About the Book
Mother Michael Goes To Heaven
Texts by Lilla Szász (English)
Design by Lilla Szász
2010, Hardcover, image wrap
18x18 cm, 98 pages
31 colour plates
Published by: Lilla Szász
Lilla Szász, 1977
Lives and works in Budapest
In Mother Michael Goes To Heaven Lilla Szász’s initial motivation was to document one family’s struggle, living with prostitution, poverty and unrequited love.
She met Michael, Monica and Alexander while photographing prostitutes in the Józsefváros neighbourhood of Budapest. They were the only with whom she became friends; over time very close friends. She photographed them for approximately 3 years, from the time they moved to the flat in the 9th district of Budapest, on Kálvária Square. The flat where they were living was very important to this series. They received their clients and lived their lives here; the two boys (Alexander and Michael) met in this flat, and it is the place where Michael committed suicide on 24 February, 2010.
Michael’s death was not because of or linked to prostitution. He loved Alexander. He loved him and wished to live happily with him. Unfortunately Alexander – the boy, who lived a majority of his life in an orphanage and as a gay prostitute – has never been capable of love, never knew intimacy.
The life of Monica and her family is unusual but the problem that finally led to Michael’s death is. The question she has asked after his death is: “could it happen to anybody?” And she realised that similar situations were and have been in her private and in her friends’ lives as well.
LILLA SZÁSZ (1977) EDUCATION 1995-2000: MA - Art history, Russian language and literature; University of ELTE, Budapest SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2008: “Fragments of desire” – Gallery Liget, Budapest 2005: “Golden Age” – Gallery Liget, Budapest 2003: “Portraits at a fair” –Goethe Institute, Budapest GROUP EXHIBITIONS (selected) 2011: "Laboratory East" exhibition at V8 Gallery in Cologne 2011: Contemporary Photography from Hungary, Berlin 2010: Photonic Moments, Slovenia, Ljubljana 2010: LIVE SYNC. Contemporary Photography from Hungary, Shanghai World Expo 2010: Laboratory East, Swiss Photo Award 2010: Campus PHE Edicion de Libros, Complejo El Aguila, PHE Madrid 2009: Busted, Powerhouse Arena, New York GRANTS + AWARDS (selected) 2011: Hungarian Eötvös Fellowship, New York, ICP 2010: Hungarian Eötvös Fellowship, New York, ICP COLLECTIONS (selected) Noorderlicht: Pandora’s Box Mai Manó House, Budapest Contemporary Hungarian Photography, Pécs Swiss photography foundation