Gabor Szilasi

Hungary 1928


Gabor Szilasi
Gabor Szilasi
March 16, 2016

Photographic career of Gabor Szilasi began in his hometown Budapest. Starting small, taking photographs of his friends, he soon created a specific style where he shot various types of photographs – from candid photography to portraits which were often unusual and creative. In 1959, he moved to Montreal where he constantly walked the city streets, observed its people and the new culture which was at that time different than his own. Unlike Budapest, Montreal had much more to offer and was more diverse. For Szilasi, this was a great opportunity and with great intrigue he soon created a large number of photographs, all dedicated to showing the surrounding in which Szilasi found himself at the moment.

Szilasi found endless inspiration for his work in Montreal’s diversity

Gabor Szilasi - Montreal Center - 1961 Photo Credits
Gabor Szilasi – Montreal Center – 1961 Photo Credits

Urban Montreal and Rural Quebec

Montreal’s diversity helped Szilasi to grow as a photographer. Unexpected situations which were an everyday occurrence in the city, taught Szilasi how to adapt and how to take the most out of every shot with his camera. People weren’t the only inspiration for his work; architecture that enabled various views of the city gave Szilasi an almost infinitive source of inspiration.

After urban Montreal, he moved to Quebec, which gave him a new rural surrounding. Taking photographs of small communities and the town itself, they were different from the photographs taken in Montreal. Contrary to urban Montreal, Quebec had a more intimate feeling that can easily be seen on the photographs from that era. Similar as before, Szilasi took photographs of everything he possibly could. Because of that, his Quebec work consists of environmental portraits, architectural and domestic photographs, landscapes, etc. These photographs proved to be a great record of the transitional time in Quebec’s culture.

Contrary to urban Montreal, Quebec had a more intimate feeling

Gabor Szilasi - People of Quebec - 1971(Detail) Photo credits
Gabor Szilasi – People of Quebec – 1971(Detail) Photo credits

Unusual Portraits

Although Szilasi’s work is diverse, because of his socialization with different people, portraits remained his favorite photography type. Although he took them in Hungary and in Quebec, his work from Montreal era stayed his best portrait work. Because of the high diversity, he was able to meet all kind of people and take photographs of them. There are few distinctive features to this part of his work. First, these photographs were rarely arranged or a part of a specific project. Their creation was natural and in a way autobiographical. Through them, the viewer can see with what kind of people Szilasi socialized, what were his interests and so on. The second feature is the environment. All of the portraits were taken at a place of importance to the model. Through this environmental approach, Szilasi’s portraits show subject’s habits and their way of life. Besides portraits of family and friend, he often took portraits of other artists and famous people.

Through the environmental approach, Szilasi’s portraits show subject’s habits and their way of life

Gabor Szilasi - Raoul Duguay en période d'écriture - 1969 Photo Credits
Gabor Szilasi – Raoul Duguay en période d’écriture – 1969 Photo Credits

People and Their Environment

By going through his career, person can easily see what Szilasi’s main interest is. People and their environment were and still are the core of his work. This core constantly changes because of the dynamicity that reshapes the environment in which people live. This change is another aspect that gives his work a great value. By taking photographs of people, he created a visual presentation of the changes that appear. Similar as human’s appearance changes over time, the same happens to the environment as well – no matter if it’s urban or rural. And although people are the protagonists of Szilasi’s work, the background of the photographs tell an equally interesting story.

He is represented by The Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto.

Gabor Szilasi lives and works in Montreal, Canada.

