András B. Szilágyi: X-ray Art | Hard to Answer Questions – A Show by Endre Koronczi | AGRICULTURE – A historical and contemporary art project | Observer – A Show by Kim Corbisier
András B. Szilágyi: X-ray Art
It is rare indeed for an exhibition to feature as a satellite event of a medical conference in Budapest. Committed to present new departures in photography, Nessim Gallery now offers works of art that include X-ray photographs in their medium, a feature common to the works made by three exhibiting artists originating from three different countries.
The only Hungarian protagonist, József Hajdú by name, follows on the footsteps of Moholy-Nagy’s early light-experiments or György Kepes’ later, like-minded ventures. His pictures are „sophisticated experiments” akin to works made once by artists of the Bauhaus. Snapshots of everyday objects appear as abstract surfaces, X-ray technology as a means to create conceptual works of art. In his photography straddling the borderline between science and art various materials and surfaces mark out lighter or darker patches in function of their X-ray transparency. Bones add up to texture, metals become surfaces, compact discs form hubs of rotund compositions around which other elements are organised. They appear to be just as simple as the first photograms in the Bauhaus years, i.e. explorations of the artistic borders of a scientific procedure.
Stane Jagodic approaches this theme from the realm of montage. His compositions embedded in a post-modern taste are in fact mixtures of X-ray photographs, reproductions of paintings, and photographs proper – all adding up to reflections of a peculiar mood. Nophretiti turns into an angel courtesy of a lung X-ray, and a skull X-ray, strips of burnt film, and reproductions come together to make up a triptych. Heightening the tension of the works on show are classic daguerreotypes that mingle rather well with the stiff monochromic quality of X-ray shots.
The third protagonist of the show, Marc Ferrante by name, treats X-ray photography as an opportunity to play. We can see X-ray shots of an eagle or the hands of a puppet artist in action. Dual or even multiple developing assists hands towards shaking hands with themselves, and X-ray photographs are photographed as they cast their own shadow. The hand creating an illusion of a shade is itself part of an illusory reality of quite another nature. The photograph of a hand drawing the picture itself gives rise to interpretations of a playful kind.
Although the respective attitudes of the three artists are similar, the show is far from homogeneous. One would welcome more of some of the things, while sometimes less of some other things would just suffice. The costliness and dangers inherent in X-ray photography make it hard to imagine X-ray technology ever to become as mundane as film-making, i.e. X-ray photos will always possess a peculiar, mysterious atmosphere. Yet, for all its „closed” character, the technology lying at the base of photographic recording can very well open up to the multifarious departures taken by the three artists. Those departures, true, sometimes contradict each other. Perhaps this is why we feel that less of it would have said more.
But take this for the fault-finding fuss of an art historian over a show presenting never-before seen images and solutions spawning many new ideas. And what else is a show supposed to offer?
7 April – 20 May
Hard to Answer Questions – A Show by Endre Koronczi
30 April – 10 July
MODEM – Modern and Contemporary Arts Centre
Endre Koronczi’s works are uniform in one respect; they explore our intimate spheres without any inhibition. He is entitled to do so because he invariably starts off on his explorations in his own intimate sphere. The show is predominantly one of video works; complementing his earlier works presented here in a novel fashion are new works in a maze-like setting. He has also reconstructed his earlier feat of sticking a glider into the facade of MODEM creating the illusion of an accident.
AGRICULTURE – A historical and contemporary art project
29 April – 10 June
Foundation for Modern Art, Contemporary Art Institute, Dunaújváros
In 60s-70s Hungary agriculture was not only a pillar of the country’s economy, but also part and parcel of the national culture. By today, agriculture as a theme has evaporated from public consciousness – the show wishes to remedy this sad fact by presenting related 60s-70s contributions from literature, film, advertisements, cartoons, photography etc. and also by offering new contributions by artists and laypeople relating to the period marked by a strong agricultural presence. The show is constantly growing due to new contributions; not before its closing can we say it is finished.
Observer – A Show by Kim Corbisier
27 April – 20 May
Educated in Budapest, the young painter Kim Corbisier has evolved a style that extends far beyond traditional techniques. Patches of canvas left bare, or covered by quick brushstrokes or pencil drawings tend to convey a fast and dynamic contemporary lifestyle as well as the quickening and multiplicity of responses. Her works are predominantly portraits communicating with the viewers even when they turn their backs on them. Her favourite themes are workmen on the roads, or family men embroiled in a fight with their supermarket purchases stuffed into huge carrier bags.