Group exhibition curated by Péter Bencze at longtermhandstand in Budapest.

F.I.R.E. - Flames In Readymade Entertainment
Artist: Ádám Ulbert, Ádám Varga, Andreas Fogarasi, Anna Hulačová, Anna Ruth, Áron Lőrincz, Botond Keresztesi, Ditta Sarfenstein, Dorottya Vékony, Gábor Pintér, Gideon Horváth, János Brückner, János Sugár, Jonathan Monk, Josep Maynou, Judit Reigl, Julie Béna, Kris Lemsalu, Maja Djordjevic, Nicolás Lamas, Orsolya Horváth, Pablo Helguera, Rebeka Rácz, Robotto - Ottó Szabó, Stach Szumski, Vlad Nanca, Yusuke Fukui, Zoë Paul, Zsófia Keresztes
July 12, 2023 - September 16, 2023
Curated by Peter Bencze
Longtermhandstand, Budapest


Fanfiction is a fascinating form of literature and self-expression for the projection of individual desires, where fantasy literally knows no bounds. The genre allows for virtually limitless combinations of readymade components, transgressing all boundaries between fiction and reality, universes, genres, High and Low Art. Instead of idealising the notion of a completely original, pure idea or creative concept, fanfiction inherently works with and within existing narratives, structures, jumbling up their elements as it pleases and in most cases (except for the Twilight fanfiction that Fifty Shades of Grey is based on) with no commercial gain in sight, but exclusively for the sake of enjoyment, fun and for indulging in one’s own fantasies. These can be channelled into any given framework with scenarios, ranging from a cute, domestic kitchen scene between one and a Marvel hero, or a steamy episode in a faraway galaxy with the real-life version of Pedro Pascal… or in this case, a smoking-hot gallery opening with Severus Snape. Enjoy!

You promised your friend you’d meet her at a gallery opening tonight; it’s the new summer exhibition at Longtermhandstand gallery. You’d rather be home and read your book - you’re more of the shy bookworm type - but your friend insisted that it was going to be the “opening of the season”. When you arrive, the space is already completely packed with hip people both young and old, flowing through the high-ceilinged rooms and in and out of the luscious garden. The exhibition is curated around the theme of fire in all its stages and conceptual interpretations (desire, tension, creativity, fun).

As your eyes wander around the space, your gaze suddenly meets a pair of deep brown, almost black orbs looking directly at you. They’re the darkest pair of eyes you’ve ever seen. You take a quick look back at the mysterious man - he’s by himself, leaning against the wall next to one of the artworks. He’s wearing a long, black robe, his shoulder-length black curls framing a pale, solemn and sculpture-like face. He doesn’t break eye contact. You feel the heat rising in your cheeks. You feel as if his eyes are staring directly into your soul - he seems too familiar, if you’ve seen him before, known him for a long time. You’re usually quite shy and never initiate, but you can feel some sort of blind courage (maybe it’s destiny?) taking over your physical functions, and your feet start carrying you towards the enigmatic stranger. A slight smile appears in the curve of his lips, as if he’s aware of the effect he’s having on you. You’re finally in front of him… what now?

“H…hi”, you say softly. Still smirking, he raises one of his eyebrows at you.
“Hello there. A fellow lover of contemporary art, I take it?”, his low voice and immaculate British accent make you shudder.
“Y…yes, I try to go to as many openings as I can… though I guess people say openings aren’t the best time to actually see the art and more for socialising, but I like to go to them alone and just get lost in the crowd and spend time looking at the works while people around me drink and chat… And this gallery always has shows with interesting both Hungarian and international artists … ahm”

You can feel yourself rambling nervously and bite your tongue. You look up at him shyly - he has an indecipherable expression on his face.

“Hm… very interesting. I’m quite the same. I find busy openings like this the ideal way to encounter art.. It’s rather… intimate don’t you think?”, something flashes in his eyes and his voice drops half an octave when he says the word ‘intimate’, immediately making your face turn a deeper shade of red - much to his enjoyment. “I’m very sorry how rude of me, I haven’t introduced myself and we’re already discussing intimacy - call me Sev.”

The way he says his name in a low, soft and almost slithering way sends shivers down your spine. A very fitting name to its owner.

“Pleased to meet you, I’m *reader’s name*. Do you come to this gallery a lot then?”
“Oh yes, I agree with you, I’ve been following the programme rather enthusiastically since it opened… I enjoy seeing art in Budapest, when I’m in town. I find the scene to be particularly vibrant here. You see, I’m originally from the UK but I… travel a lot… for work…”

For some reason you feel like he is telling you a secret - as if, much like you, he doesn't usually talk to strangers at all, let alone about his love of art. Something tells you he would rather not share more details about his life, but you’re too tempted -his irresistible mystery draws you in and you find yourself wanting to know more:

“What do you do for work?”

His thick, dark eyebrows furrow above his stormy gaze. He simply looks at you deeply for a moment which seems to last forever, making you forget about the busy opening happening around you. You can tell he’s trying to figure out if he can trust you. Finally, he speaks, in a hushed tone:

“I teach magic… at a Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. To young wizards.”

Your eyes widen and your heart starts pounding in your throat. It’s really HIM. It’s Severus Snape. The man you’ve dreamed of ever since you read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the one haunting all your teenage dreams. You knew he looked familiar. This can’t be real… but it has to be him, his face, his long, shiny hair, his robe… there was only one way to find out.

“You’re…”, in that moment you realise that in your shock, you grabbed onto Severus’ arm. You quickly move your hand away, embarrassed, but to your surprise, he reaches for your hand. His touch is ice cold, but lights a fire somewhere deep inside you.

“I’ve been waiting for you… all my life… I’ve never told any muggle about my true identity before, but I feel like I can share all my secrets with you. I know this all sounds crazy *reader’s name*, but let me prove it to you… “

You feel like you’re in a fever dream - all sounds, colours, people around you fade. You can’t believe the words that are coming out of his mouth but you want to believe him. He grabs you by the hand and starts pulling you out into the busy garden, where there’s a bonfire with some people gathered around. He suddenly pulls you to him, taking your face between his cold palms and half-enveloping you in his thick, black robe, looking straight into your eyes. Your legs start to shake and if he wasn’t holding you, you’d certainly collapse.

“Keep your eyes on the fire”, he whispers, his voice hypnotising. You feel a blind urge to obey him. You fixate your gaze on the flames behind him. You feel something hard, elegant and thin poking at your stomach - it’s his wand!! - and hear him softly say the words; Incendio. The moment the words leave his lips, the bonfire’s flames suddenly rise in one straight line high up into the sky, almost like a tall, solid sculpture, oscillating between all kinds of mesmerising shades from blues, purples, reds to green and almost black. Your jaw drops - you can’t take your eyes away. The people standing around the fire are equally both dumbfounded and hypnotised, glaring up at the magnificent beam made of colourful flame.

Severus gently turns your shocked face towards his again. He is so close you can

“There’s many other things I can set fire to tonight ...if you want, of course…”
His eyes are boring into yours, his long, pale fingers ever so slightly caressing your cheeks. Your whole body and soul already feel like they’re in flames.

How could you ever resist?

Text by Sonja Teszler


Photo: All images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Longtermhandstand, Budapest