Featured image: Gabor Szilasi photo credits:
All images used for illustrative purposes only

YearName of the ExibitionGallery/MusemSolo/Group
2015The CCA in PhotographsThe Canadian Centre for ArchitecureGroup
2015Montreal 20th AnniversaryStephen Bulger GalleryGroup
2013The Eloquence of the EverydayRyerson Image CentreSolo
2012Gabor Szilasi: PortraitsArt 45Solo
20121955: A Group ShowStephen Bulger GalleryGroup
2011Family TiesThe Stewart Hall Art GalleryGroup
2010Within Which All Things Exist and MoveArt 45Group
2009The Eloquence of the EverydayMusee d'art de JolietteSolo
2008FamilleGalerie McLureSolo
2008Les indiscretions d'un photographeMusee Marius-BarbeauSolo
2007Le sentier du bonheuropen-air exhibition on Mont-RoyalGroup
2007 Les Productions Viragesopen-air exhibition McGill College AvenueGroup
2007Rhythms urbainstraveling exibition organized by Vox GalleryGroup
2006Reflections Hungary-CanadaStewar Hall Art GallerySolo
2005Noir et blanc sur les Impatients / prise 2Galerie Les ImpatientsSolo
2005Faking Death: Canadian Art Photography and the Canadian ImaginationJack Shainman Gallery New YorkGroup
2003Gabor Szilasi:Photographs 1954-1996Centre of Photography, BudapestSolo
2003Gabor SzilasiHungarian House of PhotographySolo
2002Cerles de vieMusee de Mont-Saint-HilaireGroup
1999Return to BudapestCote Saint-Luc Public LibrarySolo
1999Monet'sGardenMontreal Museum of Fine ArtsSolo
1999Gabor Szilazi: Photographs 1954-1996Encontros de ImagemSolo
1999Gabor Szilazi: Photographs 1954-1996Canadian Museum of Contemporary PhotographySolo
1999Exchanging Views: Quebec 1939-1970Canadian Museum of Contemporary PhotographyGroup
1999Declic: Art et societe, le Quebec des annees 60 et 70Musee d'art contemporain de MontrealGroup
1998Kaleidoscope: An exhibition by Québec Members of the Royal Canadian Academy of ArtsGalerie du Palais MontcalmGroup
1998Gabor Szilasi: PhotographsStephne Bulger gallerySolo
1997Gabor Szilasi: Photographs 1954-1996, a retrospective exhibitionMontreal Museum of Fine ArtsSolo
1996Power and Planning: Industrial Towns in Quebec, 1890-1950Canadian Centre for ArchitectureSolo
1995Light YearFloating GalleryGroup
1995 Krtars Magyar fotographia '95Pecs Art GallerySolo
1995Acte photographique, art contemporainMaison de la culture FrontenacGroup
1994Westmount PhotographsMcClure Gallery of the Visual Arts centreGroup
1994Encontros da imagemAssociao Cultural de Fotografia e Cinema de BragaGroup
1993Une Tradition Documentaire? Quelle Documentaire?Maison de la culture Notre Dame de GraceGroup
1993De L'autre cote d'un pontGalerie OccurrenceGroup
1992La Collection: tableau inauguralMusee d'art ContemporainGroup
1992En vingtieme lieu: exposition retrospective - volet IGalerie OpticaGroup
1991Paysage / PaysagesGalerie OccurrenceGroup
1991Building and Gardens VCanadian Centre for ArchitectureGroup
1990WorksitesConcordia Art GalleryGroup
1990Public Exposures: One DecateToronto Photographers WorkshopGroup
1990Propos d'art contemporain - Figures d'accumulationMusée n d’art contemporain, MontréalGroup
1990Gabor Szilasi: Forografie kanadyjskie 1970-1990Cracow Academy of Fine ArtsSolo
1989Une Ville en héritage : Mémoire photographiqueMaison de la culture Marie UguayGroup
1989Les rencontres Internationales de la photographie de LavalMaison des Arts de LavalGroup
1989La Hongrie, carnet de voyageCentre Georges Pomdidou, ParisSolo
19895 Photographes CanadiensBudapest, HungaryGroup
1988Vivre lngtempsMusee de la civilisation, QuebecGroup
