Art Capital

18 new exhibitions • 52 programs • 73 artists
Central-Eastern Europe’s largest fine art festival

Welcoming speech by: Gábor GULYÁS museum director, chief curator of Art Capital

Introduction by: Dorottya GYÜRK, Szentendre’s deputy mayor for culture

The Art Capital will be opened by: László feLUGOSSY, artist, poet

Contributor: János KARÁCSONY, guitarist, singer

On 25 May from 3 pm, visitors will be welcomed by artists and curators at all exhibitions. On the day of opening the Art Capital exhibitions are open from 3 pm to 8 pm.

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.

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Substance and Body. Anthropocentrism Toxicosis

The Moscow-based artist is an emblematic representative of so-called post-human art. He has regularly taken part at international exhibitions and festivals since 1988. He makes sculptures and reliefs that are as monumental as they are elaborate, using polymers and occasionally 3D printing. He also produces kinetic and interactive installations, complete with film and audio. His work synthesises science, art and technology, and he often involves engineers and programmers in the creative process.

His first exhibition in Hungary focuses on his Anthropocentrism Toxicosis series, which thematizes the vulnerability of humanity, the changes in the physical body and the mind. In Kawarga’s view, humanity will soon disown its biological self, and separate from its physical body. However, in addition to looking at how things human and non-human are related, and using the opposition of organic nature and geometric technology to reveal how the population changes, this special artistic project shows these changes, above all, in the crisis of anthropocentrism, which posits man as the centre and ultimate cause of the world. Objects are presented in Plexiglas cylinders, compacted in prisms, and sometimes on their own: discarded things that have survived their own worlds, flowing over and covering a postapocalyptic wasteland. The site-specific installation offers a view into the world of a post-human vision.

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Sleeping Beauty is Dead

Under the nickname Tereskova, Kriszta Nagy is a well-known singer. She studied at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in the 1990s with Lajos Sváby, Árpád Szabados, and Dóra Maurer. Since 1998 her works has been regularly exhibited in museums and galleries; till now her largest show was organized in 2007 at the WAX Kultúrgyár [WAX Cultural Factory] in Budapest. Such important public or private collections own her works as the Ludwig Museum in Budapest, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Dunaújváros, the Antal-Lusztig Collection in Debrecen, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Berlin. Kriszta Nagy made a significant impact beyond the art scene with her giant poster that was showed at Lövölde Square, Budapest in 1999; it held the inscription Kortárs festőművész vagyok [I am a contemporary painter]. Two decades later, a new version of her famous poster called Sleeping Beauty is Dead is on the show, and can be seen from May 2019.

Kriszta Nagy x-T has been working at the Old Colony of Artists in Szentendre now for years; her new exhibition is a huge site-specific installation. The exhibition reflects on a female experience that can be best described as a never-ending longing for the prince on white horse. In the intimate atmosphere of the MűvészetMalom, the viewers may confront again the fairy tale about the girl who was cursed and put into a hundred-year-long dream. The story of Sleeping Beauty here ends with a different conclusion, that is, the prince is not a rescuer but he also is a victim. This happens because the road to happiness is damned, boys, just as girls, are caught, and this is often tragically fatal. The rewriting of Grimm’s original narrative is resulted in a frivolous contemporary project that utilises the solutions of classical painting, street art, literary texts and occasional music.

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Vienna-based artist and designer Eva Schlegel (1960) enjoys employing new methods of installation and balancing on the borderline between various genres; she often experiments with space and the relationship of artworks within it. She creates both ephemeral and durable pieces. In addition to prominent museums and galleries, she has also exhibited at several international biennials (Sydney, Venice); her works are held in such important collections as, for instance, the Albertina (Vienna), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), the Museum Moderner Kunst (Vienna), and the Norton Museum of Art (Miami).

Eva Schlegel’s central theme is artistic creation, which she represents as a kind of psychic trip that could also be thought of as the ecstasy of flight: at one moment, rising higher, conquering gravitation, at the next, plummeting uncontrollably. The title of the exhibition also alludes to the captivatingly ephemeral, transient nature of creation as a state of being; it points to the eternal human desire to experience freedom, to achieve the otherworldly, dream-like state of total ease and relaxation. It evokes the privilege of the gods, which, for the human being, appears almost impossible to experience, but which artists attempt to manifest nevertheless, again and again.
Schlegel’s displayed works create flight – or at least the bodily sensation of weightlessness and relaxation – within the virtual realm, in the form of moving images projected through aircraft propellers. In addition to these spatial installations, the exhibition also features a photo series by the artist: the displayed lacquer works, in reinterpreting pornography, invoke a feeling of floating induced by erotic pleasure.

