Satijn Panyigay (b. 1988, Nijmegen) is a half Dutch, half Hungarian photographer. Satijn Panyigay makes work that invites its viewer to slow down. In strict but poetic analog color images she’s suggesting presence in seemingly empty spaces. Her work, in absence of any direct human narratives, is surprisingly humane – she addresses the feelings of its observer.
Her series Twilight Zone (Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen) (2020) is part of a larger project in which Satijn Panyigay is capturing the character of the empty exhibition spaces of leading Dutch museums that display contemporary art by photographing between the shows. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (Rotterdam) has recently closed its doors for a long-term, large-scale renovation. Satijn Panyigay was allowed to take her time to capture the uncovered museum’s essence at a very special moment – a twilight zone between the museum’s closure and the start of the rebuilding, a state that no one sees. Read here more about Twilight Zone. She also recently photographed the museum’s brand new depot, just before the art collection was housed there. This resulted in the series Liminal Land (Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen) (2021).
Working with uninhabited grounds, Panyigay searches for presence in a seeming emptiness. The previous series (Living) room (2019) shows the living room of a young art collector and his girlfriend, destroyed by a fire. With the charcoal walls and the details on them, Panyigay constructed new spaces in her photography in which the eye easily loses orientation. It resonates with the feeling that the house owner had when he woke up in the middle of the night because of the heat and got fully disoriented by smoke. Panic and oppression, but also detached from life and reality. In this series, Panyigay reflects on loss, the transience of time and resilience after impactful events.
The melancholic photo series Behind Death’s Door (2011) shows the houses of recently deceased people of whom the relatives chose a specialized company to clear out their homes. Panyigay went along several times to investigate death more. The photos are hermetic, there is no contact with the outside world, which results in an oppressive atmosphere of loneliness and nostalgia. This also applies to her photo series, Melankólia (2016-ongoing). For this project, she went searching for her roots in the country her father originates from, Hungary.
Satijn Panyigay (1988) has participated in exhibitions at, amongst others, Fotomuseum Den Haag, Museum Tot Zover (Amsterdam), Villa Mondriaan (Winterswijk), and art fairs such as Art Rotterdam, Unseen Photo Fair, PAN Amsterdam and Amsterdam Art Fair. In 2019 she exhibited (Living) room and in 2020 Twilight Zone at Galerie Caroline O’Breen. Click here for the CV