Throughout most of the 20th century, neon lights were the sign of progress and modernity – and behind the Iron Curtain, the illusion of it. Fixed upon the crumbling facades of the once magnificent buildings of post-war Budapest, neon lights beamed banal advertisements and Communist propaganda just like in any other country of the Eastern Bloc. Still, from the relative comfort of the relative freedom of post-Communist Hungary, it is easy to feel some kind of a nostalgia for a time when advertisements (not the political ones!) seemed more direct, more honest, without trying to sell imaginary „lifestyles” through marketing hocus-pocus. Even regardless of their message, socialist era neon lights have various historical, artistic, townscaping and even some „archeological” value. Exploring them is one of the mystical ways to try to comprehend the realities of everyday life behind the Iron Curtain.
Lights of Budapest wants not only to document this characteristic of the city but create a catalogue where all the images are presented with the same kind of framing and a palette of saturated colours that reminds us to the American "Golden Twenties" images. Even if the political situation was totally the opposite, the purpose was the same: create this idea of modernity and fake prosperity.
Through this series, I contrast past and present, and through the crumbling neon signs set against an optimistic background, I want to expose the simple promises Communism could not deliver.