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10 best exhibitions in Budapest this autumn

With museums and galleries now fully operational, there's a whole range of fascinating exhibitions to choose from this autumn, displaying everything from an authentic pharaoh's tomb to the contemporary street art of Budapest. Here are ten top suggestions!


Black Light

Canadian photographer Margaret Watkins is best remembered for her innovative contributions to advertising photography. A successful career woman at a time when it was a rarity, she had her own studio in Greenwich Village in the 1920s and was editor of a respected annual photography publication. This retrospective at the Mai Manó House, Black Light, shows 120 of her photographs, dating between 1914-1939. Among them are portraits and landscapes, still lives, street scenes and commercial designs.


Budapest Street Archaeology

Two decades of street art from around the Hungarian capital have been collated for this exhibition, introducing influential Hungarian artists, projects and artefacts. The aim is to familiarise children with the latest visual culture so they might better appreciate and protect their surroundings. Exhibiting artists include 0036MarkMihajlo Kolodko and Rapa 73.


Cloaca, Canals and Closets

The cultural history of human waste is the subject of Cloaca, Canals and Closets, an exhibition so popular it's been extended until 9 January next year. Showing images and models of the equipment used to facilitate this basic human function, Klóaka, Kanális, Klozet at the Kiscelli Museum floats the most fundamental of questions. Were the Dark Ages really that dark? (Perhaps not, it turns out.) How long have their been private bathrooms? And flush toilets


Design Without Borders

The Design Without Borders exhibition has been a defining forum of Hungarian artistic life for many years. This time, in addition to works by more than 120 artists from 16 countries, you can see aspirational creations with special attention to Slovenia introducing its Made in Slovenia - The Future of Living exhibition. The main selection showcases renowned artists such as Finland’s Yrjö Kukkapuro and Erja Hirvi, Spain’s Jamie Hayón and Ross Lovegrove from Wales.


The Discovery of the Pharaoh’s Tomb

Under the reign of Pharaoh Amenhotep II in about 1400 BC, the Egyptian Empire was in its pomp, and the legendary ruler was buried in suitable luxury. As cultures flourished and fell around him, his body lay in almost undisturbed tranquillity until being discovered and excavated with great care by French archaeologist Victor Loret in 1898. Centrepieced by the original tomb, this major exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, The Discovery of the Pharaoh’s Tomb, tells the story of this mighty ruler of Ancient Egypt – and how he was found thousands of years later. Until 9 January 2022.


From Home Back Home

This group exhibition at the Zsófi Faur Gallery on Bartók Béla út is one of the most interesting in this year’s Photo Month. This meeting of fine arts and literature runs until 5 November. The dialogue revolves around the concept of home: what, how many of it can it look like, what makes it the place where we live? Hungarian writers have also reacted to the works created by Hungarian artists, so images and text form a unity at one of the more unusual exhibitions currently on show.


Layers of Contingency

One of the outstanding events surrounding the Pilinszky 100 series, to celebrate this post-war poet, is the exhibition Layers of Contingency, presenting his photographs at the Műcsarnok. Pilinszky began photography in 1965. He believed the camera was great for forcing his user to be constantly open and present but he also took photos to capture his travels abroad, the main focus of these 66 images. Subjects include sacred buildings, monuments and, in 1967, Swinging London, which offered Pilinszky honesty and hope. His muse, Jutta Scherrer, was another inspiration. Pilinszky often referred to his poems as images – some are also exhibited here.


The Szigetbecse Photos of André Kertész

Legendary Hungarian photographer André Kertész was long linked to the little community of Szigetbecse, where spent his childhood years and later established his art, vision and personality. From here, he began his career that stretched over nearly eight decades, making him famous around the world. Seventy images selected for the village by Kertész himself are now on display at the Capa Center until 31 December.


Time Machine

This exhibition at the Ludwig Museum is not about the science-fiction possibility of time travel, but an analysis of the relationship between time and art from different perspectives. The displayed works reveal different aspects of personal, artistic and historical time from the curator’s personal point of view. The exhibition is introduced by works related to time and its passing, as well as significant dates. The viewer gets an insight into individual lives, family stories and the intricate history of Central and Eastern Europe, as illustrated by family photos and diaries. It opened on the Hungarian national holiday of 20 August 2021 and closes just before New Year’s Day, 2023.


Truth in Semblance

The last in a four-part series presenting contemporary German art at the National Gallery, Truth in Semblance showcases the successful career of Gerhard Richter, soon to celebrate his 90th birthday. Raised in the Nazi era, this long-term resident of Cologne escaped to the West from East Germany shortly before the building of the Berlin Wall. This is the first time in Hungary that such a comprehensive exhibition can be seen of his work, which deals with themes of freedom, attachment and detachmentGerhard Richter can be considered one of Germany’s greatest living artists, someone who lived through much of the turbulence of the 20th century. The 3,000 works he created are not easy to classify into different eras, his oeuvre typified by the continuous blurring of reality and appearance, capturing a moment and realising its disappearance, and the relativity of specific historical periods, their transient political and social systems. Doubt and scepticism are the result. It runs until 14 November.


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