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Floating Infinity. Žilvinas Kempinas – Attila Csörgő – Miklós Erdély

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Floating Infinity. Žilvinas Kempinas – Attila Csörgő – Miklós Erdély

Building D, 1st Floor - 13 December 2018 - 19 May 2019

The exhibition of highlights from the Collection of International Art after 1800, housed in the refurbished halls of the Hungarian National Gallery, is divided into two distinct sections, resulting from the way in which the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts developed over time. The first section deals with nineteenth-century art, while the second focuses on art from the second half of the twentieth century as well as contemporary trends. To bridge the gap between these two entities, with their vastly differing characters, we have come up with a novel solution. Midway through the sequence of halls, in an “interim zone” marked in grey, we have set up a special “cabinet room” to host temporary dossier exhibitions.

This can be regarded as a revival of the series of cabinet exhibitions launched in 2009 by the Collection of International Art after 1800. In its earlier setting, a cabinet room in the Museum of Fine Arts, pieces from the collection were brought face-to-face with “guest works”, often as a way of exploring the connections and transitions between the “old” and the “new”, between classical and contemporary art, and of reflecting on questions and methodological aspects of art history, art theory, and museology (the artists whose works featured in the earlier series included György Jovánovics, László Lakner, Ilona Keserü, and Alan Sonfist).

Opening this December, the new “cabinet room” is launching with a thematic dossier exhibition centred on one of the latest acquisitions of the Museum of Fine Arts, an installation entitled Lemniscate (2007) by Žilvinas Kempinas, which is making its Hungarian debut inside the walls of our institution. A few years ago, when preparing for the acquisition, we decided to purchase this specific work of the artist because it offered exciting opportunities for establishing a dialogue between Kempinas’s interpretation of the Möbius strip and Hungarian conceptual and post-conceptual uses of the same motif. Among Hungarians, the œuvres of two artists in particular stood out: Miklós Erdély and Attila Csörgő.

In our cabinet room, we are now bringing together works by these three artists: our recently acquired installation by Kempinas is joined by pieces borrowed from other collections, public and private. Conceptual photomontages by Miklós Erdély entitled Time Travel (1975) and Time Parenthesis (ca. 1976) are accompanied by Time Möbius (1975), a text written by the same artist; Clock-Work (2015) by Attila Csörgő, meanwhile, can be regarded as a continuation of Erdély’s train of thought about time circling in on itself.

These thematically associated works take the simple shape of the Möbius strip as their starting point and reflect on the complex relationship between time and space, pondering on the nature of infinity and on the challenges of trying to make infinity visible: by warping linear space and time, a kind of time loop is created, which adds a new layer of significance to the very location of the cabinet room, placed within the exhibition of highlights at the junction between the “past” and the “present”. In addition, this dossier exhibition sets up a dialogical exchange between works by Hungarian artists and those from abroad, examining the potential for discourse between national and international phenomena.