László Beke: I’m glad if I…


Considering it from the point of view of psychology or the language of gestures, there is a limited number of means with which joy can be expressed. Of these laughing is the most common one, and it is the most frequently used one in Endre Tót’s photographs. However, it often happens that the source of his joy is a phenomenon that is emotionally neutral or even negative. In such cases Tót attaches a laughing self-portrait or a caption to the photograph, both forming a close syntactic unit with the photograph thus creating a conflict between these elements and his subject. The photograph is needed exactly for this tension to be created. Endre Tót’s joys are extremely ambivalent. He knows that laughter is not always the expression of joy, and also knows that there are feelings that cannot be expressed. He is glad about things that we usually refer to as “I’m glad to be alive”. It would take a Wittgenstein to analyse the content of this statement of mine, since it is obvious that it refers to my final desperation (but why didn’t I formulate it as such then?), while at the same time I truly am happy about life (but then why does this sentence have such a pessimistic tone to it?). Ultimately, what we want to express through joy is the inexpressible. Tót demonstrates the impossibility of expression, yet still does not give up on it.

(Fotóművészet [Photographic Art], 1976/3. p.39)

(English translation by Krisztina Sarkady-Hart)

1998 | Artpool | Endre Tót / texts / biography | search