About Sic with Péter Korniss

Photo: Silviu Ghetie, Sic, jud. Cluj, 2012

About Sic and traditions
Interview with Péter Korniss

by Sens Unic
August 2012

What is Sic village for you and for your career?
- I started taking photos of the traditional peasant culture at Sic in 1967. It was the most decisive experience for me in my life. -

I remember you were in Sic first time in 1967. How was your coming back in Sic after 45 years?
- I have been many times at Sic since my first visit. I would say I am very much at home in the village. This time was special because not just me but my photos also returned to the village. -

Even though Sic is so close to Gherla and Cluj, area of Sic looks so untouched by globalization. Do you have any idea why? Or how have these people changed after the globalization?
- Sic has always been a very traditional village. Its population is almost completely Hungarian and they are very aware of preserving their culture. The village had always been a bit isolated geographically too. Until the early eighties its culture was almost untouched despite the fact that its inhabitants – men and women – had been working in big cities, mainly in Cluj. After 1989 their lives have changed a lot but the people of the village have kept many of the old traditions, some have kept even the folk dresses. Even so I can see that life is definitely changing in this village too.

Is the tradition in Sic still alive or something frozen, preserved in time? Which of the traditions from Sic would you like to preserve?
- Weddings and funerals are still very traditional, and most of all the day of the village called Bertalan’s Day – on the 24th of August. I think these are very important traditions.

What memories do you have from Sic and from Dance house? Have you met the girls and boys whom you photographed in 1971? How were the evenings in those times in the Dance house? How will the Dance house be in the future?
- In 1967 my very first experience at Sic was the dance house and that’s the place where I took my first photos at Sic. I have wonderful memories of many evenings and of many people. The light, the colors, the music, the atmosphere were like becoming part of a fairy tale. Unfortunately since the early 90s there are no dance house only some occasions like weddings – where people entertain themselves with traditional music and dances. From this point of view, the role of Michel van Langeveld, the Dutchmen who settled at Sic, is very important. He had rebuilt the old dance house and he is organizing dance house programs for children. He is doing a lot for preserving the traditional music and dances in the village. -

Some people would call your photos from Sic and Ardeal photo-reportage or ethnographical study. I feel these photos are more like an eyewitness’ poem. How would you describe your photos from Ardeal?
- I don’t know how to call them. I am a documentary photographer and my photos of Sic are very personal and very subjective for me. -

The opening of House of Dance and the vernissage of your permanent photo exhibition in this house was a great event. There were a lot of your friends who enjoyed it very much. Everybody was full of joy and spirit. How was this event for you?
- It was like a dream. My photos returned back where they were taken 45 years ago. I think that’s a special gift of life for a photographer. It was a great feeling that many of my friends shared this happiness with me – you were among them!

What new-future plans do you have?
- I am sorry but I never talk about my next plan. I am superstitious! -

Péter Korniss
“În toiul dansului”
Sic, 1967

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