Magdolna Vékás



Born 23 July 1956 in Budapest. Following her high school diploma, in 1977 she took the professional examination for photographers at the Dési Huber István Vocational Training School. Subsequently, she worked for ten years as photographer for the Semmelweis Medical History Museum.

She currently teaches photography at the Alternative High School for Economics, and she also teaches artisanal photographic procedures at the University of Fine Arts. She also teaches historical photographic processes to the graduate students of the Szellemkép (Ghost Image) Free School. She regularly holds Képíró – képolvasó (Image Reading and Writing) weekends at the Mai Manó House of Photography, under the title Archaic Techniques in Theory and Practice.
Between 1977-82 she was member of the Studio of Young Photographers (FFS), and from 1982 of the Hungarian Association of Photographers (she is currently a member of the board), as well as being a founding member of the Első Alkotócsoport (First Creative Group), and from 1987 artist of the Hungarian Association of Creative Artists (MAOE).
From 1985, since the photographic techniques workshop led by Károly Kincses in Gödöllő, she has been engaged in the production of photographs attained by special methods. At first she made her pictures on deckled paper, but later on many other kinds of materials, such as textile, stone, and metal plates.
The texture of the various materials gives her pictures and artworks a surplus of meaning. The production of albumin, salt paper, cyanotype, chromotype, and facsimile photographs always endows her compositions with a unique significance in the spirit of a higher thinking.
She is an exhibiting artist since 1980 – if not too often, but continuously. At the opening of the exhibition organised at the Alternative Economic High School in December 1998, Mihály Gera introduced the show with the following words: “The Vékás empire is an idiosyncratic world constructed from the elements of reality, emanating an enchanting atmosphere, where there is quiet, calm, brightness and cheer, balance, and that which Magdolna Vékás has created with the natural simplicity springing from her being, just as the old masters, with their precise, thorough and purposeful work, carefully tended to proportion and detail”.
Her first solo exhibition, entitled Nihil, was organised at the Liget Gallery in 1985.
Her photographs are continually featured at the exhibitions of the Studio of Young Photographers (FFS).
In 1999, with her brother, cinematographer Péter Vékás, they had a joint exhibition at the Hungarian Academy in Roma, entitled Artificial Light.
In 2002, she went on a trip to the US for professional photographers, and the photographs she made then were shown in 2012 at the Kolta Gallery, enlarged on printer’s metal plates, entitled NY.
In 2007, for the anniversary of the start of her career, a retrospective exhibition was organised at the Mai Manó House, entitled Thirty Years.
Her special volume of Cyanotypes, made on deckled paper, was published in 1997 by the Nádai Studio, while her album, Fragments of the City, was published within the Városháza series.
In 1998, she was awarded with a Divald Károly memorial poster, and in the same year she also won the Grand Prize of the Esztergom Biennial, while in 2000 she also received the most prestigious honour in the photographic profession, the Balogh Rudolf Award.
The defining attitude of her artwork: “as opposed to the wriggling, mechanised world, living in the enthralment of mass production, she stands alongside the handmade, judged to be anachronistic, creating the unique”. (G.M.)
A portion of her photographic works is found at the Hungarian Museum of Photography and at the Körmendi-Csák Collection of 20th Century Hungarian Photography.

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Vékás Magdolna