In Color TV, Queen Beds, Exotik Dreams Hanna Rédling faces her cultural heritage and individual self-definition by capturing Hungarian motels built during her country’s regime change. Circa 1989, Hungary underwent economic, political, and social upheaval resulting in a liminal state. The nation experienced a sense of euphoria combined with anxiety and fear of the unknown, and collective escapism materialized as exotic dreams of Western life: wealth, trends, and the opportunities that lie ahead.
Rédling’s photographs preserve the genuine atmosphere of Hungary’s transformation from a socialist to a democratic state. In 2019, Rédling was overcome with a sense of uncertainty about her future – as if stuck between two doors not knowing how to exit – leading her to revisit the motels series which she began documenting in 2018. Juxtaposing history and the interiors’ cinematic ‘non-place’ nature resonated with Rédling’s personal uprootedness; the hope and fear within her reflected in her photography. The motels’ tacky, Eastern-European look reminded Rédling of her roots, giving rise to observations of childhood, traditions, and visual culture, along with collective melancholy, unbroken ingenuity, and bitter humor. The mental space that surfaces in each of Rédling’s works is instrumental in creating a clearer understanding of the times we live in. Her project is about relearning, redefining and accepting where we, as people, come from, and where we are headed.
In collaboration with the Embassy of Hungary and the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center