Peter Puklus (1980) was born in Romania and now is based in Budapest. He has studied photography at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest and New Media Design at the École National Supérieur de Création Industrielle in Paris. He has published his works in photo books and presented them in numerous solo and group exhibitions – including Foam in Amsterdam and Krokus Gallery in Bratislava. In his photographs there are various everyday objects that have been re-arranged and placed in relationship to one another adding new associations. His photographic work includes studies, sketchbooks and journeys all at once exploding formal boundaries and radically expanding the photographic space. His solo show Unsafe to Dance is on view at C/O Berlin until 24 April, but One and a Half Meter at Robert Morat Galerie until 7 May, both in Berlin.
How come you have several exhibitions in Germany at the same time?
It is more like a coincidence and it all started in 2013 when I was a FOAM Talent and at the same time I also had a solo exhibition entitled Handbook to the Stars at FOAM curated by Claudia Küssel. Helga Weckop-Conrads and Walter Conrads, the owners of Galerie Conrads in Düsseldorf, saw this exhibition and invited me to do a solo show at their spaces in early 2016. We opened New Works in January 2016. Also, during the FOAM Talent events in Amsterdam back in 2013 one of my artist talks was seen by Ann-Christin Bertrand (curator of C/O Berlin) and after the talk she invited me to create an off-space live photo-performance together with a SPBH workshop in Berlin. Half a year later she introduced the Thinking About Photography programme and invited me to take part in it. Originally we planned my exhibition to be opened during the fall of 2015 but we had to move it to the spring of 2016 because of different reasons. Finally Unsafe to Dance opened in early February 2016. Somehow it was obvious that I’ll have a linked solo show at the same time in Robert Morat Galerie who represents me and my works internationally and in Germany One and a half meter opened one day earlier. So this is how I ended up having three different solo shows across Germany at the same time. The interesting part is that they are all linked. For me it is like introducing the past, present and future – a real retrospective – which is a funny feeling at the age of 35.
Where do you get ideas for your sculptures?
The original sparkling idea can come from almost anywhere. Anything and anytime can inspire me: not only a cultural effect like an exhibition or a book but any kind of an everyday situation. Last time I came across some left-overs at the loading area of a depository – there were wooden cubes from pallets. I liked the shapes and the material, so I brought them to my studio where I started to make different compositions, painted them with color paint and organized the light. It felt like I was in a real playground. All together it was a long practice and a few years ago I realized that to take a picture of these objects is not always that important because of two reasons: on the one hand, the object can stand alone by itself in the gallery space and there is no need to ‘support’ it by a photographic image, and, on the other hand, it is also part of my practice that these objects are somehow related to the medium of photography. Thus, again, there is not always a need to photograph them. This last one is the key momentum, I believe. For the majority of my sculptures, objects and installations there is a starting point which is pretty much related to any kind of photography: a found postcard, memories, an image I took many years ago.
What is the usual path from an idea to a photograph?
Usually inspirations come in waves, many of them at the same time. For these events I have dedicated a notebook where I draw small sketches of the composition, the situation or something else, which I can later remind myself of. These drawings rest for a while and sometimes years later I pull them out, and after retransforming and rethinking I create the image / object, or not.
What do you think about the way the medium of photography is changing today?
There is this over-used, but still relevant idea about the democracy of the medium, especially because of the accessibility of smart-phones and affordable cameras, etc. Also, we experienced a huge transition in terms of the platforms where and how we consume photography. But in my opinion, all these changes are more related to the technology development rather than to the medium itself. Of course, they affect each other, but I always try to look at the end result and not on how it was created.
What project are you working on now?
I would like to finish my long-long-long term and still ongoing project The Epic Love Story of a Warrior this year.