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As a reaction to the bleak uniformity of suburban housing in post-war Hungary, many homeowners painted their houses in vibrant designs. Somewhere between the whimsy of Hungarian folk art and geometric constructivism being embraced by artists like Laszlo Maholy-Nagy, the decoration of the simple homes gave them an individualistic life.
Photographer Katharina Roters documented as many of these houses as she could find over a decade. The series is compiled in Hungarian Cubes: Subversive Ornaments In Socialism, published recently by Park Books. The bilingual tome in English and German includes 123 images, as well as texts exploring the significance of the phenomenon. Known as “Magyar Kocka,” or sometimes “Kadar Cube” referencing the country’s 32-year communist leader Janos Kadar, the typical cube home was a single story with an attic, and an almost entirely flat, colorless façade. The cubes started popping up in the 1920s as a cheap, quick housing solution, and monotonously replicated through almost every village.
Yes, some of the houses look "kitschy", but it's history, so I don't mind it. There was one I saw on another website that had an angel painted between two windows on a beige looking home, just divine for me. I would so want to live in one of these homes. I love history and knowing the history behind the homes, I would like them even more.
originally posted by: Blastoff
Wow, great memories. I was in Nyiregyhaza for two months in 1993. I do not recall this detailed artwork on homes at the time, but I did see many houses painted in bright colors for the same reason. The old dull gray shades were losing ground fast. Most people were very happy for the new age they were entering. People were very nice and smiling a lot. I'll never forget that.