Bence Bakonyi’s search for ‘home’ in China

Segue series © Bence Bakonyi


When Bence Bakonyi entered an artist residency program in China for a year, he found himself in a country completely unknown, and unable to communicate with the local population. Without these basic tools of navigation, he explored this new landscape with his camera, refraining from photographing people. Starting in the countryside, he slowly found himself drawn into the large Chinese metropolises. Diverting from his usual conceptual style, his series Segue shows his journey through this landscape, the photographs devoid of the human bustle that we often-associate China with.

“Throughout my one year stay in China, I tried to find my home in a world completely unknown to me. And because home is where one can find himself, the photographs can also be seen as self-portraits projected onto China. Without assistance and not being able to speak Chinese, it was hard for me to communicate with people. Therefore, I refrained from picturing humans and I focused on their environment instead. In the first part of my journey I had been wandering through the countryside, trying to avoid the metropolitan areas, but with time, I found myself in ever larger cities. In my journey’s second part, it was increasingly challenging to avoid the portrayal of humans. The series follows the development of my voyage, as I gradually approached, starting from rural existence, the man-made world.”

Bence Bakonyi

© Bence Bakonyi

Upon returning to Hungary, he embarked on his most recent work, Point, photographing one of the most common appliances, yet with such a distinct identity. Creating a typography of plug sockets internationally, it is a humorous take on cultural varieties.

See the project here.


Bence Bakonyi.

The photographic works of Bence Bakonyi represent the symbols of freedom, airiness and transubstantiation. Below their contemporary and young aesthetics, they provide us with deeper layers of interpretations. Body and mind – these qualities are entirely intertwined in the unique pictoriality he creates: a human blends into the landscape, the body extends, or we see a deep black mark on the bright white cliff that appears as a gate which attracts its visual pair on the picture: a human figure. The consequently emerging drama dissolves either in bright spaces or in the soothing aesthetics created by the color lines – making his works easily accessible. The generous spaces of his photographs and their capacity to connect reality and fantasy turn us away from the problems of everyday life and direct our thoughts toward the much more universal and dignified questions of human existence. – Matyas Misetics.