Interior photos by Sándor Ujvári

A Shared House

March 21 – November 10, 2017
Pannonhalma Archabbey (Pannonhalma, Hungary)

“Place is not to be confused with space. The difference between space and place is that space has a number while place has a face.” Béla Hamvas

This satellite-photo of NASA shows only the artificial lights of the night on Earth tracing out the important contours of our planet even without the detailed topography. Each and every light marks a spot of shared houses that are home to diverse communities, as we instinctively tend to live in such close proximity of each other all around the world.

Behind the lights there is a village or town with eateries, theatres, churches, plants, discos, blocks of flats, schools, dormitories, hospitals, malls, prisons, railway stations, hotels, cinemas, sport centres – and the list is almost endless since most of these houses were built for smaller or larger, permanent or temporary, obligatory or voluntary chosen communities that fill the space between their four walls. These are the places that are examined in our photo-series.

What is the main reason for which we like a place or we regard it as our own? Is it because of the architect who designed the building, the craftsmen who made the furniture, or the fact that the air-conditioning is functioning? We seek to shape our environment according to our needs but the environment affects us and shapes us too. How many rumours are told between the walls of a hairdresser’s? How many songs are sung to the bathroom tiles? Are there any house parties that do not eventually end up in the kitchen? Will that girl, now getting on the train, sit next to me? Does coffee indeed taste better at my local hangout?

We turn empty spaces into places and very often these places shape our everyday life unnoticed. The photos give a view of life in different communities: a weightlifting club that is run in the basement of a country town hall, a “village house” in Óbuda that provides a home for three thousand people, a multiple unit train in the Great Plain of Hungary, a Calvinist drug-therapy home on the outskirts of a village, a ruin pub and a detached house in the suburbs where four generations of a family live together. Compared to these places the increasingly growing virtual space is still a novelty and in this our understanding is guided by posts in various Facebook groups.

The portrait-series connected to these locations introduce us to a few, sometimes temporary formed, groups; the members of which have met at some highlighted sites of the common houses: in front of the house while walking the dog, on granny’s sofa, or on the platform, waiting for the train.

When moving to a new flat, we instinctively wonder about the previous owner, yet we rarely think that our fate is interlinked with theirs. Although looking back in time to the oldest known building on earth, the seven thousand-year-old tombs in France or to the centre of the five hundred-year-old Reformation, the Wittenberg Castle Church we may get the sense that there is more between the walls, something inconceivable, usually called the genius loci that link us to all the people who have ever been there before. The thousand-year-old monastery of Pannonhalma provides occasion, context, space and place to look at the seemingly familiar but in daily life rarely observed oscillations of our common homes.



Curator: István Virágvölgyi
Exhibiting Photographers: Orsi Ajpek, János Kummer, Sándor Ujvári
Pannonhalma Archabbey Cultural Office: Konrád Dejcsics, Zsófia Jeneiné Kisszebeni, Nóra Majoros

The show was accompanied by an illustrated catalogue in Hungarian and English.



Ez az én négygenerációs családom (Index Nagykép)

Egy közös ház - Fotókiállítás a Pannonhalmi Főapátságban (Origo)

Közös Ház: a mienk, otthon (Heti Válasz)

Közös ház (Phoo Magazin)

Egy közös ház címmel fotókiállítás nyílt a Pannonhalmi Főapátságban (Kisalföld)

Magyarország egy kis közös ház (Magyar Nemzet)

Egy közös ház – Fotókiállítás a Pannonhalmi Főapátságban (Magyar Kurír)

A drogos, a fotós, meg a többiek – közös ház az életünk (SZEMlélek)