FOREWORD TO THE EXHIBITION NINE ATELIERS
Nine Ateliers was preceded by a successful past exhibition, Fresh, organised two years ago by nine curators of Műcsarnok and showcasing a studioful of works by 9+1 contemporary painters and sculptors displayed in ten separate halls. These studio-scale units proved to be an excellent way of presenting the more recent works of the participant artists. The exhibition confirmed that artistic autonomy informed by innovation and/or tradition cannot be put down to the ‘vintage’ of the given artist. As it was in 2016, this year’s studio-based presentations will again run simultaneously with an exhibition devoted to the work of fledgling artists, this time the young winners of the Derkovits scholarship who represent an age group prescribed by the scholarship announcement. Műcsarnok’s DERKÓ 2018 and Nine Ateliers complement each other. The central concept for both Fresh (2016) and Nine Ateliers, continuing the initiative of two years ago, was to show the ability of autonomous artists to renew themselves, and their openness of spirit.
Autonomy? Indeed, it is something often inseparable from the isolation of artists retreating to their studios. Exhibitions are therefore also important for artists to this end: they open up the opportunity for an exchange of ideas with the works themselves. Artists emerging from their isolation are not only given the chance to meet the public but also to engage in a critical, ontological and philosophical dialogue with ‘other studios’, other artists with the same ambitions and dedication as their own. This year, the nine artists can start a verbal and visual studio conversation with one another; included in this will be the nine curators and – in the best case scenario – the critics too. And as painters and sculptors are in continuous dialogue with themselves too, their works are mirrors and, hence, their exhibitions are halls of mirrors.
The discourses thus arising can produce various outcomes, and this year’s show holds the promise of at least nine. Breaking with the representational art of New Sensitivity, József Bullás has been painting abstract pictures for quite some time now, shifting emphasis from the narrative framework of reference to the primacy of the visual. Antal Turcsányi’s self-exploratory painting has fundamentally not changed since the eighties; driven and propelled by the changes within him, he seeks the philosophical interpretation behind mythological scenes. Besides having pursued painting for forty years, József Baksai has been doing Kyudo, the ancient ritual of Japanese archery, for two decades. His curator compares the infinite dimension of reading many hours every day with the micro-time of the arrow’s course: his sources of inspiration.
Balázs Faa creates direct visual translations of the questions of mathematical theory without compositional considerations. His spatial and media art is interdisciplinary, its genre difficult to define. The recent works by András Kapitány are also generated by mathematics filtered through computer applications – his pictures are not a far cry from ridiculing the grotesquely fallibility involved in the political use of the net and networking. Péter Lajtai’s matrices are ’paintings’ created by the use of photography sensitising viewers to the all-pervading energy fields of micro- and macrocosms, while seeking to rise above the blindness/deafness to this manifest in the extant world.
In her works based on social communication Gabi Nagy draws conflicts and parallels using her intricate webs built from less abstract structures – she sublimates into pictures the signs of new genres coming to life in various gadgets, with her visual formulae impressing both professional and lay audiences. The oeuvre of Agnes von Uray (Ágnes Szépfalvi) has been progressing from a strong context of social criticism to a kind of comparative pictorial science. While describing her works as “bad paintings”, she invites viewers to accompany her on her time travels – into the past, or perhaps into the future. For her, the freedom of genres is a reflection of thoroughly contemplated thinking. Ceramic art, the genre in which Antal Pázmándi works, is also distinguished by the use of a disciplined technology requiring foresight of design yet also containing ‘the accidental’ as a crucially important component. It is the thought-through application of this dichotomy that elevates his applied art into a polychrome liberal art of sculpture.
Liberal art? No, it is not intended as a pun in the foreword of Nine Ateliers: the seven liberal arts – assuming an ever-broadening definition from ancient times onwards – has been seen from the very start in the context of the sciences and the arts mutually influencing each other. As this exhibition also shows, it is especially the case nowadays. The nine artists of Műcsarnok’s current exhibition are indeed liberal, pushing the limits of existence, the traditions of the fine arts and the concerns of the present time impressively freshly.
György Szegő, artistic director
Nine Ateliers exhibitions