited for the first time in a complex wholeness of visual stories, as a symbolic archive of the time that demanded excessive blood tax.

Igor Čoko

Organizers: The Grain Association and the University Library Svetozar Marković



He was born in 1956 in Mokrin, finished high School in Kikinda, then studied German language and literature at the Philology faculty in Belgrade. He is exhibiting photos since 1974 and has since participated in over 200 exhibitions at home and abroad and received several awards and recognitions. He had individual exhibitions in Kikinda (1974, 1988), Mokrin (1977, 1982 and 2018), Skopje (1983), Belgrade (1987, 2011 and 2018), Banatski Brestovac (2009), Ankara and Maribor (2010), Paraćin (2011), Boston (2013), Istanbul (2015), Užice (2018) and Samobor (2019), Kragujevac (2019).

Since 1980, he is working professionally as a photojournalist, first in the redaction of Ilustrovana politika (up to 1989), then a very short time in the daily Politika, and in redactions of weeklies Intervju (by autumn 1991) and Nin until 1995, when he decided for independent dealing with  applied photography. In the meantime, he worked as photo editor in the daily Danas, but also in the weekly Blic News and in the agency Fonet, and last years as editor of photography in the magazine Status and in establishing of the Novi magazin. His photographs are published by many important world journals (Stern, Focus, Spiegel, Le Monde, L’Express, Time, Newsweek, Herald Tribune, Le Nouvell Observateur) and most of the Yugoslav newspapers, in several monographies, catalogues and publications.

He is a member of the ULUPUDS (Associations of Artists of Applied Art and Designers of Serbia) from 1985, and the bearer of the title Master of Photography in the Photo Association of Serbia.

Today he is living and working in Belgrade as a freelance artist.


Earlier Event: September 9
Razstavišče III. gimnazije Maribor
Later Event: September 10
Imre Szabo - devedeseta