Mandatory wear of contact lenses
Plastic frosted culture
Text by József Készman
As the era of digital picture has changed our routines in perception and response in a couple of years, a distinctly new visual appearance has become characteristic both among earlier forms of using photo and representatives of various generations. It is by no means accidental that Krisztina Erdei’s photos have returned and escalated. They are harbingers of a transition that has taken place in the function of picture and the ways of using it. It might not be credited to her, but sure enough she is an indicator of these changes, and a conscious applier of an interesting, new approach.
Through her work, forms of private photo radiant from being primary and direct, are turning into surprising documents of relations that are invisible and mainly not reflected, still, inherent in the image or situation.
It seems that in modern culture we still need someone to express for us – in images or texts – the feeling that reinforces our existence in culture. These are the shared experience and situations in life that only exist in the frame of reference of here and now / this and that time, and are only validated by the fact that the patterns they feature we all are familiar with, we all have experienced them ourselves. They all work instead of us and for our benefit at the same time. What else are pop musicians, journalists, bloggers and stylists good for?
Do we desire to face such dreams, images or thoughts of wish fulfillment as the ones in Erdei Krisztina’s photos? Did we want them, did we desire exactly these? While the demand for oral and retinal prostheses of reality is growing in order to create a compound of our views about the world, our whole personality out of the fragments we are reflecting, we hardly question the pictures’ mechanisms constituting reality.
Krisztina’s photos on the other hand work with an approach directed towards our visual world. She is a manipulator who adds her vision to the particular scene. A visual designer of sights, she creates the narratives and relations she wants to show. There is no need to bother with the preliminary experience or the phenomena in the background: Krisztina Erdei says/states that the world starts with experiencing images, and the world is understood through and with help of images: what exists is perceived as an image in an incredible flux of images, where all objects and existents broadcast millions of images of themselves everywhere. And this is where the engineer of visuals comes into the picture. It is as if we were provided with familiar stories, but we are left waiting for the familiar characters and plots in vain. Krisztina Erdei is being naughty; she is a “bad girl” who creates confusion through changing the meaning of images. What the picture is about is not always easy to notice at first sight. She could be a documentarist who uses alternative technique or different exposure time, for instance, and, through this, captures a number of meta-narratives otherwise invisible. There is a funny, rather weird character to almost all of her photos. As if receiving a different broadcast, or constantly getting spammed while looking at images in a normal mode. Her photos are funny, but beyond grotesque and not ironical, either – maybe we could call them pataphysical daydreaming avoiding normal perceptional experience. However, these pictures are deeply rooted in reality, and this is how she is able to draw the viewer’s attention to interesting associations, structural analogies, or pendant thoughts. The fact thus becoming even more bewildering that frequently the creation of these photos is based on the investigation and capturing of unique and anomalous realities of the social, the cultural, or that of lifestyle.
Krisztina Erdei’s work consists of very strong photos: troubling and exciting, like the collections of a fashion guru. We could say they present a new generation’s visuals and their directives for reality, with a consoling vision that the culture of today, though it is clearly heading somewhere, remains full of unexpected relations, contingencies. The reality copied through Krisztina Erdei’s camera is actual, not potential, and it forms a complex, heavily conditioned world employing both model realities and own experience.
Her greatest achievement is to feature not trippy, far-fetched images darting away from the world, but relations that inherent in the world as raisins in shortbread; reloaded again and again. It is not a personal ego trip, but a modal matrix: as if the world was viewed through a display helmet worn 24/7, projecting information on our retinas. This additional information rather helps, not so much hinders interpreting reality, and it is not even disturbing if the transmitted picture appears sensational, constructed, or remote – through them we believe that their creator “just happened to” come across and capture them.