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Ryan Molnar goes in search of his Hungarian-American identity

Ryan Molnar Mirror Of Past And Future 1

Ryan Molnar, is a San Francisco based artist working with photography and sculpture to create series based on poetic and ephemeral relationships between images, objects, and installation. His work is a hybrid of documentary and fantasy and explores the space between the imagined and real. Drawn to emotional and psychological perspectives within image making, he is interested in what it means to exist in a world where contemporary experience is mediated by technology. Molnar’s installation works are disruptive investigations into the relationships between two and three dimensional space; the dysmorphia between the digital and physical. The image becomes a starting point for these physical works, which is prescribed new meanings through its altered, material form.

About ‘Mirror of Past and Future’ – words by Ryan Molnar:

‘Mirror of Past and Future’ is a self published photographic book project created in 2017 in Budapest, Hungary. The Completion of this projected coincided with my BFA exhibition at San Francisco Art Institute in 2017 and took the final finished form of an artists book and exhibition of sculptural photographic works. The work is an exploration of my Hungarian family history, collective memory, trauma, architecture, and time. The images contained within this project are a mixture of photographs I made in Hungary and found images belonging to my Hungarian grandmother, who was born in Budapest and once lived there. My Grandmother fled Hungary with her parents in 1947 to escape communism and religious persecution during World War II, eventually immigrating to the United States where I was born. These photographs were the only visual link which ever existed in my life between my family and their Hungarian past and always possessed a strange, magnetic aura to me. In 2017, after completing an Artist Residency in Berlin, I traveled to Budapest alone for 10 days to make this work. I wandered through the streets obsessively, photographing the city in an almost lucid state. I traveled to areas surrounding Budapest where my family used to reside such as Lake Balaton, looking for things which reminded me of the war damaged family photographs from my Hungarian family that I had seen as a child. Drawn to poetic and ethereal scenes, I tried to make images which exuded the spiritual feeling I felt while confronting the landscape and my abstracted ancestry. The works within this project are not an attempt to create a linear truth of the past but are an attempt to understand and imagine my dislocated Hungarian-American identity.

Time to read
2 min
Words by
Staff
Published on
4 May 2020
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