Péter Forgács

Péter Forgács (1950) is a media artist and filmmaker, based in Budapest. Since 1978 he has made more than thirty films and several media installations. He is best known for his “Private Hungary” series of award winning films and installations often based on home movies from the 1920s-1980s, which documents ordinary lives that were soon to be ruptured by an extraordinary historical trauma that occurs off screen.

Since the early 1990s Forgács’ video installations have been presented at museums and art galleries throughout Europe and America. His international debut came with The Bartos Family (1988). Since then he has received several international festival awards – in New York, Budapest, Lisbon, Marseilles, San Francisco and Berlin, where he won the Prix Europa for Free Fall film in 1997. Between 2000-2002 Forgács was artist in residence at The Getty Museum/Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, where he created The Danube Exodus: Rippling Currents of the River installation. His works can be found in prestigious collections including the MoMA or the Pompidou. In 2007 Forgács was awarded with the most prestigious Dutch Erasmus Prize for his notable contributions to European culture. He regularly exhibits at famous Hungarian as well as international art institutions such as the Getty Museum, the BOZAR or the EYE Film Museum. His solo show entitled ‘Letters to Afar’ was on view in the Museum of the City of New York. He has participated in numerous significant international art events, for instance he represented Hungary in 2009 at the Venice Biennale with his project entitled ‘Col Tempo – The W. Project’. In 2018, Forgács’s piece ‘Venom’ was awarded with the Acquisition Award at LOOP Barcelona.

1950, Budapest (HU)
lives and works in Budapest

excerpts of films and installations are available here

Professional Experience

1983

Private Photo and Film Archive, founder and manager

1978 – 1986

Group 180 (contemporary music group)

1978 – 1993

Filmmaker  | Béla Balázs Studio, Budapest, Hungary

1971

Hungarian University of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary

Awards

2020

Dragon of Dragons Award

2018

Acquisition Award, Loop Barcelona

2010

Hungarian Cultural Ambassador, Hungarian Ministry of Education and Culture’s Award

2008

I am Von Höfler, Creative Documentary Film Grand Prize, Hungarian Film Week, Budapest

Own Death, Best Experimental Film Prize, Hungarian Film Week, Budapest, Hungary

2007

Erasmus Prize, Praemium Erasmianum Foundation, Amsterdam

Miss Universe 1929, Special Mention, Hungarian Film Week, Budapest, Hungary

2006

El Perro Negro, Documentary Grand Prize, Hungarian Film Week, Budapest, Hungary

2005

El Perro Negro, The Maysles Brothers Documentary Grand Prize, Denver International Film Festival

El Perro Negro, Feature Length Documentary Film Award, Tribeca International Film Festival, New York, NY

2002

A Bibó Reader, Director Prize of Short & Experimental Film, 33rd Hungarian Film Festival, Budapest, Hungary

2001

Angelos’ Film, Best Music and Sound Track Special Award, One World Film Festival, Prague The Czech Republic

Best Director Prize of Short & Experimental Film, 33rd Hungarian Film Festival, Budapest, Hungary

2000

The Maelstrom, Grand Prize, Out Of That Darkness” International Film Festival, London, UK

Angelos’ Film, The Golden Spire, San Francisco International Film Festival

Angelos’ Film, Golden Gate Award – The Golden Spire, San Francisco International Film Festival

Angelos’ Film, Documentário Longa Grand Prize, XI Encotros Internacionalis De Cinema Documental, Portugal

1999

The Danube Exodus, Fipresci Prize, Krakow International Documentary Film Festival, Poland

The Danube Exodus, The Silver Dragon Prize, Krakow International Documentary Film Festival

Free Fall, The Best Documentary Fiction Prize, Hungarian Film Critics Prize, Budapest, Hungary

Free Fall, Best Film Music Prize, Hungarian Film Critics Prize, Budapest, Hungary

The Danube Exodus, Documentary Grand Prize, Hungarian Film Week, Budapest, Hungary

The Maelstrom, The MAYOR’S Jewish Experience Prize, Jerusalem International Film Festival, Israel

1997

Free Fall, Prix Europa  |  Television Programme of the Year,  Berlin

Free Fall, Fipresci Prize, Leipzig International Film Festival, Germany

Free Fall, Grand Prix, International Documentary Film Festival of Marseilles, France

