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Biography – timeline

Magyarul |



1946 30th August, Born in Budapest.


Attends and finishes his secondary school studies at István I Grammar School, Budapest.


Studies philosophy and history at ELTE University. György Szabad (Professor of History) and János Zsilka (Professor of Linguistics) were his initial influences. His thesis: The Investigation into the meaning structures of film. The attribution of film making (1971, referent professors: János Kelemen, János Zsilka). Becomes a screen-writer and an assistant. Takes part in the following films: Three girls (a college examination film by Dezső Magyar), Schléger Ágnes (BBS, by György Pintér), Back to the city (BBS, 1968, by László Mihályfy;his friend the painter Ferenc Jánossy lives in the house in Pomáz where the film was shot), Agitators (BBS, 1969, by Dezső Magyar). Together with Árpád Ajtony, Péter Dobai and six other companions he publishes a proclamation entitled Towards a sociological film group! (1969). He works upon film-theory (see his analysis on Elegy by Zoltán Huszárik, Fotóművészet 1970). Writes fiction.


Becomes a member of the experimental film studio, Balázs Béla Studio (BBS). Makes his debut: The Third (experimental documentary film, black and white, 35 mm, 50’).


Student at the Academy of Theatre and Cinematography for film and stage directing. His tutor is Félix Máriássy. Makes examination films and TV plays: the firs year: Draft on Jealousy (short feature film, 1972, black and white, 16 mm, 20’), Jean Genet: The Maids (Highlights), black and white ampex); second year: Our Traditional Dope (1973, documentary film, black and white, 16 mm, 24’), Mészöly Miklós: Livestock Transport (an adaptation, black and white ampex); in the third year: After Jappe and Do Escobar Fought, How Did The World Come to Fight (1974, short feature film adapted from Thomas Mann’s short story, black and white, 16 mm, 40’), Csáth Géza: Father and Son (adaptation, black and white ampex). Directs for the stage: Károly Kisfaludy: The III People (Ódry Színpad, was not produced), Jean Genet: The Maids (Csili, 1973; starring Éva Ruttkai and Lili Monori). He makes Psychocosmoses (computer film, BBS, black and white, 35 mm, 13’03”).


His daughter Zita is born. His first TV film, Soldiers, an adaptation of J.M.R. Lenz’s play (TV drama, MTV, colour ampex, 90’) starring Udo Kier (They met in Mannheim). Begins to shoot his experimental film Cosmic Eye (“science fiction, non fiction, fiction”) but this is left unfinished. Writes a paper entitled The Directions of Young Hungarian Film (Valóság, 1977).


Second TV film, Chalk Circle, adapted from L. Hsing- Tao (Tv drama, MTV, colour ampex, 95’) wins the Hungarian TV Critics Prize. The film entitled Private History (document analysis, Híradó- és Dokumentumfilm Stúdió, 1978, black and white, 35 mm, 27’23”) co-produced with Péter Tímár wins the film critics prize at the 1979 Miskolc Film Festival and is projected in Oberhausen and Melbourne. Gives a lecture at the Edinburgh Film Festival entitled Total Expanded Cinema (The basic of “infinite image and reflection” had already been suggested at the 1973 Tihany Semiotic Symposium). He makes an advertising film: Latest Fashion (’78 Spring-Summer) (MAFILM Propagande Studio, colour, 35 mm, 14’).


January he begins shooting Psyche.


Narcissus and Psyche (feature film, Hunnia Studio, colour, 35 mm, Dolby Stereo, one part foreign version 140’; two part Hungarian version 210’; three part TV version 270’) an adaptation of Sándor Weöres’s Psyche, starring Patricia Adriani, György Cserhalmi, Udo Kier. Bódy convinces almost all of his friends and mentors to take part in it. He writes the script together with Vilmos Csaplár and Péter Dobai, the art director is Gábor Bachman, the musician is László Vidovszky. János Pilinszky, Ferenc Jánossy, Miklós Erdély, Tibor Hajas, Sándor Csutoros etc. appear in the film. Psyche wins prize in the 1981 Budapest Feature Film Festival, is shown in the same year in Cannes (Quinzaine des Réalisateurs), in Locarno (wins the Bronze Leopard), Figuera da Foz (CIDALC prize), in Sevilla, in Mannheim, in San Francisco. The three-part version is projected during West-Berlins “Internationales Forum des Jungen Films”. Lectures at Genoa’s experimental film festival on “New Aspects of Experimental Film”. Using his own initiative he starts, in Budapest, the first international video-magazine INFERMENTAL. Also founds the K* (experimental) section of MAFILM, which organizes in the following year a grand “hair-and make-up festival”. Makes a round trip in the USA with American Postcard, Four Bagatelles and Psychocosmoses (Seattle, Berkeley, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York). Marries the historian Veronika Baksa-Soós (Veruschka Bódy) in December. She lives in Düsseldorf and also works with Bódy later. Motion Studies 1880–1980 (Homage to Eadweard Muybridge) (experimental film study, Híradó- és Dokumentumfilm Stúdió, colour, 35 mm, 18’), which was presented with others in Oberhausen and Hamburg (1982).



