An Exercise in Remembering – The Cassette in the Labor | What brings you down and lifts you up – A Show by Pál Gerber | Stories Beyond Good and Bad – A Show by Dániel Horváth | Gábor Gerhes – Singing a Song | Man, Myth, and the Machine
Dorottya Szalay: An Exercise in Remembering – The Cassette in the Labor
Stolen memories, canned nostalgia. You can view the project named The Cassette by Péter Lichter and Lóránd Szécsényi Nagy in the Labor until 30 October.
Enacting visually the magic workings of remembering has long been a pet theme in filmmaking. Iconic filmmakers like Alain Resnais or Károly Makk have been pre-occupied with recalling long-past events, and revealing minute and subtle linkages among them. Both Last Year in Marienbad and Love were films that had far transcended simple conventional flash-back procedures in their attempts to visually reproduce the essence of nostalgia.
Similarly, the pair of Péter Lichter and Lóránd Szécsényi Nagy has concocted some blurred, delusory images to match the voiceover of a cassette of taped music they had accidentally found. Their film of a mere ten minutes recalls the last of their high school excursions with comic reservation; grand lessons learnt for later life are mixed with gritty trifles. Kids balancing between childhood and adulthood are given over to a liberating sense of freedom from school duties, and they cannot avoid some of the mildly morbid temptations of adulthood either.
Girls engage in some voyeurism, all drink up their mugs of beer amid swear-words – those were the three worst crimes of school-life in the 90s. Since then, the spread of cell-phones, hand-held cameras, tablets and notebooks has transformed not just school-excursions but also the way people remember them nowadays. No wonder then that the experiment of the two filmmakers evokes the Romantic mood of the first films made at the beginning of film as an art. In the melting pot of the digital 21st century all those high-resolution imaging gadgets tend to exorcise the essential obscurity of a complex reality which alone can leave space for some personal magic. What with the damaged images of the 8 mm shots of The Cassette, we are given another chance to intervene with what we see on the basis of our particular experiences. We are given a chance to search, interpret, elaborate or just ponder.
After the well-lit platforms of Budapest’s East Railway Terminal we are transferred to the wooded landscape of a provincial village. Forest paths are surrounded not just by real birds and a lonely shepherd dog but also by the Surreal shadow of a stray elephant, a huge metal ball, or a person falling from a cliff. Little girls performing ballet are offset by the dance of cassettes, greenwoods alternate with cliffs, summer changes into winter.
The Cassette is literally a film made out of garbage. Among the garbage put out into the streets, inevitably, one finds old cassettes of taped music with their expanded bands carrying hits recorded from radio shows or from friends’ cassette players. The pair of filmmakers has not only found those cassettes, but also a way in which to transmit the experience of finding and playing them. A feat that is part and parcel of the tasks that artists must undertake.
In his opening address to the show János Sugár defined making art as a good deed involving the transmission of ideas. Not a complex task, yet many artists prove too weak to perform it. The pair of filmmakers now on show has managed to perform this good deed, a fact borne out by invitations to shows to be held in foreign cities like London, Zurich, Kuala Lumpur. The stills from the film will soon be shown in Bratislava. It is worth making the trip to the Labor, and then making another (school) trip courtesy of The Cassette.
13 October – 30 October
What brings you down and lifts you up – A Show by Pál Gerber
19 October – 26 November
After his life-retrospective in the Ludwig Museum last year, Pál Gerber now presents a theme exhibition ordered around the issue (much discussed by the Hungarian Neo-Avant-Garde) whether one can demonstrate that which is unspeakable. What Gerber does, he sweeps around the altar of Art in a highly ironic fashion. Words play a huge part in his latest art as interpretations, signals, and explanations.
Stories Beyond Good and Bad – A Show by Dániel Horváth
21 October – 26 November
The young painter Dániel Horváth opens a new chapter in his art. Just back from Lisbon, the momentum of the Mediterranean country is all over his canvasses; even his brushwork has become freer. He has acquired the courage to shout rather than just whisper. Also, he has made some steps from picturesqueness towards narrativity. Technically speaking, he leaves more personal traces on his pictures by gluing some of the accessories of his personal life upon his paintings.
Gábor Gerhes – Sound of Song
20 October – 18 November
acb Contemporary Arts Gallery
What the title of the show reminds us can be many things from nostalgia for the past to the search for traditions, or just a predilection to kitsch. The three rooms of the gallery are named God, Homeland, and Enemies, and are filled with Gábor Gerhes’ related oil paintings, videos, photographs, and objects. On the whole, Gerhes examines Hungary’s national identity at the closest range.
Man, Myth, and the Machine
20 October – 26 November
Erika Deák Gallery
Hungarian Zsolt Bodoni, Romanian Cantemir Hausi, Russian Vitaly Pushnitky, and Englishman Robert Fry have got together to examine human relationships towards mythologies and machinery. From the start of things man has turned to mythologies for inspiration or help in overcoming supernatural threats. Machinery has been a source of both good and evil over mankind’s history becoming as it has done not just an instrument of modernisation, but also of its destruction.