Picasso and the Cold War | A Show by László Csáki | Roma Painting – Hungary 1969–2009 | Points, Lines in Movement | Tibor Bada Dada and Tamás Bakó | EASTgoesEast
Gábor Rieder: Picasso and the Cold War
Vienna’s Albertina has cut off another pound of flesh from the best-known and best-bought superstar of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso by presenting a rich selection of his mature works made after WWII – and pouring politics over them. By this time, Picasso had long found his style; it was with utmost confidence that he broke up his human figures with triangular edges, fixed profiles of faces onto deformed trunks, and smeared paint over his canvasses with routine ruthlessness.
His unmistakable style also re-wrote all the classics of painting history, and pushed the avantgarde into the museums. Not long ago, Louvre and other museums jointly presented works by Picasso that were paraphrases of milestone pictures of art history. They also set the pieces preserved in their Old Masters sections right next to Picasso’s variants. What seemed to be an innocent playing-around by a modern master reveals itself now to have been a conscious and warlike stand taken in the culture wars of the cold war period.
The political interest of the Bohemian, woman-loving painter arose with the Spanish Civil War back in the 30s. His Guernica, i.e. his protest against the destruction wrought in Spain by the Condor Legion was his first step towards discussing public issues. During the German occupation of Paris he locked himself up and painted sullen still-lifes with skulls on them. (Seeing a photo of Guernica, a German soldier reportedly asked him: „Is this your work?”, to which Picasso said: „No, it’s yours.”)
He joined the Communist Party in 1944, making a firm commitment to left-wing ideas and also Stalinism. Of course, he was wary of the dictator himself, it was only at the dictator’s death that he was persuaded to submit a so-called portrait of him which in fact was the portrait of a young, friendly peasant lad with a moustache. On more abstract waters, he never missed a chance to make his voice heard. His lithograph of a white pigeon which the Communist poet, Louis Aragon had borrowed from him for the 1949 Peace Congress, soon became the logo of the entire Peace Movement all through the Cold War. He also painted a picture of the execution of North-Korean fighters in the manner of Goya and Manet. From 1954 he started to paint Algerian women: exotic harem-girls with large bosoms firmly set against the French colonialists in their War of Independence.
As General Franco gave up his power to King Juan Carlos, Picasso turned to paraphrasing Velazquez’ Las Meninas, ridiculing the idea of a monarchy; and during the Cuban crisis he warned of imminent danger by painting a version of the Rape of the Sabinian Women. While he disagreed with the crushing of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and the Vietnam War, he voiced his disagreement in words rather than pictures. Such logic is hardly valid in all the nooks and crannies of his enormous oeuvre. Although we believe that the Three Muskateers represent his stand against making war (even though some of the warrior’s masculine pride is also at work here), it is truly difficult to take his series of Breakfast in the Open to have been a stand for the sexual revolution. In any case, Picasso’s classical paraphrases are indeed footnotes to the grand conflicts of world history.
22 September – 16 January, 2011
Poetic pictures – A Show by László Csáki
15 October – 12 November
Csáki is presently a DLA student of the Moholy-Nagy Arts University but earlier he had headed the university’s Media Design department. He has made several films and videos shown at international festivals and, as commercials, on TV. His films shown here are his reflections on pop-music, but there are many other media, e.g. chalk drawings, photos etc. He had whitewashed a drawing upon a stretch of a deserted country road and made a film of it later. He also tries embroidery as a medium for the first time.
Roma Painting – Hungary 1969–2009
15 October – 28 October
Encounter House of the Glove Factory (Kesztyűgyár Közösségi Ház)
This is a selection from the Art Collection of the Budapest Roma Education and Culture Centre. Gipsy artists introduce themselves and the world they live in with amazing sincerity. What they long for is understanding and appreciation. There is also the hope that a couple of generations from now there will be less prejudice around them. What we see in their pictures are dreams and desires, crying, grief, and joy, humour and eroticism, wisdom, memory, and abstraction. Loftiness and aesthetics, taste and proportion, the search for a road, and arrivals. All the wonderful variations of the curvatures of time and space.
Points, Lines in Movement
14 October – 6 January, 2011
Vasarely Museum – Budapest
At this exhibition, artworks that have never been presented together enter into a surprising – but valid – relationship with each other. Jenő Barcsay’s late, dark images and Gábor Bódy’s experimental film, Miklós Erdély’s “sacred line” and Katalin Haász’s curves that return into themselves, István Harasztÿ’s wandering magnetic points and the laboursome stabilisation of Ladislav Galeta’s ball are all, for example, very different works in terms of genre, style and technique, but nevertheless share something in terms of their essence. They all work with fundamental units of the visual arts, with the time and memory of a point in movement, with the birth of the real and virtual line, as well as the nearly infinite and non-systematisable possibilities of the nonrepresentational line. While the exhibition raises the notion of returning to elementarity, it does not endeavours to equate the various artistic intentions or to present all imaginable possibilities. Nor does it venture to pair up related works; this is left to the discretion of the viewer.
EASTgoesEast – A Show by Karolina Kowalska, Róza Janiszewska, Zorka Wollny, Jonathan O’Dwyer, Simon Liddiment, Tom Cox-Bisham
12 October – 30 November
Stúdió Gallery – Young Artists’ Studio
This show is part of the project run by EASTinternational (Norwich Art University), the city of Norfolk and Norwich Festival. Collaborating in putting it on were Bunkier Sztuki of Cracow, OUTPOST of Norwich, Trafó Gallery, and the Young Artists’ Studio. The principal purpose has been to promote all-European co-operation and dialogue, and as its last stage, the show on view at the Stúdió Gallery presents work by three Polish and three British artists. Two gigantic posters by Simon Liddiment complement the show in Budapest’s Lövölde Square.
A Show by Tibor Bada Dada and Tamás Bakó
15 October – 30 October
Roham Gallery – Budapest
As part of its series „Visual Discourses for Generations”, Roham Gallery now presents works by Tibor Bada Dada (1963-2006) supplied by collector Attila Bognár including performance-documents, 3D objects, filmed products, poems and texts written in the DADA convention both in the former Yugoslavia and, later, in Hungary. Tamás Bakó has just graduated from the Moholy-Nagy Arts University and in his biting drawings set out to re-cycle the tasteless scandals and sensations of pop-culture.