His son Caspar-Maria Zoltán Leopárd (Jonathan) is born. Lectures at the Aesthetic Department of ELTE University and at KLTE Debrecen University on Film as a Language. He travels and shows his experimental films in West-Germany (Dortmund, Osnabrück, Hamburg, Hannover, Frankfurt/M. and West-Berlin). Directs Hamlet (co-producer János Szikora) in Kisfaludy Theatre, Győr. Starring: György Cserhalmi. The next year it is followed by a TV adaptation (MTV, colour, 173’).
1982 Scholarship-holder of the DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogram. As a result of his organising work the first issue of INFERMENTAL is dited by him. Lectures in the Metropole cinema in Hamburg at a showing of Hungarian Experimental Films (his own films are presented here: Four Bagatelles, Psychocosmoses, Private History, Motion Studies, Aldrin, American Postcard, Narcissus and Psyche). He makes two videos: Die Geschwister/Brothers and Sisters (video plan for a feature film, DAAD and his own production, colour, 27’) and Der Dämon in Berlin/The Demon in Berlin (an adaptation of Lermontov’s poem entitled The Demon, video, super8, DAAD and private production, colour, 28’). The latter one was selected for The Second Link international collection which was shown from 1982 onwards in Banff (Canada), New York (Museum of Modern Art), Los Angeles (Long Beach Museum), Amsterdam (Stedelijk Museum) and in 1984 in Japan, where the Japanese version of the catalogue is also published.



Assistant professor at the Film and Television Academy of West-Berlin (DFFB). The titles of his seminars: 1982: Die kreative Sprache der Kinematographie; 1983: Das schöne Licht; February 1985: „Special effects”; September/October 1985: Computergesteuerte Bild-und Tonkompositionen (out of the material of the latter his students compile a work entitled “Zeit-transgraphie” for the 1986 Berlin Film Festival).


He writes a paper: Die kreative Sprache der Kinematographie. The West-Berlin DAAD Gallery makes a retrospective exhibition of his works (drawings, photos, videos), simultaneously his films are shown in the Arsenal. A comprehensive and significant catalogue is published. Makes two new videos: Die Geisel/The Hostage (videodrama, DAAD/private production, colour, 22’) and De Occulta Philosophia, “philo-clip” together with Egon Bunne and Volkmar Hein (DFFB, TU Berlin, private production, colour, 7’08”). Makes a videowork entitled Rittersrüstung/Armour as the co-author of Sophie von Plessen (colour, 40’). Third and last major feature is completed, The Dog’s Night Song (experimental feature film, Társulás Filmstúdió, colour, 35 mm, with details duplicated from video and blown up from Super 8, 147’). He himself plays the protagonist. His cameraman is the American Johanna Heer. The film is presented in 1984 in the Montreal and Taormina Festivals, and in 1986 in West-Berlin ZDF TV. He directs the publishing of INFERMENTAL III (BBS Budapest).

He writes a script entitled Angel of Fire as an adaptation from a novel by Valery Brusov. As a scholarship holder at the Canadian Western Front and the Video Inn Satellit Video Exchange he works in Vancouver. Shoots here the second part of which was The Demon in Berlin. Its two versions are completed: Either/or in Chinatown (Video Inn, Vancouver), Tag (Traum, Cologne, 1985, colour video, 37’) and a shorter one: Theory of Cosmetics (1985, for INFERMENTAL Extra, Nordrhein Westphalen, colour video, 12’). Receives an invite for his videos to be shown at the First Film and Video Biennale in Rio de Janeiro.