Free Fall, CNC “Image de la culture” Special Award, International Documentary Film Festival of Marseilles, France

Free Fall, Short & Experimental Film Grand Prize, Hungarian Film Week, Budapest, Hungary

1995

Meanwhile Somewhere … 1940-1943, “Lattücht” Prize Dokument, RT 95 Festival, Neubrandenburg, Germany

1994

Wittgeinstein Tractatus, Grand Prize, Montecattini, Terme, Italy

1993

Márai Herbal, 2nd Prize, Berlin Sport and Young Film Festival, Germany

Wittgeinstein Tractatus, Les Beaux Jours Prix, International Film & Video Festival, Strasbourg, France

Wittgeinstein Tractatus, Video Grand Prix, VIPER Film & Video Festival, Lucerne, Switzerland

Wittgeinstein Tractatus, Grand Prix, Sound Base Arts Video Festival, Wroclaw, Poland

1991

Dusi & Jenő, Grand Prize “vue sur la doc”, 2nd “European Documentary Film Biennial”, Marseilles, France

1990

The Bartos Family, Grand Prize, World Wide Video Festival, The Hague, Holland

Installations | Exhibitions

2020

The Dead Web – The End, group exhibition, Ludwig Museum

2019

Rembrandt Morphs, EYE Filmmuseum, Amsterdam

The Phantom of the Self-Portrait. Rembrandt 350, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

Dream Inventory and Mutual Analysis, Barcsay Museum, Szentendre

2018

GWB Review, Zipernowsky House, Budapest, Hungary

Pictoreque Epochs (2016): The tumultuous 20th-century Hungarian history seen through the camera of painter Mária Gánóczy, Museum Lecture Hall, Getty Center, Los Angeles

Infermental 3 (1984): Experimental shorts from the first video art magazine, Museum Lecture Hall, Getty Center, Los Angeles

2017

Issues of Uncertainty, Ani Molnár Gallery, Budapest, Hungary

Pedagogical Partisan Action, Der Punkt, OFF-Biennále Budapest, Hungary

Save as… – “What will remain of new media art?” Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary

2016

Stories of Random Bodies, solo exhibition, Ani Molnár Gallery, Budapest, Hungary

Reconstruction of Story 3: Absolute Time or Materializationof Cinematic Body, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art,  (MMCA), Seoul, South Korea

2015

Meaning (Marcell Esterházy, Péter Forgács, Gábor Gerhes), Capa Center, Budapest, Hungary

OFF-Biennale, Budapest, Hungary

Letters To Afar, 15-channel video installation, Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, CA

“It has happened, though I have not committed it…”, Ani Molnár Gallery, Budapest, Hungary

2014

Ludwig 25, Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest, Hungary

Turning Points, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest, Hungary

Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary

Letters to Afar, 15-channel video installation, Museum of the City of New York, New York, NY

Installations in the Municipal Gallery 1992-2014, Museum Kiscell, Budapest, Hungary

2013

Letters to Afar, 15-channel video installation with music by The Klezmatics, commissioned by the MHPJ and the  YIVO Institute | Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw, Poland

Looming Fire – Stories from the Dutch East Indies 1900-194 | 15-channel video installation – EYE Amsterdam

2011

The New Arrivals |Bozar – Brussels, Belgium – 8 Contemporary Artist from Hungary  Hungary in  Focus    2011, curator: Péter Forgács

2009

Col Tempo | The W. Project | 28-channel video installation, 53rd Venice Biennale, Giardini di Castello, Italy, Hungarian Pavilion Installation

GERMAN UNITY @ BALATON Rathaus Mainz, 2011; Cottbus, Germany,  International Film  Festival, 2010; Dortmunder Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, 2010; Collegium Hungaricum, Berlin, 2009

2007

Monomotapa and The Game | Műcsarnok / Kunsthalle, Budapest, Hungary, ZKM Karlsruhe, Germany

2006

Rembrandt Morphs – In/between, video installation | RE:MBRANDT 400, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary

2004

Educational Cinema video installation | Suppressed Holocaust, Műcsarnok/Kunsthalle, Budapest, Hungary

