Peter Horvath is a photo-based, video, sound and new media artist. Embracing digital technologies at the birth of the Web, he created audio/video narratives through selective editing of film footage and the use of his early collages. His new work similarly focuses on deconstructing and recontextualizing imagery through collage, drawing from his archive of mid-20th Century material. He uses juxtaposition and scale combined with saturated colour to produce surreal, hypnogogic and sometimes humorous re-workings.
Peter Horvath has received numerous grants from The Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council for his New Media work. His work is included in permanent collections internationally, including a new addition in 2016 to the Whitney Museum of American Art. He is the recipient of commissions from Rhizome.org at The New Museum, NYC (2005) and Turbulence.org New Radio and Performing Arts, Boston (2004). He has exhibited in museums and galleries globally, including the Whitney Museum Of American Art‘s Artport (NYC), Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo (Mexico City), the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (Québec City, Canada) and FILE Electronic Language International Festival (Sao Paulo, Brazil).
After spending my formative years as a stills photographer, I happened across the work of John Heartfield, Hannah Höch and the 1920's Dadaists. Although I come from a lineage of photographers, and grew up camera in hand since age 6, I had never seen photography used in this way. These works inspired me to expand the narrative direction of my own photo-based work, through the use of collage.
As a child of the 1960's and 70's, I am drawn to the naive optimism of advertisements from mass media of this era. Combining fragments of these ads with other imagery from my archive of mid-century material, I build pictures by deconstructing the originals, cutting and pasting elements out of their intended frame of reference. While my imagery is sourced from material that was originally conceived to impact influence, it is collaged with the intent of removing context and reason. Juxtaposition and scale combine with saturated colour to produce surreal, hypnogogic and sometimes humorous re-workings.
Coinciding with material from this more recent age, I also mine popular culture references from the 1940's. These earlier sources speak to me of my relationship with my late father, and his stories of escape from persecution in Hungary at that time. Optimistic narratives informed by childhood memories of, for instance, America’s global potency, are represented in visual interventions. I view the current decay of the American Century’s hegemony through this nostalgic lens.