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Tamas Dezsö / Hypothesis: Everything is Leaf
UGM Studio, Trg Leona Štuklja 2
27. August – 9. October 2021
opening: Friday, 27. August, 19.00

curator: István Virágvölgyi

Tamas Dezsö investigates our self-identity and its continuation. What is the mysterious and inexplicable link which connects our personalities throughout life?

We are in constant change physically: every single molecule of the human body is replaced by new ones continuously. We are in constant change intellectually: our way of thinking is changing throughout our lifespan. If we were able to place our ten and fifty-year-old self next to each other there would be more differences than similarities between the two. Where lies our identity then, how can we all along call ourselves the same in spite of all these changes? It is essential for humankind to find aswers to these questions if we are to create superintelligent artifical agents.

Dezsö finds a metaphor for people in plants that are made-up of the same molecules and structures as we are. This abstract parallel, together with the well composed, high quality and extremely detailed heterogeneous images that form a Wunderkammer of sorts, help the investigation to be satisfying and thorough. A forest is constantly changing and undergoing millions of transformations – the leaves change, trees that make up the forest only live up to 100-150 years –; however, despite that, even over a thousand years, we speak about the same forest provided it remains in the same spot. How can we speak about the same forest when all its molecules and cells have been replaced many times?

The series approaches microscopic proximity having started off from a position of a greater distance. Microscopic wood segments present the change of the forest in the smallest structures – still carrying the features of a tree. Every plant has its own identity and the species of a plant can be identified even by one of its tiny parts. Yet no two plants are alike, even if they are of the same species. In relation to the climate crisis it has become imperative that we handle plants in accordance with their significance, and make serious efforts in order to understand the issues of fragile vegetal existence besides human identity.

Tamas Dezsö was born in 1978, and is based in Budapest, Hungary. His work has been exhibited worldwide and has been published in TIME, The New York Times, National Geographic, Harper’s, GEO, Le Monde Magazine, The Sunday Times, PDN, The British Journal of Photography among others. He is represented by the Robert Koch Gallery (USA) and The Photographers’ Gallery (UK).

graphic design: Matej Koren
translation and proof reading: Ksenija Vidic, Ruth Hrelja, Blaž Božič
photo printing: Pigmenta Art Print Lab Budapest, Artproof Tallinn
mounting and framing: Artproof Tallinn
art shipment: Hungarian Cultural Institute Ljubljana
special thanks: Eszter Szablyár, Péter Peti, Richard Courtiour

The exhibition was created in cooperation of Robert Capa Contemporary Center (Budapest), the Hungarian Cultural Institute (Ljubljana) and UGM (Maribor).