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Péter Forgács

Installing My Own Death

Ani Molnár Gallery, Budapest

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Péter Forgács
Installing My Own Death
29 min 52 s
Format & Technical

Four channel installation, loop, HD video, colour, sound
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

  • Music: Barnabás Dukay, Lászlo Melis, Mihály Víg
  • Voice: Peter Meikle Moor
  • Text: Péter Nádas
  • Produced By: For-Creation and Matriz Film coproduction 2007
  • Sound mix: Tamás Zányi
  • Photography: András Nagy, Péter Forgács

The video installation is a recomposition of the award-winning film entitled Own Death directed and co-produced - with Matrix Film - by Péter Forgács in 2008. The film applies Péter Nádas’s novel My Own Death, "I Looked into its filmy eyes inquisitively and saw it was the body's fear, not mine, not the soul's, and so it was fear of death. I realized I could distinguish between my inner self and my physical body...An ice-cold surface covered my inner heat." In this story a man relates his inner-most thoughts and reflections as he suffers a heart attack on the on the street and is then brought back to life after three and a half minutes. ... My Own Death contrasts perceptions of the here and now with the hereafter, and its complex composition alludes to mortal time and passage. Articulating what happens would therefore mean that in the narrative it will exist only as its own absence.

The installation presents Forgács and Nádas’s previous work, the highly praised film entitled Own Death in a unique way adding more layers and depth to the artwork and emphasizing an underlying concept of the novel which plays a crucial role in the interpretation and can ideally be conveyed through a visual art installation. The film pictures the emotional and mental processes which the author went through when experiencing clinical death of a heart attack and being brought back to life. Own Death is based on the book with the same title by the Nobel Prize nominee Péter Nádas. Péter Forgács and Péter Nádas’s collaboration has been awarded multiple times. The installation is an orchestration of photos, slow-motion and standstills of the videos. Narration and pulsing music build up the soundtrack, which is played in slow motion. The pacing of the film is of high importance, as it determines the rhythm of the narration as well as how the images follow each other. Some of the photos are taken by Péter Nádas, who besides his success in literature is also an internationally recognized photographer. On entering the room the visitor can see four screens showing four different parts of the film. In addition to the visual effect of four videos being played simultaneously there is a muffled mixture of sounds. However, the installation can not only be perceived this way, simultaneously, but the videos can also be watched consecutively. The viewer can see the whole film following a route in the room and watching the four videos after each other, starting with the one on the left and proceeding towards the last on the right. This composition of the installation has been successfully used at several shows of Péter Forgács such as the ones entitled ‘Letters to Afar’, ‘Looming Fire’ or ‘The Danube Exodus’. There are speakers as well as headphones installed in the room. Two videos (the first and the last) are coupled with speakers, while the two in the middle can be listened to through headphones. Every visitor can enjoy the atmosphere of the mixed visual and audio experience and they can also view the artwork closely and carefully.


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