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Born in 1969, the Munkácsy Prize winning artist studied graphic art and photography at the Hungarian College of Applied Arts, and then attended the director-cinematographer programme of the Academy of Drama and Film. She soon transgressed the boundaries of the genres and began to paint, make installations, and create performances. She has regularly exhibited at museums and galleries since the early 1990s; her most extensive display to date was at Ernst Museum in 2013. Her works can be found at prestigious public and private collections, including the Hungarian National Gallery, Kiscelli Museum, Pécs Gallery, and the Antal–Lusztig Collection. One of her special sculptures, which are modelled in water, was installed in a public space in the 11th District of Budapest in 2014. Last year she was featured at Art Capital with another work made with the same technique, which was exhibited in Bizottság Park.

Eszter Csurka’s latest, site-specific installation is a composition that runs through five rooms and relies on uniform audio and spatial effects. As they walk through the rooms, visitors are led from one space to the next by visually unified surfaces, while the disorientation, the uncertain spatial relations, the surfaces and forms that emerge from the darkness, the changes of scale, and the intensive colours, create a total-art experience, as it were. The title of the exhibition refers to a state between wakefulness and sleep, which experts call the alpha state. In this semi-wakeful state on the verge of consciousness, rational thinking gives way to the flow of associative, sensual and unconscious contents. Like in dreams, experiences during the alpha state cannot be reconstructed with absolute certainty; when recalled, space and time refuse to cohere.

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Paradise City – Five Readings of the City

Considered an important achievement in the “world improving” ideologies of modern civilization, the city is a metaphor for improvement conceived in a linear manner. Going far beyond the original theological contexts, the New Jerusalem, the Civitate Dei or the CitéRadieuse have all become charged with ambivalent meanings. This is what is evoked in the well-known song of the band, Guns N’ Roses, whose title we have borrowed, and in a like vein, the exhibition simultaneously highlights the aesthetic, social-critical, idealizing and demonic character of the city. All works on view reflect on the complexity of the 21st-century city and its effects on the individual.

With a three-channel painting-video that is slowed down for the tempo of contemplation, Attila Kondor (b. 1974) transposes the everyday vision of the urban environment to the level of ideas, and connects it with the harmonic archetypes ofcollective memory. Andi Schmied (b. 1986) presents a conceptual series of at-first-sight aesthetic photos that reveal the anomalies of the reservations that are spawned by the disparities between incomes. Stefan Osnowski (b. 1970) combines digital image-making and one of the oldest duplication techniques to produce large woodcuts that intentionally exaggerate the support and represent so-called “non-places” (Marc Augé), standardized locations that serve the movement of people, and do not invite them to stay. With photography and digital image-making, Balázs Csizik (b. 1987) looks at how housing developments influence visual culture. Urban structures also play the main part in the paintings of Kristóf Szabó (b. 1988), which represent the standardized buildings together with the errors that may occur during digital image processing, reflecting on how the impersonal behemoths are tamed. In the ground-floor space of the museum, the two younger artists also present a site-specific installation, which is centred around metaphors of the city.

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A Bird’s Dream

The artist was born in 1980 and graduated from the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in 2006. Since then, he has been working in many genres, like painting, creating art books, redesigning interiors of ruin bars, and making assemblages. He has also collected obsessively seemingly worthless or old objects. The artist is in love with stacking; discarded toys that evoke childhood, accessories, and trash are brought to new life by his hands. Regardless of any genres, the construction of images in his works can be characterized by the principle of horror vacui, that is, filling the entire surface with motifs, objects or other elements. The result looks like an organic proliferation of objects, in which the individual elements, for example a headless tin soldier or the back bumper of a Zsiguli [a nickname for Lada cars], are interconnected and thus require a new interpretation.

A Bird’s Dream is a lively site-specific project in the inner courtyard of Ámos Imre – Anna Margit Memorial Museum that operates with expressive and surreal forms. At the top of a five-meter-tall chicken leg one can find a house-shaped form built from found objects. This is a special fictitious building well-known from fairy tales, the one whirling on a duck’s leg. On the side of the yard with creeping ivy the artist placed God’s all-seeing eyes among the greenery.
The spirit of the installation is strongly connected to the late grotesque art of Margit Anna, but at the same time it can be interpreted as a complement of the Margit Anna memorial made by Péter Vladimir. The inner courtyard of the museum became a dreamy, strange satirical garden; one of its outdoor furniture, the lion’s bench, which was in bad condition, has now been renewed.

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Earning recognition internationally first as a professional athlete and then as a tattooist, the self-taught artist has dedicated himself completely to visual art since 2015. There is a distinctive formal and thematic character to his original world, as it became apparent at his first exhibitions in Czechia (Aleš South Bohemian Gallery in Hluboká nad Vltavou, and Pro Arte and Mánes, both in Prague), and at his 2017 appearance at the Miami Art Week. The same year he moved to Budapest, where he has been working ever since.

He is active in a variety of genres: while his photographs, objects and conceptual installations aim for powerful effects, the elaborate, nuanced drawn paraphrases of cave paintings, as well as the large paintings with sacral themes, invite a more concentrated, meditative form of reception. He feels unhindered by stylistic constraints, and crosses the boundaries of genres as a matter of course. He likes to mix different techniques, and often plays with the surfaces created by the paint. The tightness of his compositions goes hand in hand with an expressive penchant; a picture may be dominated by gestural painting or a geometric strain of the abstract approach, but neither is without the other in any of his works. He often represents disquietingly strong emotions and moods, taken from their original perspectives and condensed with meditative slowness. This is his first solo exhibition in Hungary.

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Péter Tamás Halász (b. 1969) graduated as a painter at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in 1998, in Dóra Maurer’s class. He has had solo exhibitions at Protokoll Studio in Cluj-Napoca, at Óbudai Társaskör Gallery, at Irokéz Gallery in Szombathely, and at acb Gallery in Budapest, among other places. In 2010 his works were featured at VOLTA NY, an art fair in New York City, and in 2014 he had a retrospective exhibition at Budapest Gallery.

The title of his latest exhibition refers not so much to a three-legged stand for cameras as to the tripartite structure in which the famous psychoanalyst, Jacques Lacan (1901–1981) interpreted the individual, and which comprises the overlapping orders of the imaginary, the symbolic and the real.
With engineering precision, Péter Tamás Halász makes special installations that highlight social, economic and ecological problems. His art is structured rationally, and the same rationality informs his approach even to dreaming, one’s innermost subjective experience. The motifs of his new installations include such symbols that evoke the outside world and refer to phenomena of international politics, computer operating systems, the problems of the ecosystem, or human aggression, while he also incorporates representations, by turns revealing and cryptic, of the most personal memories and experiences. And as he depicts physical reality, he also makes us confront the illusoriness of reality. We must recognize ourselves, our personal selves, in this overlapping condition; here we need to find the line between dream and reality, a way to discover ourselves outside the symbolic order, beyond the reach of reality.

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The Blanket

Barbara Nagy was born in Szentendre and currently works here at the Old Colony of Artists. She had graduated as a painter at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in 2005 in Dóra Maurer’s class, later she obtained her DLA at the same institution. She has spent a longer period in German art centers and in Rome with scholarships. She is a member of the Lajos Vajda Studio. In recent years she had solo exhibitions in several major galleries in Vienna, Budapest and Szentendre. Last year her public art work Garden Networks [Kert-hálózatok] was on display during the Art Capital in the Bizottság Park.
The artist’s latest site-specific installation consists of six intertwined beds that are covered with longer or shorter blankets made of colourful wool. The stone pillows, like tombstones, bear inscriptions about the transitory nature of life. Barbara Nagy’s installation highlights several layers and meanings of dreams: the bed as a symbolic object belongs to the territory of dream, an inner theater where the unconscious governs. At the same time, the bed as a place for the most important stages of fate, like procreation, birth, illness and death, expresses the chain of life. Different beds in the installation denote individuals who are together. Dream is a private space that becomes a public affair, it is an important message that comes from another world. Barbara Nagy’s conceptual work does not choose between any well-known dream interpretations, only opens a free way to the dream interpretations of the beholder.

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