2003

SIGHT|AURA C3 group exhibition, Millenáris Pavillon/D., Budapest, Hungary
Der Kaiser auf dem Spaziergang  The German Emperor Wilhelm II in exile, Dorn Holland. 1918-1942The Light-Image-Reality Project Exhibition, AEGINA, Greece

2002

The Danube Exodus – The Rippling Currents of the River, 7-channel video installation | Bozar / Center for Fine Arts,  Brussels, Belgium, 2011; The Jewish Museum, New York, USA, 2009; Filmhuis, The Hague,  The Netherlands, 2008; The Jewish Museum, Berlin,Germany, 2007; Kunstverein, Ulm, Germany, 2007; Ludwig Museum LUMU, Contemporary Art Museum, Budapest, Hungary,  2006; The Judah Magnes Museum, Berkley, California, USA, 2006; Kiasma Contemporary  Art Museum, Helsinki, Finland, 2005; Future Cinema / ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany, 2003; CCCB, Barcelona, Spain, 2003; The Getty Museum, Los Angeles, USA, 2002

2000

Free Fall oratorio, with composer Tibor Szemző performed in San Francisco, Munich,   Los Angeles, Budapest, Szeged, Zurich

1997

The Visit | What?” group exhibition, Brugge Cultural Capital of Europe, Belgium, 2002; 56  Gallery, Budapest, Hungary, 2000

The Hung Aryan | OBSERVATORIUM, group exhibition, Ujezdowsky Gallery, Warsaw, Poland, 1998; Budapest Gallery, Budapest, Hungary, 1997
Saloon and Than! | Liget Gallery, Budapest, Hungary

1996

Pre Morgue | “Butterfly Effect” Group Exhibition, Műcsarnok / Kunsthalle, Budapest, Hungary

1995

Dream Inventory | Zeitgenössische Kunst aus Ungarn, Kulturamt Fellbach, Germany, 2000;   “MOST” group Exhibition, Bochum Museum, Germany, 1999; MUHKA Gallery, „Beyond Art & Science” Austro-Hungarian Exhibition, Antwerp, Belgium, 1998; Landes Museum, Graz, Austria „Beyond Art & Science” Austro-Hungarian Exhibition, 1997; Ludwig Museum, „Beyond Art & Science” Austro-Hungarian Exhibition, Budapest, Hungary ; Kiscell Municipal Gallery,   Budapest, Hungary, 1995

1994

Hungarian Totem – Assemblage of the pig |-1999 Central European Avant-garde, Ludwig Museum Budapest, Vienna, Madrid & Barcelona, 1999/2000; “Hungarian Totem” Zeitgenössische Kunst aus Ungarn, Fellbach, Germany, 1999; “MOST” group Exhibition, Bochum Museum, Germany, 1999; FAUNA, group exhibition Zachenta Museum, Warsaw, 1999; INTER ACTUS 5, Accademia Ungheria, Roma, 1998; “A Triple Dialogue”, group exhibition, Krakow, Poland, 1997; Shiseido Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, 1996; Sao Paolo XXVIII. Biennial, Sao Paolo, Brasil, 1996; Postmasters Gallery, New York, USA, 1996; Kiscell Municipal Gallery, Budapest, Hungary, 1995; Kapolcs Art Festival, Hungary, 1994

1992

Hungarian Video Kitchen Art|10th World Wide Video Festival, The Hague, Holland; Sub Voce Exhibition, Műcsarnok / Kunsthalle, Budapest, Hungary

Two Nests and Other Things| French Institute Gallery, Budapest, Hungary

The Case of My Room |The Shifting Borders, international exhibition, Laing Gallery, Newcastle, United Kingdom

1985

Work Desk, installation and performance, Ernst Museum, Young Artist’s Studio, Budapest, Hungary

1983

Dixi & Pixi, performance with Dixi, Group 180, L. Lugo Lugosi | Kassák Culture Center, Budapest, Hungary

1980

Inaguration, installation and performance, performance with L. Lugo Lugosi, István Mártha and Lajos Somoskõi |Young Artists Club  (FMK) Budapest, Hungary

1979

Stanley & Livingstone – fluxus (lecture on Communist Statues) performance | the Young Artist Club (FMK), Budapest, Hungary