1988Sejour en ItalieGalerie Vu, QuebecSolo
1988Sehour en ItalieArt 45, MontrealSolo
1988Retourfestival de photo f-88, ShawiniganGroup
1987Fabor Szilasi: fotographieIl Centro Culturale Canadese in RomaSolo
1986The Colour Photographs of Gabor Szilasi: Selected Works from 1977-1985Image Works, TorontoSolo
1986Photographies inedites: Moyra Davey, David Miller, Gabor SzilasiLe Studio Blanc, MontrealGroup
1985PortraitsArticule, MontrealGroup
1985CharlevoixMusee Laure Conan, La MalbaieSolo
1984Jazz PhotosGalerie Zsolt Szigetvari, MontrealGroup
1984Fragments: Photographie actuelle au QuebecPort of Quebec, organized by Vu Cante d'animationgroup
1984Enseignes LumineusesArt 45, MontrealSolo
1983Photographie actuelle au QuebecThe Saidye Bronfman Centre, MontrealGroup
1982Portraits d'artistesGalerie Graff, MontrealGRoup
1982Panoramas de MontrealArt 45, MontrealSolo
1982Fotographie de Gabor Szilasi, Biblioteca Civica CommunaleSerravalle Scrivia, ItalySolo
1982Family Business in WestmountWestmount Square, MontrealGroup
1982Esthetiques actuelles de la photographie au Quebec3e rencontres internationales de la photographie, Arles, FranceGroup
1982Academic ImagesThe Canadian Centre of n Photography and Film, TorontoGroup
1981Portraits/InteriorsArt Gallery of Cobourg, OntarioSolo
1981Points de vue: Photographies d'ceuvres arcitecturalesLe Musée des Beaux-arts de MontréalGroup
1981Gabor Szilasi, Maritime Photographic WorkshopsFredericton, New Brunswick; Services des Loisirs, n Rimouski, QuébecSolo
1980Trois photographs: Robert Bourdeau, Serge Clément, Gabor SzilasiCentre Culturel de L’Université de SherbrookeGroup
1980Photographies en couleurYajima/Galerie, MontrealGroup
1980Images de Quebec, a National Film Board traveling showUniversite de SherbrookeGroup
1980Gabor Szilasi: photographies recentesToronto Photograper's Co-opSolo
1980Gabor Szilasi: photographies recentesThe Photographers Gallery, SaskatoonSolo
1980Gabor Szilasi: photographies recentesMusee d'art contemporain, MontrealSolo
1980Aspects de la photographie quebecoise contemporaineMusee d'art contemporain, MontrealGroup
1980A Photographic Project: Alberta 1980The Edmonton Art GalleryGroup
1979Images du Quebeca National Film Board traveling exhibition show at the Canadian Images Group
1979Canadian PerspectivesTyerson Polytechnical Institute, TorontoGroup
1978SzilasiYajima/Gallerie, MontrealSolo
1978Tusen och en bildFotografiska Museet, StockholmGroup
1978Tendances actuelles au Quebec: la photographieMusee d'art contemporain, MontrealGroup
1978Sweet Immortality: a selection of photographic portraitsThe Edmonton Art Gallery, AlbertaGroup
1978Photographies contemporainesMusée du Québec traveling show, Musée du QuébecGroup
1978La FeteLes Rencontres d'Aries, France Group
1977Images du Quebecnational Film Board, OttawaSolo
1977Focal Point, an Exhibition of PhotographyThe Art gallery of TorontoGroup
1974La BeauceMcCord Museum, MontrealSolo
1973The Gallery, an exhibition of Canadian photography Government Conference Centre, OttawaGroup
1973Les petits commercantsCooprix, MontrealGroup
1973Le groupe d'action photographiqueMusee d'art contemporain, MontrealGroup
1973CharlevoixGallery of photography, VancouverSolo
1972CharlevoixNational Film Board, OttawaSolo
1972CharlevoixLondon Public Library, LondonSolo
1971CharlevoixBaldwin Steet Gallery of Photography, TorontoSolo
1971CharlevoixChicago Institute of DesignSolo
1970Image 6National Film Board, OttawaGroup
1970CharlevoixStudio 23, MontrealSolo