With Abstract Hungary the Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien (KM– Graz) presents twenty-four Hungarian artists of different generations whose artistic practice is devoted to current variations of abstract art. The exhibition represents a further development of the narrative blueprint for the much-discussed concept of abstraction. It will feature both established and new artists, some of whom are exhibiting their work for the first time in Austria. On two floors indoors and in a sculpture in public space, art by younger and middle generations enter into a dialogue with pioneers from the 1960s whose oeuvres have remained relevant to the present- day production of art.
Key, internationally known figures such as László Moholy-Nagy, Victor Vasarely, Simon Hantaï, and Lajos Kassák make us aware that abstract art in Hungary has a long and complicated history that has continued to develop throughout the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. For a long time, abstract art was regarded as a practice that received no special recognition.
Contemporary abstract art is inspired by a critical approach to the supposed universality of a visual vocabulary, which, among other things, can be perceived as a kind of universal art relieved of the burden of local context. In Hungary today abstract artists strive for a timeless, enduring perspective of art that is rooted in the knowledge of its long history. The younger generation’s lively, relatively instinctual works tend to distance themselves from a minimalist approach as they open up to a variety of directions from trash aesthetics to the boundaries of figurative art. Taken altogether, it’s possible to discern in them a reflective stance toward the current wave of international attention focused on abstract art.
The thematic exhibition emphasizes the diverse approaches and understandings of abstract art, from the instinctive and conceptual ideas to the referential and perspectival ones. Without wanting to create an overview with the aid of lexical, chronological, or taxonomic methods, the exhibition demonstrates the complexities of abstract art, which range from the radical geometrical references of the 1960s to the coherent development that continues to this day, despite all of the interruptions and variations.
The exhibition Abstract Hungary encompasses painting, sculpture, installations, ceramics, photography, and video. The show also incorporates Tamás Kászas’s piece Stage Monument (2017), a sculptural and performative intervention in the public space that refers to the historical concepts of Lajos Kassák. This installation will function as both a site for performances and workshops, as well as a meeting point for passersby in the city park, who will be able to use this public space as a stage for their own individual purposes.
Imre Bak, Sári Ember, János Fajó, Andreas Fogarasi, Péter Tamás Halász, György Jovánovics, Tamás Kaszás, Zsófia Keresztes, Ilona Keserü Ilona, Adrian Kiss, Ádám Kokesch, Tamás Komóroczky, László Lakner, Little Warsaw, Mira Dalma Makai, Dóra Maurer, István Nádler, Márton Nemes, Péter Puklus, Klára Rudas, Gerg Szinyova, Zsolt Tibor, Ádám Ulbert, Júlia Vécsei
Curated by Sandro Droschl, Áron Fenyvesi
Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien
Through September 7
Photos by Pascal Petignat