This week we were saddened to receive news that celebrated Hungarian production designer and activist László Rajk Jr. passed away after a rapid serious illness endured with dignity.
László Rajk Jr. was an architect, production designer and human rights activist. Inspired by his father, Hungary's foreign minister, László Rajk (1909-1949), a victim of a Stalinist show-trial, Rajk Jr. became famous in his own right for anti-regime and human rights activities.
As an architect he was a member of the Hungarian avant-garde movement, and for his membership in the the underground political movement in Hungary he was blacklisted by the authorities and not allowed to work under his own name for 10 years. In 1981 he co-founded an independent, underground publishing house, and ran an illegal bookstore from his apartment called "Samizdat Boutique". After the free elections in 1990, as founding member of the liberal party (SZDSZ), he served six years in Parliament.
László Rajk's artistic portfolio is full with striking and unconventional built architectural projects and more than 100 stage design and film sets as production designer and art director. He was the production designer of the Oscar, Golden Globe and Cannes Grand Prix winner "Son of Saul" (director: László Nemes) and Béla Tarr's "Man from London" and "The Turin Horse". Rajk worked as partner of Costa Gavras, John Irwin, Miklós Jancsó, Tony Gatlif, Fatih Akin and he was one of the art directors of Ridley Scott's movie "The Martian".
Rajk was a university professor, teaching film architecture at the University of Theatre and Film Arts in Budapest, giving master-classes and lectures worldwide at universities and art schools. For his artistic activities he received several awards and prizes including Art Directors Guild/USA, Hungarian Film Critics Awards, Kossuth Prize/Hungary, Chevalier dans l'Ordre National du Mérite/France, Solidarnosc Award/Poland.
To those interested in paying respects, Rajk's widow Judit sent the following announcement: