Art Capital

Art Capital

Art Capital is the greatest visual art festival of Central-Eastern Europe, which will be held this year in Szentendre for the fourth time. In the past three years, our prominent exhibiting artists have included, among others, Marina Abramović (USA), Peter Kogler (Austria), Victor Sydorenko (Ukraine), Bill Viola (USA), Jelena Bulajić (Serbia), Eija-Liisa Ahtila (Finland), Radu Comșa (Romania), Mohau Modisakeng (South Africa), Žarko Bašeski (Macedonia), Yoko Ono (USA), Oleg Kulik (Russia) and Chiharu Shiota (Japan).

This year’s festival is entitled Old and New Dreams. 19 thematically linked exhibitions and 52 related programs await visitors in the downtown of Szentendre.



Idios Kosmos


Dream is art’s accomplice. We are all artists in our dreams: at such times, unusual, often symbolic images arise, along with surprising stories and exciting associations, which relate to the world that we experience while awake in an autonomous manner. The images of our dreams show conspicuous similarities with works of art. “The dream is World, the world is Dream,” wrote Novalis.[*]

It bears witness to the inexhaustible richness of artworks in how many different ways they can be enjoyed: every interpretation is by necessity different, however small these differences may seem. Though dreams can be classified, it is their defining characteristic that as experiences, they are exclusive to individuals. When awake, we share our world with others, while our dreams are our own only. They include our fears, desires, and past—many think our future as well. Two and a half millennia ago, in Ephesus, Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher called the dream an idios kosmos, a private universe no one else can own. Today, we still agree with him. Dream is an individual’s immeasurably vast and rich realm, probably the only treasure he or she cannot be divested of.

This year’s Art Capital undertakes to show something of this extraordinary richness—of this “unconscious” vehicle of the deepest human concerns—with the help of art. Rather than employing considerations established by psychoanalysis, the exhibitions and events look at dreams by focusing on those compelling odysseys of freedom that become manifest in dream experiences. When in art we imagine to be dreaming, our imagination creates a primordial, dreamlike state we like to return to again and again—if we can. Because what is necessary for the enjoyment of art is not only a state of grace on the part of the recipient, but first, good works as well, and situations (such as captivating exhibitions) that provide them with a perspective. Szentendre, the Hungarian capital of the visual arts now offers such an abundance of the latter that is certain to delight all art lovers.


Szentendre, 1 May 2019,

Gábor Gulyás

Chief Curator of Art Capital


[*] Novalis: Heinrich von Ofterdingen (John Owen’s translation). Cambridge: John Owen, 1842, 195.



A seminal figure of Hungarian painting with an international prestige, Béla Czóbel influenced the development of his native country’s art almost from the beginning of his career, in a manner already recognized by his own contemporaries. Along the way, he also left his impression in several of the centres of European modernism. A year after his arrival in Paris, in 1904 he won the Académie Julian’s drawing competition, while he also took part at several exhibitions, and from 1906 he was regularly featured in the fauve section of the Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Indépendants. He was one of the reformers of the Nagybánya artist colony, and he was a member of the Budapest group, The Eight. Later he joined the modern artists of the Netherlands, and made his home in Bergen, only to become involved in the work of the German Die Brücke group as well. He had important solo exhibitions in Paris, Berlin and New York. In 1940 he permanently moved to Szentendre. In addition to the largest Hungarian public collections, his works can be found in several of the world’s leading museums.
Czóbel was the first painter to have a museum dedicated to him in Hungary in his own lifetime. Many have contributed to the collection – including his own daughter, Lisa Czóbel – since the Museum was opened in 1975, but the permanent exhibition changed little over the decades. However, when it came to creating the concept of the new permanent exhibition after the 2016 renovation of the museum, the emphasis was not on permanence. The core material itself, which selects from the holdings of the museum, will be renewed year after year, and a room will now be dedicated to Czóbel’s graphic works, which will receive more attention than formerly. Additionally, and in a break with the former practice, works from private and public collections will be on deposit and will be integrated into the structure of the permanent exhibition, adding nuances and new insights to what is an exceptional and formidably rich oeuvre.
The new exhibition presents the stages of the painter’s career in a chronological order, with sections dedicated to the different locales. We introduce his start in Nagybánya, his Fauvist period in Paris, his output at the time of joining The Eight, his time in the Netherlands, and the Berlin years of his association with the German Expressionists. His subsequent return to Paris was followed by a long period, the acme of his career, when he moved back and forth between the French capital and Szentendre.
This year the focus of the restaging is on research.
The Museum’s core collection itself presents a number of misteries we are working to resolve, while most of the pieces that have been lent to us this season also pose questions; what is more, some of these works were thought to have been lost, or were even unknown to us, until they resurfaced recently.
The new exhibition seeks to address essential problems of art history and museology, questions of dating, attribution and provenance, the identity of models, and so on. Notes accompanying the works offer insights into new research findings, and as in former years, we provide a view behind the scenes with pieces taken out of storage only recently. We even show you the verso of one work or another.
The exhibition, now in its 4.0 installation, continues to be centred around such periods of the oeuvre that are not, or are barely, represented in the Museum’s collection. This year again we have been lent quite a few works from the early periods, which were made in Paris, Nagybánya or Bruges, and our display of the Berlin period has been complemented with true masterpieces. For the first time, we devote a particular attention to the post-1925 periods in Paris and Hatvan, and present a work that has very much to do with Szentendre, but has arrived from Paris.



Once again, we are grateful to those who lent us works!


Margit KOVÁCS, Queen of the Danube

Thanks to the decorative modelling, the subjects of human interest, the mythological and biblical stories, the Kovács Margit Ceramics Museum welcomes visitors with a loveable, familiar world. With a playful spirit, individual outlook and superficial decorativeness, Margit Kovács’s ceramic works breathe new life into the squat, coarse forms of Romanesque churches, the slender, delicate shapes of Gothic cathedrals, the rigid yet sublime manner of Byzantine manuscript illustrations, the charming meticulousness of gingerbread moulds, the distinctive lineation of ivory carvings, the ornate simplicity of pottery, the blocky quality and flat tendrils of Celtic reliefs, the elongated, concise forms of Asian sculpture, the colourful, stylized world of an Art Nouveau that employs patterns with a Hungarian taste.

We have applied a new approach to our presentation of Margit Kovács’s multifaceted oeuvre, her bravura technique and richness of themes, a career that was invariably successful. The timeline is no longer continuous, and certain periods receive more attention; well-known pieces are highlighted, and ones that have not been on view for a long time are now displayed. The new arrangement also features documents, letters and photos from the as-yet-uncatalogued estate, adding nuance to the image of Margit Kovács’s personality. This revamped exhibition greatly extends the view of the oeuvre, presenting, in addition to the material held in Szentendre, a collection of such outdoor and public works that are scattered across Hungary, and which include both pieces already known and ones newly identified. With the use of interactive surfaces, archival photos and videos, this fresh, dynamic display brings the works of Hungary’s most popular ceramic artist closer to the audience, and evokes the periods during which Margit Kovács made ceramics.



It seems an impossible task to lay bare the entirety of Czóbel’s rich oeuvre. All we know about the output of an exceptionally long career, which spanned almost the entirety of the 20th century, should be considered – with a slight exaggeration – just the tip of the iceberg. It is to be assumed that the artist made at least as many more paintings and graphic works as we know today. What is especially regrettable is that the most outstanding works of Czóbel’s career are missing: we are aware of major works from his most important periods whose current whereabouts are unknown. The complete output of years has disappeared from sight, and there are periods which are almost completely blank spots for research; it is certain that whatever resurfaces of these works will also have a decisive influence on the international recognition of Czóbel’s oeuvre.


During several phases of his career, Czóbel was in the vanguard of modernist movements, and the works he made in Paris and Berlin were particularly likely to be decimated by the cruelty of 20th-century history.


Some of his latent works we know only from descriptions, recollections, interviews, contemporary reviews, letters or exhibition catalogues, though there are also a number of archival photos, which are the most useful for the art historian.


With a selection of black-and-white reproductions and other archival photos from the first half of Czóbel’s career, up to 1925, this exhibition hopes to give a modest overview of what important works have disappeared from the oeuvre almost without a trace.


In most cases we are in the dark about the dimensions of a work, which can only be approximated by the enlargements. We know the original dimensions of five works in total, where we did provide the figures.


This exhibition and the related media campaign is hoped to draw more attention to the lost works, some of which may be recovered. Every painting, whether we have been aware of it or not, adds considerably to our knowledge of the oeuvre, and helps us to present it in more detail.


We are grateful for any piece of information, which you can send us through the official channels of Ferenczy Museum Centre, or directly to the curator of the exhibition, Gergely Barki (



Public Private Affairs

The ArtMill’s spring exhibition presents a selection of works from thirty Hungarian private collections, which were created during the colourful, bold, and “topsy-turvy” decade that followed the regime change. The displayed works, numbering over two hundred, are indicative of the contending collection practices of the time and show how art was defined not only by styles and schools, but by individual approaches. Key elements of the latter factor include personal approach, involvement, and the process by which the viewer “takes in” the art. Here, life and art deliberately connect; a significant portion of the artwork is defined by discourse on the diverse roles of art.
The young artists of the era – members of today’s middle generation – saw as their main task the evaluation of the validity of surviving genres and the initiation of communication at the social level. In contemporary art, the ‘90s brought with it a blurring of boundaries and a new permeability between genres: the classic genres, too, were pervaded with medium consciousness. Installations, various objects, elements of pop culture, different methods of reproduction (Xerox, digital print) and digital imaging techniques were given a key role. Additionally, identity awareness, constant (self-)reflection and the message-conveying function of the artist’s chosen medium were brought to the fore.
The exhibition consists of three thematic parts. The first unit contains medium-conscious art as determined by the self-reflective use of a given medium, thereby expanding the previous definitions of individual media and blurring the lines between genre-based categories. Works in the second section represent the new themes and roles of art and artists – from gender discourse to the dialogue between high culture and pop culture, and the dichotomy of the community and the individual. The third unit offers insight into the relationship between the postmodern and the lingering neo-avantgarde, with special regard to the fact that collectors’ preferences were so significantly influenced by the art of the ‘60s and ‘70s at this time that it strongly determined the direction of contemporary art collection.
The exhibition offers the most comprehensive overview to date of Hungarian visual art in the ‘90s as represented in private collections.
Exhibiting artists
Zoltán Ádám, Tamás Asszonyi, Gábor Bachmann, Tibor Bada Dada, Imre Bak, Gábor Bakos, Éva Bányász, Márton Barabás, András Baranyay, Ákos Birkás, Zoltán Bohus, Csaba Borgó, András Böröcz, András Braun, Imre Bukta, József Bullás, Margit Czakó, Marianne Csáky, Lajos Csontó, Simon Csorba, Attila Csörgő, Pál Deim, István efZámbó, Róza El-Hassan, El Kazovszkij, Ágnes Előd, Ágnes Eperjesi, Gábor Erdélyi, János Fajó, Gábor Farkas, László Fehér, Ernő Fejér, Balázs Fekete, László feLugossy, Róbert Ferenczi, Péter Földi, Aatóth Franyó, Tamás Fuchs, József Gaál, Tamás Galambos, Pál Gerber, Gábor Gerhes, Teodor Graur, László Gyémánt, Tibor Gyenis, László Haffner, Kinga Hajdú, Halász Károly, Péter Tamás Halász, István Harasztÿ, Tamás Hencze, Katalin Hetey, Tibor iski Kocsis, Antal Jokesz, Attila Joláthy, György Jovián, Katalin Káldi, Zsigmond Károlyi, Károly Kelemen, Gábor Kerekes, Balázs Kicsiny, Károly Kismányoki, Imre Kocsis, Tamás Komoróczky, András Koncz, Tamás Konok, János Korodi, Endre Koronczi, János Kósa, Tamás Kótai, Gergő Kovách, Tamás Körösényi, Éva Köves, Milorad Krstić, Adrián Kupcsik, Ferenc Lantos, Little Warsaw (András Gálik, Bálint Havas), Ilona Lovas, Bence Marafkó, Dóra Maurer, Lóránt Méhes, Suzanne Mészöly, László Mulasics, István Nádler, Csaba Nagy, Gábor György Nagy, Kriszta xT Nagy, Csaba Nemes, Hajnal Németh, László Ottó, László Ősi, Zoltán Ötvös, Rudolf Pacsika, Sándor Pinczehelyi, Marilena Preda-Sânc, Péter Pruttkay, Sándor Rácmolnár, András Ravasz, László László Révész, Péter Rónai, Gábor Roskó, János Saxon Szász, Ede Sinkovics, Tamás St. Auby, János Sugár, Róbert Šwierkiewicz, Tamás Szabó, Pál Szacsva y, Péter Szarka, Lilla Szász, Zoltán Szentirmai, Ágnes Szépfalvi, András Szigeti, Kamilla Szíj, Tamás Szikor, Lenke Szilágyi, István Szili, János Szirtes, László Szotyory, Attila Szűcs, Claudia Tamási, György Tóth, Tamás Trombitás, Csaba Uglár, Péter Újházi, Zsuzsi Ujj, Andrej Vagin, Róbert Várady, Ferenc Varga, Dénes Wächter, András Wahorn, Imre Weber, András Wolsky, Gábor Záborszky, István Zsakó, Ildikó Zsemlye
Collaborating art collectors and collections
AX Invest, Lajos Barabás, Péter Barta, Zoltán Bodnár, András Feuer, Sándor Gönczy, László Hradszki, Gábor Hunya, Inda Gallery, Irokéz Collection, János Janikovszky, Karvalits–Szelényi Collection, Péter Kacsuk, Gábor Kozák, Ludman–Gyuricskó gyűjtemény, Viktor L. Menshikoff, MissionArt Collection (László Jurecskó, Zsolt Kishonthy), Attila Rátfai, János Rechnitzer, László Rónaszéki, Collection of Zsolt Somlói and Katalin Spengler, Balázs Szluka, László Szölke, Szűcs Collection, Tamás Szűcs, Attila Till, Árpád Tóth, Újlak Collection, Gábor Vértes, László Zimányi and his Wife

Exhibition catalogue