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Arles 2019 : Máté Bartha – Louis Roederer Discovery Award


Since their creation, the Rencontres d’Arles have defended photography and all of its players. Galleries naturally find their place within the festival. As trailblazers, they are often the first to notice tomorrow’s talents. Out of the 200 received proposals, 10 projects were selected. Each one is the subject of an exhibition. During the opening week, a jury rewards an artist and its gallery through an acquisition of 15,000 euros, while the public selects its laureate through an acquisition of 5,000 euros. With support from the Louis Roederer Foundation and Polka.

Máté Bartha, born in 1987, is an artist based in Budapest who works in the fields of photography and documentary film. He obtained his master’s degrees at the Moholy-Nagy University of Arts and Design and at the University of Theater and Film Arts, both in Budapest. After receiving the National Scholarship of Hungary for photographers, he self-published his first book, entitled Common Nature (2014). With his most recent project, KONTAKT, he received the Capa Grand Prize Fellowship (2017) and the Robert Capa Grand Prize Hungary (2018).



The series explores summer camps organized by the Hungarian Home Defense School in which children voluntarily spend a week within the frame of strict military discipline. To tell their story from a personal level, Bartha spent one and a half years with them, facing more profound questions over time.The seemingly calm portraits, group portraits and images of nature unfold a set of contradictory notions in the context of adolescence. Bartha observes our attitude towards violence, weapons and war, and their place in our society, but he does not want to judge them, nor his subjects. Following a socially sensitive approach, he rather tries to understand the phenomena from within, using the images as a set of consciously arranged arguments. In spite of the subjects’ naturalness, the ambivalence of possible interpretations of each image creates an eerie atmosphere within the entire series, elevating the artist’s personal point of view to a universal level.


Máté Bartha : KONTAKT

from July 1 to September 22

ARLES 2019 with TOBE Gallery.

Exhibition curator: Flóra Mészáros, art historian.

Máté Bartha is representes by TOBE Gallery.

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