Works on the production timetable of New Video Genres and on the preparation of Bauhaus film. In West-Berlin Film Festival the completed details of The Anthology of Seduction are presented. Either/or is presented in Salsomaggiore Festival. Dancing Eurynome is completed (“mythoclip”, Tag/Traum, Cologne, colour video, 3’), (Its world premiere is at the First Tokyo Video Biennale) and Waltz, an adaptation of a poem by Novalis (“Lyric-clip”, a production of Köln WDR and V. Bódy, colour video, 3’) which is presented in WDR TV in the Lyrics programme (24 October). At Kossuth Klub, Budapest E.M.A.N. (European Media Art Network) is presented. Eight cities are taking part: Amsterdam, London, Brussels, Barcelona, Berlin, Rome, Lyon, Budapest. They simultaneously present each other’s video anthologies which last about one hour each. The programme by the Budapest K-VIDEO Group was compiled by Bódy. On the 10th of September he finishes his film/novel Psychotechnikum (Gulliver’s First Visit to Digitalia). In the last days of his life he works on New Video Genres and on a plan of his retrospective.


He dies on the 24th of October.



This year The Dog’s Night Song is presented in the Bern Kunstmuseum “ALLES und noch viel mehr. Das poetische ABC” programme, Either/or is presented in Iowa University, and in Kijkhuis Festival in The Hague, Eurynome in Ljubljana Video C.D., in Amsterdam in “Talking back to the Media” (together with De Occulta and Walzer) on Musik Video Festival in Munich, on First International Video Week in Geneva. De Occulta Philosophia is shown at the Frankfurt Videon, Theory of Cosmetics and Eurynome at the First Stockholm Video Festival. In December in West-Berlin ARSENAL gives Commemorative Retrospective.

Retrospectives of his work follow one another: in January at the East-Berlin Haus der Ungarischer Kultur (there were several showings in East-Germany previously), in Budapest in the Kosztolányi Művelődési Otthon, in February in West-Berlin Berlinale (he is awarded the FIPRESCI prize here), in April in Oberhausen in Köln, in June in Melbourne Film Festival, in July in the Sydney Video Festival, in September in the Köln Film Festival, and in Fotokina, in Worldwide Videofestival in The Hague, in October in Montreal. In Hungary the full version of Narcissus and Psyche is first shown in February and the Agitators is premiered. His videos are used in numerous programmes. The most important showing is that in the Goethe Institute “Videokunst Deutschland bis 1986” (Either/or), which is intended to be presented throughout the world. He wins the Second Marler Videopreis with Theory of Cosmetics (May 1986). In the first Viennese Videonale three of his “clips” (Walzer, De Occulta Philosophia, Eurynome) are selected among the best video works of the world. ORF, the Austrian TV also presented them. In April Axis video/book is published by the DuMont Verlag in Köln, editors: Veruschka and Gábor Bódy. It is a two-hour cassette anthology of international video art accompanied by an explanatory book. The DuMont also publishes Video in Kunst und Alltag. Vom kommerziellen zum kulturellen Videoclip, a book compiled by Vera and Gábor Bódy.

January–February the first memorial screening was held in the Ernst Museum, organised by the Műcsarnok/Kunsthalle Budapest. A comprehensive catalogue was published.


June–September Documenta 8, Kassel 1987 – Theory of Cosmetics, video 12’

April Pécs (H) National Theatre: stage adaptation of Gábor Bódy’s script after Valery Brusov’s novel, Angel of Fire. May–October EUROPA, EUROPA – Das Jahrhundert der Avantgarde in Mittel- und Osteuropa Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn 1994 Film-Video
1995 (Autumn)

As selected by Képárnyék, the most significant works of Bódy’s oeuvre were screened at the (BBS) Toldi Cinema, and on the same occasion, Gábor Bachman produced his installation – composed of picture tubes radiating uninterrupted black and white video works – entitled Bódy-sepulchre, at the Dorottya Gallery. VIPER, Luzern (CH): Internationales Film-und Videofestival Luzern: Gábor Bódy retrospective screenings



46. Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen (D): Gábor Bódy retrospective screenings


November, Berlin, Collegium Hungaricum (D): Gábor Bódy retrospective screenings Video Lisboa (P): Philo-Mytho-Lyric Clip




MAGYAR MAGIC, Bristol (UK): Gábor Bódy retrospective screenings

17 May

recontres video art plastique wharf Centre d’art Contemporain de basse Normandie (World Wide Video Festival) (F): Philo-Mytho-Lyric-Clip



V. FILMeX, Tokyo (J): Gábor Bódy retrospective screenings


Era Nowe Horyzonty, 5. Festival Filmowy-Cieszyn (PL): Gábor Bódy retrospective screenings



Hommage à Gábor Bódy, Ludwig Museum – Museum

of Contemporary Art