I Myself Am the Message – Street Art Auctioned | Foreign Contemporary Masters I. – The Parisian Cube | Painted on Paper – Watercolours in the Graphics Collection 1900–1950 | Social Bazaar – A Project by Péter Szabó | Background Noise – A Show by Éva Martus and Róbert Borsos
Réka Kovács: I Myself Am the Message – Street Art Auctioned
The concept of periodically filling exhibition spaces with stuff that must be examined closely and completely is a concept impossible to follow at the latest show put on by B55 Gallery. While nothing is mandatory here, looking around is certainly a must. So I bid farewell to the inscription tags and start walking around aimlessly. I do not even try to remember the names of the artists exhibiting.
I do remember a few names, though, but only at the very end. The show will culminate in an auction; a lot of artists take part to make for wide supply. For a few really interesting pieces to stick out, they must come right against us, or we must stumble into them, or look back on them over our shoulders. Just as it happens in the street as we are stopped by some peculiar sight during our daily circuits, sights that were not there the day before, or never before catching our attention.
The spacious, comfortable gallery is easier terrain than a street, however, mainly because the dirty work had already been done. It is not left to us to dig out those treasures from the filth of derelict bus-stops or dilapidated cellars. The dust had been wiped off, the soot cleaned; some of the objects had even been painted over for cleanliness.
Must Create Some Shit. The huge, pastel-coloured, brilliant edifice built from drawers by Gábor Rapa Melka does deny one’s first impression as does the contradiction between the tidy frames and dishevelled inscriptions within them. Antal Pintér offers his Whales in somewhat smaller-than-life sizes. A genuine whale would look great on the gallery walls but it would never fit in to start with. Taker’s photo-realistic pin-ups (as shown by Ferenc József Hajdú’s documentation) first appear on concrete walls, but he can do it on canvasses if asked to do so; on his website he argues that movable graffiti are wonderful when one has to move house. Instead of painting al fresco, he can paint on canvas that can be rolled up if need be. Such graffiti, however, are special breeds requiring a lot of explaining.
Take the graffiti-style painting „I can never know” by József Riez. Should it appear on a concrete wall, it would be sprayed over in no time. No one would have the time to ponder on its meaning or significance like we can in a gallery. Wary of such risks, Judit Nagy paints her own firewall, untouchable to anyone but herself, to paint on (My City).
Whether by going into the minutiae (cf. Nikon’s streetlights in the twilight) or glossing over things (Zion King by Csongor Horváth), the superb surfaces do attract my attention, and they even make me laugh, but I am not at all sure the effect would be same in a real tram stop. While I stroll around, my attention is captured by objects coming from garbage-heaps and re-interpreted (e.g. skateboards exhibited by Carlos BrakOne, or the mannequins collected by Renáta Tóth) but I am not at all perturbed. None of those objects with the possible exception of Panel Christ by Gergely Gabay are meant to provoke anyone.
Street Art, then, moves into a gallery only to move into middle-class homes somewhat later. One can bargain on street art, one can buy it here – in contrast to the walls that one cannot buy. As to the explanatory tags, I disregard them automatically not just in the street, but here, inside this gallery, too, even though I could read them much better on the whitewashed walls. Once street art – always street art. Once it ceases to be street art, however, it is neither street, nor art. The stroll I took was rather pleasant, though.
B55 Contemporary Gallery
10 February – 23 February
Foreign Contemporary Masters I. – The Parisian Cube
20 February – 19 March
The first part of the gallery’s prospective series presents some of the foreign masters of geometrical abstraction. Although little known in Hungary, the exhibiting artists are well-known internationally. With the exception of a couple of artists, e.g. Helen Vergouwen and Gaël Bourmaud, both born after 1960, they are mature and successful protagonists of the art scene of the wider world, e.g. Uruguay, Argentine, Japan, Belgium, Italy, France, etc. They all make Paris their home city, and they are all fanatics of geometrical forms.
Painted on Paper – Watercolours in the Graphics Collection 1900–1950
15 February – 16 October
Hungarian National Gallery
Out of its graphics collection numbering some 80 000 pieces, the Hungarian National Gallery intends to exhibit two samples each year, each sample ordered around a special thematic aspect, in its annex to its picure and statue galleries. The best-known Hungarian masters of the watercolour in the early 20th century all followed the traditions of English watercolour painting. The trend of Art Nouveau gaining momentum around this period, however, did much to renew the dominating watercolour style by stressing the role of the line against the painterly effects of colour. The period shown at this exhibition can be said to be the heyday of Hungarian watercolour painting.
Social Bazaar – A Project by Péter Szabó
15 February – 12 March
Stúdió Gallery – Young Artists’ Studio
A young artist took ten of his paintings and passed them on to his colleagues as a present with the request that they should continue working on them. The ten works have all ceased to exist in their original shape and intent, but a process has been started whereby a new state of affairs might ensue, one reflecting even more ideas than was previously possible. Whether we call this recycling or group effort, entirely new qualities are bound to appear while it is only the photo-documentation attached to the project that can revoke the original works of art, transformed now into entirely new pieces.
Background Noise – A Show by Éva Martus and Róbert Borsos
17 February – 8 April
Ani Molnár’s Gallery
The two young artists have managed to create a lively atmosphere replete with movement, colourful faces and figures where even a few interactive works are offered. The forms are all familiar since they come from the everyday life of us all. Both artists apply very ingenious Éva Martus prefers foils, iron plates and other stuff totally alien to traditional painting. What connects the two, however, is their predilection for playfulness and humour in their joint effort at painting an ironic reflection of our daily lives.