Films and videos

2016

Venom – A Diva in Exile

2013

Tact 0.1

2011

GermanUnity@Balaton – Honeyland (GE:Honigland, HU:Mézföld)
Tact 0.1 – At The Time Of A Fragile Truce

2009

Hunky Blues – The American Dream
Video Active – EU TV Heritage documentary

2008

I am Von Höfler – Variation on Werther – Private Hungary 15

2007

Own Death   (based on P. Nádas book)

2006

Miss Universe 1929 – Lisl Goldarbeiter – a Queen in Wien

2005

El Perro Negro – Stories from the Spanish Civil War

2004

Mutual Analysis  |   Hommage á Sándor Ferenczi

2003

do you really love me ? – The HungAryan  video  installation

2002

The Bishop’s Garden – Private Hungary 14

2001

A Bibó Reader – Private Hungary 13

1999

Angelos’ Film

1998

The Danube Exodus

1997

The Maelstrom – A Family Chronicle
Kádár’s Kiss – Private Hungary 12
Class Lot – Private Hungary 11

1996

Free Fall – Private Hungary 10

Pauer Pseudo

The Land of Nothing – Private Hungary 9

1994

Meanwhile Somewhere … 1940-1943 – An Unknown War series 5/3.
The Notes of a Lady – Private Hungary 8

1993

Simply Happy – a documentary (with Albert Wulffers)

Culture Shavings

1992

Wittgeinstein Tractatus – 7 video paragra
Arizona Diary – with poet György Petri
Photographed by László Dudás – Private Hungary 6
Bourgeois Dictionary – Private Hungary 7

1991

D-film – Private Hungary 5

1990

The Diary of Mr. N. – Private Hungary 4

1989

Either – Or – Private Hungary 3

1988

Dusi & Jenő – Private Hungary 2
The Bartos Family – Private Hungary 1

1987

Episodes from the Life of Professor F.M. – Ferenc Mérei portrait film

1986

The Portrait of Leopold Szondi

1985

Spinoza Rückwertz
Golden Age – a performance piece with Iron Age
Iron Age – performance piece with Golden Age

1978

I See That I Look

Works in Public Collections

EYE Filmmuseum, Amsterdam

MACBA / Loop Barcelona, Spain
Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest, Hungary
Ludwig Museum LUMU, Budapest, Hungary
Samlung Oppenheim, Bonn, Germany
Pacific Film Archives, Berkeley, CA
MOMA, Film and Video collection, New York, NY
Nederland Filmmuseum, Amsterdam, Holland
Centre Pompidou & Musé d’Art Moderne, Paris, France
Zentrum für Medien Kunst, ZKM collection, Karlsruhe, Germany
Haus der Dokumentarfilm collection, Stuttgart, Germany
Center National du Cinematographie, Paris, France
KIASMA Contemporary Art Museum, Helsinki, Finnland
Open Society Archive, CEU, Budapest, Hungary
C3 Media Art Center, Budapest, Hungary
The Getty Museum, Special Collection, Los Angeles, CA
USC Film School – Annenberg Center for Communications, Los Angeles, CA
Stanford University Library, Green Library, Stanford, CA
Moffitt Library UC Berkeley, CA
Harvard College Library, Cambridge, MA
New York University, Bobst Library NYU, NY
Australian Center for the Moving Image (ACMI) CINEMEDIA, Melbourne, Australia
Bobst Library New York University, NY
UIAH Helsinki University Art Department collection, Helsinki, Finnland
Yad Vashem, Visual Center, Jerusalem, Israel
Montreal Cinematheque, Permanent Collection, Montreal, Canada
Yale Film Study Center, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Museum of Fine Arts, 20th Century Collection, Budapest, Hungary
Kiscelli (Municipal) Museum, Budapest, Hungary

Scholarships

The Getty Research Institute, Scholar, visiting artist, The Getty, Los Angeles, 2000-2002

Fulbright Scholarship at NYU, NY 2007

Art fair participations 

2020

artgeneve, Geneva, Switzerland

2019

LOOP Barcelona, Spain

2018

LOOP Barcelona, Spain
Art Market Budapest

2017

Art Market Budapest
Art Brussels, Brussels, Belgium

2016

2016  LOOP Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain