Directions – A New Possibility in Acquisitions

Online jegyvásárlás

Directions – A New Possibility in Acquisitions

Building D, 1st floor, Cabinet exhibition - 29 April - 29 May 2022

Directions is the first exhibition to emerge from the cooperation between the Friends of Contemporary Art Nonprofit Company and the Museum of Fine Arts – Hungarian National Gallery. In 2021, six committed collectors of contemporary art (Attila Brezóczki, Sándor Gönczy, Gábor Pados, Katalin Spengler, Zsolt Somlói and László Vágó) founded the nonprofit company to promote the expansion of the contemporary collections of the Museum of Fine Art – Hungarian National Gallery, similarly to the organisations assisting the acquisitions of the Tate Modern (London) and the Centre Pompidou (Paris).

Each year, the curators of the four relevant collections (Hungarian National Gallery: Contemporary Collection and Collection of Prints and Drawings; Museum of Fine Arts: Art after 1800 and the Collection of Prints and Drawings) draw up a purchase list, with items then being selected for acquisition by members of the nonprofit company up to the amount of monetary donations. This novel type of cooperation between art collectors and museum curators is unprecedented in Hungary.

This year, based on the suggestions of the heads of the collection departments and following the purchase of artworks worth around HUF 11 million, the Contemporary Collection has been supplemented with works by major artists representing the 1990s and the contemporary figurative genre. In addition to the purchased artworks, two founding members of the Friends of Contemporary Art Nonprofit Company, namely Katalin Spengler and Zsolt Somlói, made a further donation, resulting in the inclusion in the collection of Hajnal Németh’s series Sunday to Monday. At this exhibition, the works purchased and donated with the support of the Friends of Contemporary Art Nonprofit Company are presented for the first time as part of the collection.

Lőrinc Borsos often employs appropriation in his art; in the Playing with Fire series, he/she used illustrations originally made for classical literary works by William Blake, pillorying the foundations of our morality. Nightwatch by Ákos Ezer is linked – even in its title – with the art historical tradition, reinterpreting and questioning that tradition in an ironic tone. The work Takes You Into by Márk Fridvalszki evokes the pop culture of the 1990s; its pair, Utopia, is already in the museum’s collection. The public artwork Direction Signs by Antal Lakner inspired the title of the exhibition. The work is the documentation of a conceptual, site-specific, and public installation. With its bright cold colours, Creating Silence by Gábor Pintér is a work metaphysical and contemplative in tone. In Flood, Sára Rózsa Luca draws an analogy between the cataclysm of biblical times and the current climate crisis. She asks what people can do after the disaster. Hajnal Németh’s series entitled Sunday to Monday is an early example of the application of computer programmes in Hungarian art. The 3D graphics react to the flaws and absurdities of the virtual world.

It is to be hoped that the exemplary cooperation with the Friends of Contemporary Art Nonprofit Company will see new donors in the future, thus enabling the acquisition of Hungarian and foreign works on a larger scale.

Highlights, curiosities

Hajnal Németh: From Sunday ’til Monday, 2001

In this series of seven computer-generated prints, Németh explores the issues of computational space and human representation through narratives describing various situations. The graphics are named after the seven days of the week. Human figures are shown in vulnerable situations on prints created using 3D architectural visualisation software. In the mundane yet absurd scenes, the figures – in a harsh and alien artificial milieu – are portrayed bathing feet or feeling sick. On consecutive days, we see an idealised virtual body (Tuesday) and one that has been tormented and seems to be covered with scars (Wednesday). The artist focuses on showing the flaws in the program and the possibility of the faulty depiction of the figures, objects, and spaces. This engenders a sort of uncertainty in the spatial position of the people and in their relationship towards clothing and the objects around them. Motifs referencing the sacral world and the afterlife are also present in an image of Christ and in a portrayal of the green soul of a dead cat. Repetition is a central element in the patterns of the walls of the created spaces, in the wallpapered or tiled surfaces, and in the depicted water plane, vegetation and shadows.

Luca Sára Rózsa: Flood, 2021

The primary theme in Luca Sára Rózsa’s art is the relationship between man and his environment. Her figures, taken from the Bible and mythology, are often shown in a natural setting in line with the representational portraiture of the Renaissance and the baroque. The two-headed figure in Flood, seated on a throne, suggests exaltation, which is in contrast with the vulnerability of her naked and slightly twisted body. This sense of vulnerability is underlined by the threat of the flood. It remains unclear, however, whether the watercourses shown in the barren hilly environment are the harbingers of an impending disaster or the mementoes of recent flooding. By this lack of clarity, the timing of the scene is called into question, thereby indicating the work’s timelessness and the cyclical nature of our world. The biblical flood is linked with the current global ecological crisis. Man, as both the cause and victim of this crisis, is confronted with his own finality in relation to the regenerative capacity of nature.

Márk Fridvalszki: Takes You Into, 2018

In his work Takes You Into, Márk Fridvalszki further develops the visual approach of computers, the World Wide Web and acid rave flyer culture that broke into the pop culture of the 1990s. The companion piece of the work, identical in size and technique, was donated to the Contemporary Art Collection of the Hungarian National Gallery in 2020. Fridvalszki’s works are full of hidden references, quotes, and logos as well as excerpts from flyers. In this work, looking through a gap in the middle part of the grid structure visible in the lower field, we see a picture of the universe, with planets of increasing size and, at the bottom, the following words in white “… takes you into the pleasure zone”. This detail stems from a flyer for the Dance Planet events held in Halesowen in February 1993. In the picture we can even see the icon for the computer program Macromedia FreeHand Version 5.5 as well as the MTV logo converted into the initials of Fridvalszki. In the upper left, a fictional poster with the inscription UTOPIA advertises an event featuring the most famous British DJs of the 1990s to be held on 21 August 1991, the night of the coup attempt in the Soviet Union shortly before its final collapse.

Directions – A New Possibility in Acquisitions

29 April - 29 May 2022

Online ticket purchase

Recommended exhibitions