Iosif Király

Iosif Király’s photographs of a toppled monument to Vladimir Lenin in Romania are emblematic of the larger transformations in Eastern Europe—where the Bolshevik’s revolutionary leader becomes the target of iconoclasm. Statues of Lenin were erected all over the Socialist world after the Stalinist era and were thus themselves markers of historical change, as is their continuing dismantling in the present, especially since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014.

Király’s photos, appropriately, are part of his photographic series Reconstructions, which deals with the perception of time, the distortion of memory, and the dynamics of change, all factors influencing how individuals, objects, and urban spaces are perceived. The images show roughly the same place, photographed at different times.

The result is a spatially coherent montage, yet one marked by a temporal discontinuity. Each image offers multiple perspectives, in which every element acts like a computer bit, encoding and storing information. There are several recurring themes in this series: monuments, museums, ruins, aging, death. Together they form “constructed decisive moments” simulating the way we remember, alter, or forget experiences and events.

Iosif Király (1957, Timișoara, Romania) is a visual artist, architect, and educator. As an artist, he works both independently and within the subREAL group. His media of choice are photography, installation, performance, video, and drawing. During the 1980s, Király became active in the Mail Art network, an international underground movement established by Fluxus. His works were exhibited in various institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto; Musée d’art moderne, Saint-Étienne; Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest; Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart; and Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisabon. Király has participated in the Venice Biennial, the Berlin Biennial, and the São Paulo Biennial. In 2012 and 2013, the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest, and Salt Beyoğlu, Istanbul presented a large-scale retrospective of subREAL.

Lambda prints on aluminum