Autumn is slowly settling in, providing a perfect time to quench our thirst for culture. Fortunately, during the fall Budapest hosts three amazing festivals where art aficionados can enjoy a colorful selection of programs ranging from classic exhibitions to performances, photography fairs, film screenings, studio visits, fashion shows, guided tours, and concerts. During the upcoming weeks, Budapest's major museums, galleries, ateliers, exhibition spaces, and even private apartments and vacant shop premises fill up with fascinating Magyar-made and international artworks.
A contemporary arts event realized by the cooperation of independent artists, gallerists, collectors, and curators is happening in Budapest between September 29th and November 5th. The festival provides a platform for up-and-coming local artists to meet and exchange ideas, and brings the international art scene closer to art enthusiasts. Taking over private apartments, vacant shop premises, industrial buildings, and alternative theaters, the festival invites the public to discover the city as well as its art by producing new artworks, exhibitions, publications, and plenty of exciting programs. Furthermore, OFF takes an active role in the social discourse on public issues, and considers art as a means to bring about change in society.
This year, the festival focuses on Gaudiopolis, which was a self-administered children’s republic in Budapest after World War II, founded by a Lutheran pastor, Gábor Sztehlo. Sztehlo saved hundreds of Jewish people from Nazi and Hungarian-fascist persecution during the war, and set up a home for children who lost their parents in an abandoned villa on Budakeszi Road. The children elected a government and representatives, drafted a code of laws, and had a desire to “relearn” democracy.
Just like Gaudiopolis did in the past, Biennále as a social initiative and its presented projects also aims to create experimental micro situations that could become new societal models in the future, seeking to build a better world on the ruins of a failed one. The exhibition “Somewhere in Europe” presents the history of Gaudiopolis alongside similar initiatives that most often were born out of the courage, perseverance, and the enthusiasm of private individuals.
- The exhibition of Piotr Wysocki and Dominik Jałowiński, titled “Run Free”, presents the aftermath of a meeting between two groups in permanent conflict: practitioners of parkour and the police. During a two-day workshop, the two groups joined their talents to achieve a common goal – the creation of a choreography to which both parties contributed with whatever they were best at: the police with getting information, and the traceurs with acrobatics.
- Szabolcs Kiss Pál’s installation, “From Fake Mountains to Faith”, examines the nature of political ideologies; as a case study, it aims to reveal the historical antecedents of the Hungarian state’s current concept of the nation.
- Manuel Pelmuş’s project, “Sketches of a Monument”, is a series of re-enactments and live-transformations of public sculptures and monuments in Budapest. Together with the teenage participants of his workshop, they choose representations of historically well-embedded values or those propagated by the current political regime. They reinterpret and produce new seemingly consensual ideas concerning social norms, values, and historically important moments while re-collectivising concepts of the commons.
Furthermore, countless other exciting cultural events await art enthusiasts during the time of this festival, while a wide range of pedagogical programs enable visitors to find a framework in which first-hand experience can be gained regarding how contemporary art contributes to a democratic society. Check out OFF-Biennále’s website and Facebook page for more information and for a detailed program.
Design Week Budapest
Magyar-made fashion, furniture, artworks, architecture, and much more will all be on display at various venues citywide, ranging from major museums to hidden ateliers, as the Magyar metropolis turns into a massive showroom between October 6th and 15th. Altogether, more than 120 exciting events await art aficionados at the fall’s biggest design festival, from exhibition openings to kid’s programs and workshops to all kinds of creative get-togethers.
The festival also aims to raise social awareness of the economic and social role of design, enhancing trust in design and facilitating communication between the actors of this field. The festival holds programs both for the public and for professionals, while other events explicitly support the work of economic policymakers. In addition to plenty of original programs, the organizers also provide a chance for professional partners – such as museums, institutions, schools, shops, design studios, and galleries – to introduce themselves and their work.
- One of the most anticipated programs each year is when various art studios hold open days, enabling guests to peep into their production processes. This year, DOT For You, a manufacturer specialized in crafting uniquely designed notebooks, invites everyone for a sneak peek; Hungary’s ever-creative Hello Wood organization presents their highlighted projects in the current year;and Printa – a design shop, an art gallery, a screen-printing studio, and a café all in one – presents the backgrounds of their sustainable collections.
- After appearing in Tate Modern in London, young French-Hungarian visual artist Dániel Labrosse returns to Budapest to present his new material featuring augmented reality. He uses multiple techniques in his thematically connected colorful illustrations: painting, computer graphics, and traditional animation are combined with augmented reality.
- At the presentation of Sarolta Végh’s tattooed jewelry collection, everyone is welcome to get inked – on their skin or on their new jewelry. The graphics by co-artist István Kárpáthegyi will also appear on Temporary’s tattoo stickers, and will be available on the spot.
- MadebyYou awaits everyone with six artists who present six different techniques of creating pretty patterns on pottery. Furthermore, several intriguing events entertain crowds, from exhibitions to fashion shows, conferences, guided tours, brunches, workshops, and fairs. For more information and the detailed program, check out Design Week’s website and Facebook page.
Art Market Budapest
Central Europe’s premier showcase for contemporary art is held from October 12th through the 15th in a labyrinthine display space covering almost 6,000 square meters at Millenáris Park. This international art fair efficiently and thought-provokingly combines inspiring artistic content originating from up-and-coming regions in and beyond Europe, as well as from the progressive new generation of artists. Countless exhibitors from 35 countries come together to showcase and sell a vast collection of contemporary artworks, like impressive paintings, sculptures, installations, and photographs.
Furthermore, an entire section and exhibition hall will be dedicated to the ever-evolving art of photography this year, providing a platform for one of the biggest international photo fairs in Central Europe, while several affiliated events like performances, guided tours, and concerts await guests at Art Market Budapest.
- Between October 12th and 15th, highly acclaimed fashion photographer Tony McGee presents his fantastic photographs taken of David Bowie between 1982 and 1992.
- At 4pm every day, Baghdad-born artist Joseph Semah presents an intriguing performance.
- The exhibition titled “Rediscover” presents the amazing works of neo-avant-garde artists who worked underground during the ’60s and ’70s in Eastern Europe, as their work was banned due to its criticism of the communist system. Between 6:30pm and 7:30pm on October 14th, visitors can enjoy a discussion between Maja and Reuben Fowkes (the curators of Translocal Institute for Contemporary Art in Budapest and in London), Vintage Gallery owner Attila Pőcze, and Darko Šimičić, the curator of the Tomislav Gotovac Institute in Zagreb, all addressing this fascinating period in photography and about its recent rediscovery.
- On October 13th, visitors can attend the Central European premiere of Real Fake: The Art, Life & Crimes of Elmyr de Hory, a documentary about one of the most notorious art forgers of the 20th century, who is alleged to have created thousands of fake paintings, most of which have never been identified as fake by the authorities, and still hang in major museums around the world. See it for yourself to determine whether Elmyr de Hory was a masterful criminal or a brilliant artist.