Border Crossing – A Show by Barbara Nagy | Never take a trip alone – A Show by Ádám Albert | An Exhibition of Works by József Egry | Two from London – A Show by Tamás Jovánovics and Károly Keserű | An Exhibition of Sculptures by Tamás Vígh
Katalin Kopin: Border Crossing – A Show by Barbara Nagy
Long Live the Arts! – this is what a faded red poster proclaims above the entrance to the cellar workshop of the Szentendre Lajos Vajda Studio.
Soon to boast a past of 40 years, the Studio has done more than just issue slogans towards continuing in the spirit of the Neo-Avantgarde, and even towards its constant reinforcement and renewal. True, some contributors to a recent polemic have argued that the myth of a Szentendre art movement is all but vacant, some others, however, have come up with the exact opposite. One thing is sure: the Vajda Studio does not work for conserving its past values by shutting all doors and windows; on the contrary, it provides ample ground for the young by admitting new members, putting on joint shows with them (e.g. „Szentendre in the Gödör”), and even allowing them to put on their one-man shows under its auspices.
Barbara Nagy graduated from the Academy of Arts under the tutorship of Dóra Maurer in 2005, but she has been an active member of the Vajda Studio since 2000. On her monochrome black wooden plates, not shown here, it is lines carved in with varying depths and angles that invigorate light. The arcs and clusters of varying factures make for a pulsating, constantly changing effect of alternating lights and shadows (e.g. the series called „Light-Images”). Those works of hers join up tightly with the intellectual content of her present installation called „Border Band”.
This time, the torn and worn walls of the cellar seem to function as a Baroque undercroft. As we lean down to the prayer-desk of a confessional in the twilight, we hear the following sentence, also written on a pencil drawing, over and over again: „In darkness, everything becomes clear and intelligible.”
The video projection which starts the installation proper was recorded by the artist herself during her walk before the Santa Sabina church in Rome. Workmen paint parking signs on the pavement with a monk in white cassock looking on while guarding the sacred area cordoned off by a red-and-white band. On another wall we are faced with two photo prints of similarly transcendental air; we see children within the huge interior of Santa Sabina practicing art, i.e. doing drawing exercises that are meant to transport them „to the other bank” of the river.
The tripartite installation can be construed simply as one’s initiation into Art. Nowadays, pieces of contemporary art do little to provide us with obvious causal chains, clear-cut trains of thought, easy-to-grasp logical conclusions. While watching a traditional oil painting we can amply rely on sketches, precedents etc., today’s installations, however, provide precious little in the way of handles for interpretation.
Watching Nagy’s „Border Band” installation we can follow an entirely mundane scene turning into the stuff of Art; and leaving our shadow behind, we can also cross over into the sacred, purifying space of Art after treading on the ever so thin band that separates the sacred from the profane, the dream from alertness, the illusion from mundane reality.
Lajos Vajda Studio Gallery, Cellar Workshop, Szentendre
19 March – 10 April
Never take a trip alone – A Show by Ádám Albert
1 April – 14 May
The young contemporary Ádám Albert artist explores the relationship of Alexander von Humboldt and Johann Wolfgang Goethe through the parallel of a physical and a mental kind of space. Everything we see at this show links up to the respective studies of those two great travellers. Along with the copper plate etchings, drawings, brief animated clips we also find two „peeping boxes”, prefigured by 17th century Dutch „perspective cabinets”. In order to get at the work of art, i.e. the spatial image of Humboldt’s and Goethe’s study respectively, like voyeurs, we have to peep into the boxes from a certain angle.
An Exhibition of Works by József Egry
1 April – 31 July
KOGART House, Gábor Kovács Art Foundation
One of the most characteristic modern Hungarian painters, József Egry (1883-1951) was generally known as the painter of Lake Balaton. Yet, his oeuvre is larger than that, containing as it does techniques and themes of great variety, all marked by the intellectual innovations of early 20th century art and thought. His trademark loose and airy technique is anchored in the grey area between oil pastel, graphic art, and oil painting. This exhibition offers samples from all his periods including not just his Balaton sceneries but also his earlier, lesser known, highly expressive paintings.
Two from London – A Show by Tamás Jovánovics and Károly Keserű
31 March – 30 April
B55 Contemporary Gallery
Both young artists are little known to the Hungarian public even though both of them are Hungarian. Their outlook is much akin even though they have only got to know each other recently in London. Jovánovics has only been participating in Hungarian group exhibitions, while Keserű exhibits his works for the very first time in Budapest after appearing in dozens of foreign galleries and museums. The second „leg” of their joint show will take place at year’s end in London’s Patrick Heide Contemporary Art Gallery.
An Exhibition of Sculptures by Tamás Vígh
11 March – 22 April
One of the most important Hungarian sculptors of the last half century, Tamás Vigh (1926-2010) fills up the rooms of HAP Gallery with his works left behind after his recent death. Vígh had arrived at his trademark style in the early 60s. Touting marks of Cubism as well as Pop Art, his crumpled and dented sculptures of bronze or steel plate reflected a very deep and sensitive understanding of the world’s and Hungary’s conditions. His works promulgated the best endeavours of his community; his ambition was to hold up a mirror in which his community could recognise its very own self.