Adél Koleszár: 2017 Women In Photography (WIPNYC) Grant Short-List


Wounds of Violence
The series deals with geographical sites of Mexico where illegal, contemporary mass graves have been discovered, contrasting the local landscape that has been violated by these graves with the mental, physical consequences that these extremes has on women in the area. The photos portray women who have been subjected to these conditions, so searching for relief in alternative religions, drugs or the abuse have left visible marks on their bodies.                                                                                                              

The focus of my work in the past years has been human violence and its impact on society and individuals. I have been working and living in Mexico in the past years with the aim of completing my visual research on this subject. Although I present the places where horrible events have occurred, my aim is to experiment with a more metaphorical way of visualizing the level of cruelty that has occurred at these sites. To create an ominous atmosphere, a sense of conflict, to refer to the events, to leave space for the viewers to be able to submerge into that distant reality where extreme violence has become a daily norm. I utilized different image-making processes including filters to create a monochromatic depiction of the landscapes and by using the color of red, the symbol of blood and tension.

The fact that I am a woman, living and working in a country dominated by institutions of male power, has made me even more sensitive towards the fate of the local women who are exposed not only to institutional violence of the local government, narcos and criminals, but also gender violence and repression from their own families and lovers. Just as the sites of mass graves in Mexico have suffered a significant violation of the physical geography, so too the bodies of the women in these areas have suffered physical and mental abuse as well.

Adél Koleszár (1986) is originally from Hungary, where she graduated with a Masters in Fine Art Photography at the Moholy-Nagy University of Fine and Applied Arts, after receiving a BA degree in Social Sciences in Budapest. In the past three years, she has been working and living in Mexico, where she works with the aim of completing her visual research on human violence and repression. In 2013  she arrived to the country thanks to a Mexican Governmental Artist Residency Program, in 2014 her project on contemporary religions in Mexico was selected as finalist by Magnum Photos & Ideastap Photography Award, in 2015 she was the winner of the Budapest Portfolio Prize, in 2016-17 receiver of the Pécsi József Scholarship which supports the work of young Hungarian photographers.  Between march and may of 2016 she taught locals in several cities along the US/Mexican border as part of a self initiated, open and free to everyone workshop project, Vision del Norte, with the aim to teach the participants how to use the visual language of photography to express their thoughts about the reality they are living in, and share it with a wider public in a form of a book which compiled the vision of each participants. The same year she was the solo exhibitor of the Discovery Show section of the Fotofestiwal Lodz, and her book „New Routes of Faith” was shortlisted on the Unseen Photography Dummy Award. Her work was exhibited and published widely in her country and internationally, amongst in Berlin, Mexico City, New York, Arles, Vienna, and featured on Foam Spotlight, Vice Mexico, Fotografia Magazine, Der Grief. Currently she keeps working on new projects, as well as continous the investigation on the alternative religious forms in Mexico.