Is Life Better Abroad? – Szabolcs Barakonyi | Market Stands (ARTplacc) – Contemporary Art for Sale in Tihany | Memorial Exhibition of Rippl-Rónai – 150 years-150 pictures
Judit Gellér: Is Life Better Abroad? – Szabolcs Barakonyi
Szabolcs Barakonyi touches on a sensitive issue when asking why even flowers are nicer outside Hungary. The question relates both to the older and younger generation of Hungarians who very often leave Hungary to find out. Not that Barakonyi wants to be too provocative about it all; what he does he poses a simple question and records a lengthy and complicated answer by making snapshots along the way. Those featuring on his snapshots are well-known artists, musicians and other persons engaged in the art business. The venues: the metro, cars, houses, apartments, living rooms, eccentric or cosy pads that are all in Paris.
They might just as well be located anywhere else in Western Europe. Informal statistics suggest for example that, after Budapest, with its 200 000 registered Hungarian expat employees London could be the second largest city inhabited by Hungarians in the world. Not surprising, we might say, since all through the 20th century the greatest feats achieved by Hungarians were achieved by Hungarians chased away from their native country.
Whether those on Barakonyi’s snapshots have been chased away or have just left of their own accord can be unravelled from the stories they tell. Nine lives, nine stories about why they have chosen to live in the French capital, why they have decided to spend the better part of their lives there. What Barakonyi does he allows us to gain many telling insights into their lives. His social sensitivity coupled with an acute power of observation arouses a lot of reflection (and self-reflection) from the viewer. While getting into intimate closeness to the persons whose movements he has recorded he also keeps his distance from the working routines and leisure-time activities of those nine Hungarians living in Paris.
Each is introduced by a blown-up portrait or genre-picture as a prologue to the booklets placed on shelves which contain frank testimonies by the expatriate artists about their living conditions, their difficulties and successes, the consequences of their vital decisions, the kind of life a Hungarian expatriate can live, and the Hungary they experience at a distance of 900 miles.
The nine photo series speak about the present by disclosing bits of the past and also the future. The stories unfolding engage the viewers by making them face the decisive choice themselves: whether to start on a journey that answers the crucial question: Is life really better outside Hungary?
4 July – 28 August
Market Stands (ARTplacc) – Contemporary Art for Sale in Tihany
12 August – 21 August
Central Area, Tihany
No fewer than 15 Budapest contemporary art galleries and several art projects have relocated to Tihany for the length of the sale. During the peak of summer holiday-making there are several shows put up at various points of TIhany introducing many of the most gifted artists Hungary has. The special atmosphere and the many tourists in Tihany guarantee success not just for the first but also for the intended subsequent occasions. After all, genuine culture can serve as a reminder of a stay in Hungary probably better than Chinese made kitsch or disingenuously faked “local” folk art.
Memorial Exhibition of Rippl-Rónai – 150 years-150 pictures
13 August – 31 August
AGORA – Árpád Együd Cultural Centre, Kaposvár
The first modern master of Hungarian painting was born 150 years ago in Kaposvár. Recently inaugurated, the grand cultural centre presents a huge collection of his works selected from Hungarian museums as well as private collections. Many items are on view for the very first time. His first period gave rise to Art Nouveau pictures painted in Paris, his second, to intimate interiors of his Kaposvár home, the third, to paintings made up of corn-sized patches, and his last, fourth period, to refined female portraits executed in pastel.