The exhibition is free of charge:
21 March 2023. – 30 April 2023.
Tuesday - Sunday 12:00 - 19:00
Closed on Mondays and public holidays
Curator: Gábor Kasza
Lajos Kozák, born on 7 March 1906 in Székesfehérvár, graduated from the Főreál School in Székesfehérvár and was already active in sports during his secondary school studies. After graduation, he applied to the Physical Education College, which was just starting up at the time, and graduated as a senior in 1928. As the student who graduated with the highest marks, he was appointed assistant teacher for one year, and then worked as a lecturer for sports organisations, as a coach and mainly as a teacher of physical education. At the time, like his contemporaries, he also took many pictures of Budapest's famous buildings, squares and statues. Lajos Kozák was a sportsman, but his modesty is shown by the fact that he did not compete for positions. He was not at the forefront of Hungarian public life in photography or the work of organisations, preferring to watch events from the back row. Lajos Kozák's legacy was purchased by the Hungarian Sports Museum from his widow in 1975, after his death, where much of the material remained unprocessed until 2011.
The discovery of Lajos Kozák's photographs also fits in with a series of stories in which the greatest treasures of the artists were only discovered after their deaths. The negatives of the hard-working but modest sports photographer, who worked as a physical education teacher, also lay in storage for decades.
Lajos Kozák probably first became interested in photography in the late 1920s, and after graduating from college he became seriously interested in fine art photography. He was well informed about the domestic and international trends of the time, and the influence of Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) is clearly visible in his pictures. Kozák's photographs are a kind of summation of progressive Hungarian photography of the time, yet they stand apart from his peers. Kozák's photographs have a more personal tone, his candid figures eschew the 'modishness' of the fashion of the time and his images display an existential depth and melancholy, but at the same time there is a sense of harmony in his photographs. Like his contemporaries, he was inspired by Budapest, and his favourite subjects included the cult places of bourgeois life, the quays of Pest and Buda, the Városliget, Gellért Hill and winter skiing on Normafa.
His work can be divided into two distinct groups: artist photographs taken between the two world wars and sports photographs spanning a lifetime. Kozák was a photographer while working as a civilian, so he spent most of his days on sport and was always active in photographing sporting events, producing photojournalistic reports for newspapers.
His artistic photographs were often published in the Képes Krónika and the National Newspaper, and several of his works have also appeared in the high quality magazine Fotószemle, as well as in the pages of the New Times and the Mirror. This suggests that Kozák may have been at the forefront of Hungarian photography at the time, but his genre pictures remained unknown for a long time.