Hits at the Bread Factory | Márta Czene Winning the Strabag Artaward | Forms of Existence – The Oeuvre of Mária Lugossy | Necktie as a Challenge – The Croatian Contribution to a Global Culture | BP POSITIVE – Ten Years of the Budapest Photography Grant
Rita Somosi: Hits at the Bread Factory
It was during Museum Night that Siófok’s Gallery 320 Degrees (the heat required for baking bread), an institution presenting contemporary artists every summer, opened its new exhibition. Timing was of the essence for the institution clearly wishes to grow into a major regional museum centre, an ambition borne out by its widely circulated call for usable ideas last year. The refurbishment of the bread factory is still hanging in mid-air there being no official decision yet, but the exhibition Works on Holiday is open to the public until late September all the same.
As we approach the entrance, we are met by Rudolf Pacsika’s mural installation of deckchairs on the factory façade, the only piece of art that refers to the season, or the town of Siófok, a Lake Balaton resort. Although the exhibition inside the factory is subtitled “couleur locale”, the artists selected are not locals, nor can we detect references to the geographical or social traits of Siófok in the works exhibited. Seen from the perspective of the institution’s exhibition in Mexico last year, the subtitle must be taken to mean Hungarian artists at large.
The long list of names on the wall right next to the entrance is illustrious containing as it does only highly recognised artists boasting many awards. The building’s winding passages and high-ceilinged halls are extremely suitable to host this year’s selection of photographs and installations.
The central hall’s tripartite space presents photographs including the series Maidens by Róbert Szabó Benke, and the series immortalising knickerbockers by Péter Flanek. Another series by the former called Cunyi Yashi and presenting obscure white figures engaged in gay encounters is placed on the poorly lit second floor.
In other sections of the main hall on the ground floor we can see installations like Csaba Nemes’ video called Remake, or the lighting bed of Karolina Nagy, or the iron forest of Rita Judit, or the curtain made of office clips and the herd of erratic lambs of Hajnalka Tarr. Free candy can be taken away from next to the cartoon drawings of Zsolt Richly (noted for his Rabbit with Chequered Ears), while the colourful life-size horses of Miklós Szőke Gábor are scattered all through the town itself.
The selection is doubtless professional. Not that it is all too risky to exhibit the greatest “hits” of recent years together. The many illustrious pieces of art, when crammed together, tend to give make for a rather relaxed enjoyment.
Along with nearby artists’ settlement at Törek, the Siófok Gallery 320 Degrees is clearly aiming to become the main showcase of contemporary art in the region. A selection offering instantaneous enjoyment all too easily processed by the public may attract many visitors even in the long haul. It is up to the institution itself to decide which direction it wants to take. If it wants to compete with Debrecen’s MODEM or the rich visual culture of the Northern shore of Lake Balaton by becoming the most important contemporary arts centre of the region, it still has a lot of work on its hands.
320 Degrees – Siófok
18 June – 30 September
Márta Czene Winning the Strabag Artaward
In the Vienna headquarters of the construction firm Strabag the firm’s Artaward was presented on 1st July. At last, a Hungarian coming up first! No fewer than 647 under-40 Austrian, Hungarian, Czech, and Slovak artists had enrolled for the competition. Another first: in the award’s five-year history no fewer than two Hungarian artists, Márta Czene and Kim Corbisier, got on the shortlist of five, a privilege earning each of them a prize of EUR 5 000 as well as a place in the firm’s art collection and its residence program. Márta Czene then came first along with Slovak artist Svatopluk Mikyta, an honour coupled with a prize of EUR 10 000 for each.
Forms of Existence – The Oeuvre of Mária Lugossy
30 June – 18 September
Museum of Arts and Crafts
For over thirty years, Mária Lugossy has tried to externalise a tension in her mind aimed at breaking up the solidness of forms. Her goal has been to melt rigid plastic elements in much softer forms. Whether in her medals, jewellery, or public statues, her road has led from Constructivism to her present universal mastery of plastic form primed in the Neo-Avantgarde of the first period of her career. Also, her road has led from glass through bronze to stone.
Necktie as a Challenge – The Croatian Contribution to a Global Culture
30 June – 21 August
On view are over 150 pieces of art prepared by Croatian and other artists. It was the Academia Cravatica (the Necktie Academy) that had selected the international array presented at this show. With the consent of the contributing artists, the pieces of the exhibition will be integrated into the stock of the Zagreb Necktie Museum open to statues, installations, videos, and films as well. Croatians hold that the necktie was once invented in Croatia.
BP POSITIVE – Ten Years of the Budapest Photography Grant
30 June – 1 September
House of Hungarian Photographers (Manó Mai’s House)
Placed on two storeys, the exhibition wishes to present a vision of Budapest with the help of works by ten year’s grantees. It is not just traditionally framed snapshots that make up the exhibition; ten of the exhibitors have contributed their individual sets of snapshots coupled with written observations. Also on view are installations, projections, objects and sound recordings – resources that will undoubtedly make the overall Budapest effect of the exhibition even more compelling.