HAPPENINGText: Mark Griffith

In early April, Budapest’s Vintage Gallery (a specialist centre for photographic shows) hosted an exhibition by a Hungarian photographer who has a curious view of nature. Dezso Szabo has gone a lot further than other artists in including natural forces within the frame of the picture, and he does it without gluing blades of grass to the prints.

Tornado VI/I, Dezso Szabo, 2001, C-print, 120×180 cm, Ed.5 © Dezso Szabo

The picture series was called ‘Tornado‘ and the photos feature enormous colour prints of black swirling twisters threatening hot, dry parts of what look like Kansas and Oklahoma – random roads, fences, telegraph poles under dark summer skies.

Except they are not shots from the Oklahoman Twister Corridor – or in fact from anywhere in the US. Dezso makes the tornados in his kitchen in Budapest. Using a tank of water, he creates a whirlpool and puts in ink so as to create a tame twister that can be photographed. Even the little bits of countryside are tabletop models, the gallery explained.

Tornado VI/VI, Dezso Szabo, 2001, C-print, 120×180 cm, Ed.5 © Dezso Szabo

In the early nineties he shot a series of photographs capturing clouds in the reflective water at the bottom of a steel bucket. Obviously not ‘captured’ enough for his liking.

Spiral storms like tornado and hurricane wield enormous force, yet last only minutes or hours – at least they only last that long on our planet. Astronomers believe the red ‘eye’ of Jupiter to be a huge, coloured spiral storm that has lasted for thousands of years in the gas giant’s thick, cold atmosphere. But how to pin down, or see better, these dynamic, swirling cones of whatever fluid?

Might Dezso turn another tide, reverse another current’s flow with his homemade vortices, and also find a research result in his kitchen? Five hundred years after art and science started to drift away from each other?

Dezso Szabo “Tornado”
Date: March 14th – April 20th, 2001
Place: Vintage Gallery
Address: 26 Magyar Utca, 1053 Budapest
Tel: +36 1 337 0584

Text: Mark Griffith
Photos: Courtesy Vintage Gallery © Dezso Szabo

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