Steve Hellier’s grandmaternal family were Hungarian jews. The work for his recent contributions to “Art encounters at the Library” exhibition was forged out of his immigrant heritage. When his grandmother died he was handed a bag containing postcards, each image cut with an audio recording.
Hellier was fascinated with their artifice, the juxtapositions of landmarks, scenes of young stylish Hungarians taken in the late 50’s and 60’s and the Hungarian jazz, classical and folk music that rose in mono from their surface.
His journey with the cards led him back to modern Hungary in a lived and material contemplation of the ways in which national identities get honed and embedded in the popular imagination. The finished objects manipulate both sound and image to create newly ‘haunted objects’ integrating contemporary field recordings from the actual sites of each card, mixed with the residual blown-out kitsch of the originals.
In this way he releases their darker, more troubling underside.