Who’s Getting the AVIVA Prize? | Lucien Hervé 100 | Unmovable Country – a Show by Borsos Lőrinc |100 Moholy-Nagy Drawings from the Great War | Vertical Light – A Show by Tamás Hencze
Gábor Rieder: Who’s Getting the AVIVA Prize?
It is an outrageous success. Founded only last year, and indebted to the generous help of the Műcsarnok, the AVIVA Prize has conquered all the bastions of the contemporary Hungarian concept-art scene. Victory, though, didn’t come easy; the financial institution new to sponsoring art first had to overcome the suspicions of capital-wary flocks of artists. Last year the machinery was still clogged, but this year everything went as clockwork. The experts commissioned had selected their respective favourites who brought their latest works to fill the enormous rooms of the Műcsarnok. The Műcsarnok is not exactly packed by all the handsome conceptual works swimming in the backwaters of the international movement. What organisers have in mind is obviously copying perhaps the biggest global prize, the Turner Prize – an objective laughable because of the wide difference in scale but still laudable. Neither the HUF 5 million prize money, nor the venerable venue can possible catapult the winners into the elite of international biannual exhibitions, but by Hungary’s domestic standards it is good money, even tempting.
Perhaps the most serious project belongs to Société Réaliste, i.e. the Franco-Hungarian working couple of Ferenc Gróf and Jean-Baptiste Naudy. The two have produced incredibly sophisticated and minutely executed projects for years. Grey walls engulf historic gate-arches on a curtain, photographic reproductions measuring an inch or two, whole maps of inscriptions, a statue of Zero Euro, a mulish lettering font, and a medley of b/w film sketches – an exhilarating hoard of historic references from the financial crunch to the siege of Berlin right back to the Communist Manifesto.
Hajnal Németh, too, likes to use large forms. Towering high above her works merging music and video is her wreckage of a BMW car with a voiceover aria composed specifically to accompany the spectacle – a project we could admire some time back in the Kiscelli Museum.
Compared to the above artists, Marcell Esterházy likes much smaller forms. He likes to take snapshots of his friends’ studios. Our enjoyment is diminished somewhat by the lack of pointers as to which studio belongs to which particular artist-friend. But it certainly gets through that a typical Hungarian artist’s studio today is half a room split off or – worse – just a desk providing space for a laptop between a jug and a flowerpot. The clean, sanctuary-like studio of Róbert Batykó, also featuring in Esterházy’s series, emits decorative oil paintings of a classical strand. But owing to their humdrum subject matter, Batykó’s paintings fit in rather well with the material of the show with their ironing boards, dustbins, beer cans etc.
Another working couple, Gergely László and Péter Rákosi are hidden behind the strange name of Tehnica Schweiz. The two have prepared their joint projects since 2004 indulging at once in documentary photography, sociological fieldwork, and conceptual art. They have documented e.g. garages serving for DIY purposes in the homes of Dunaújváros workmen. Born in Serbia, educated in Budapest, Katarina Šević presents installations of a kind that can only be deciphered with some difficulty. Her lacquered wooden objects, her tables lacking any usefulness, her cheap folding screens, and strange performances captured by video – all multifunctional works open to any and all (political, social, or communicative) interpretations.
9 October – 9 January, 2011
Lucien Hervé 100
27 October – 9 January, 2011
Museum of Fine Arts
The great photographer Lucien Hervé who was born a 100 years ago in Hódmezővásárhely, had worked for Le Corbusier from 1949 at the latter’s Marseille urban development project, and became the greatest architectural photographer of his time.
Unmovable Country – a Show by Borsos Lőrinc
27 October – 4 December
Present since 2008, the artist couple of János Borsos and Lilla Lőrinc dedicate their joint works to social and political themes expressed by means of both concrete art and eruptive, intuitive art. They are also active in objects, videos and installations aspiring to find their place in today’s international discourse on art.
100 Moholy-Nagy Drawings from the Great War – 20th Anniversary Show of the First Hungarian Visual Storehouse
28 October – 20 November
Sonja Pintér Contemporary Gallery
Possessing half of Moholy-Nagy’s 300 known postcard-sized colour drawings from the Great War, the First Hungarian Visual Storehouse now makes a 100 of its rare pieces available for public viewing for the very first time. The youthful sketches are not only elegantly drawn and lavishly coloured, but are conspicuous for their framing methodology, a methodology that presages Moholy-Nagy’s somewhat later, pioneering work in experimental photography.
Vertical Light – A Show by Tamás Hencze
28 October – 23 November
Hencze is one of the most persistent figures of the 60s neo-avantgarde turn in Hungarian painting. His paintings have been characterised throughout by a „cool glow”. His special tool, a painter’s roll makes even his eruptive emotions impersonal, a method working for a tight control of order and logic over passionate and accidental formations.