City guide
10 exceptional Budapest gallery exhibits on view in winter 2016
Photo : Deák Erika Gallery
10 exceptional Budapest gallery exhibits on view in winter 2016

From historic photos to avant-garde Magyar-made artworks, our new seasonal roundup of Budapest gallery exhibits presents varied displays appearing at galleries citywide, all welcoming the public with free entry. While most of these shows highlight the works of established or up-and-coming Hungarian artists, international visionaries are also included in our coverage – here are our top picks of where to go to catch up with Budapest’s blooming art scene.

“My Neighborhood – Budapest Downtown” “VÁRFOK 25” “Northern Lights” “Sound Of Us” “B[L]ACK but WHY[TE]” “of places no longer being separated” “Vacant City” “Joyride” “SeaSonSinHell” “Supremacy”

“My Neighborhood – Budapest Downtown”

The exhibition My Neighborhood – Budapest Downtown: public spaces from a personal viewpoint” shows the history of downtown Pest during the past hundred years through private recordings – all this presented in a multimedia form. The footages from family archives and passionate amateurs are both personal memories and documents of the city’s history. The stories intersect – not necessarily in a chronological order – along the typical experiences and endowments of certain parts of the city, and sometimes they run along each other through a lifetime.

Where: Projekt Gallery – Budapest 1053, Kossuth L. u. 14-16
The exhibition can be visited until January 30.

“VÁRFOK 25”

Photo: Várfok Gallery Facebook
Várfok Gallery, one of the first private contemporary art galleries in Hungary, celebrates its 25th Jubilee this year with a special anniversary exhibition, titled “Várfok 25”. It focuses on the history of the Várfok Gallery and its place in the Hungarian contemporary art scene over the past 25 years, taking place at three viewing halls: at the Várfok Gallery, at the Várfok Project Room, and at the District I Municipal Gallery, the Várnegyed Gallery. The one at Várfok Project Room – where the Gallery opened its doors in 1990 – focuses on its early beginnings with the joint exhibition of the work of Pál Gerber, Gábor Gerhes, Balázs Kicsiny, and György Kungl. The Gallery’s exhibition – which extends to the Várnegyed Gallery in the ‘neighborhood’ – features iconic works of their invited artists, and also, their archive photographs and material. Just a few invited artists: El Kazovsky, Aatoth Franyo, Francoise Gilot, and Sebastian Weissenbacher.

Where: Várfok Galéria – Budapest 1012, Várfok. u. 11
The exhibition can be visited until January 30.

“Northern Lights”

Photo: Deák Erika Gallery
Following his last show at Deák Erika Gallery, titled “Overcoloured”, Márton Nemes again experiments with controlled color-tracing. What happens when he blows the paint onto the canvas through thin, broken plastic foils, or through a torn wood, or puts the paint on the canvas with a reconstructed roller? Ethereally closed, yet endless spaces appear, which sometimes remind us to the structure of crystals, to the Northern Lights, or to the moment when fire and water meets. Nemes’s ambitions are clearly decipherable from his formalist search, as the movements, the dynamic compositions, and the exuberance of colors all suggest his major aspirations to show the unsurpassable and infinite power of nature.

Where: Deák Erika Gallery – Budapest 1061, Mozsár u. 1
The exhibition can be visited until January 30.

“Sound Of Us”

Photo: Trafó Gallery Facebook
Trafó Gallery currently hosts Budapest’s largest Japanese contemporary art exhibition, “Sound Of Us”, which focuses on Japanese sound art and examines the relation of Japanese culture and sound. The artists in their works depart from their interest towards the natural sounds of the living environment, showing the aesthetic aspects of musicality and noise. The impact of John Cage and the Fluxus movement in Japan made generations of artists engage with the question of noise, which has usually been approached through irony or absurdity and by the reinterpretation of functional objects. The positions show different interpretations of sound which are not exclusively visual, and they also approach sound with a sense of intellect.  

Where: Trafó Galéria – Budapest 1094, Liliom u. 41
The exhibition can be visited until January 31.

Trafó
  • 1094 Budapest, Liliom utca 41.

“B[L]ACK but WHY[TE]”

Photo: TOBE Gallery Facebook
Our cities and landscape are going through a constant change: they are destroyed by human interference, or being changed for a more neutral setting. Often we don’t even notice these phenomenas, we consider them natural. The title of Tomas Opitz’s newest exhibition at TOBE Gallery, “B[L]ACK but WHY[TE]”, reflects on it: it can be understood as the expression “black and white”, meaning that certain things are being forgotten since technology rewrites the past. The traditional black-and-white method is connected to the past, and a very small circle of connoisseurs. The other interpretation of the concept of the series is “back but why” – why should we go back to darkness, to the destruction, to the oppression, to war, to ignorance? We should be aware of the quiet destruction of our cities, be sensitive about the loud intervention of our landscapes, because this is as much ours as no one elses.

Where: TOBE Gallery – Budapest 1136, Herzen u. 6
The exhibition can be visited until February 12.

“of places no longer being separated”

Photo: Ani Molnár Gallery Facebook
Dénes Farkas’s installation at Molnár Ani Gallery, titled “of places no longer being separated”, is built up of text fragments and photos raising questions about reality, existence, and human relationships. His works depicting black-and-white fictitious spaces or abstract-like representations of everyday life environments are to provoke understanding of human existence and their role within their surroundings in a way that motivates viewers to create their own narrative. The photos of the present exhibition also create an intimate physical and mental space along the line of a letter. Both the letter fragments and the photos can be perceived as parts of a diary, which leads the viewers to a not only philosophical, but also psychological interpretation of the work. Exploring the intertwined net of text fragments and photos and their connotations, one is facing more and more questions without finding any answer as proceeding in the exhibition space.

Where: Molnár Ani Galéria – Budapest 1088, Bródy Sándor u. 22
The exhibition can be visited until February 12.

“Vacant City”

Photo: Lakatlan Budapest Facebook
KÉK (Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Center) launched a new project in 2012 about the use of vacant facilities. The Lakatlan Város (Vacant City) program aimed at finding innovative solutions for the community-based regeneration of vacant urban properties. The program brought together initiatives that had contributed to the city’s social cohesion, life quality, and local economic development with property owners who are willing to make alliances with community energies to revitalize their spaces and neighborhoods. Their vision was (and still is) a city whose resources are constantly renewed and where vacant properties can accommodate new functions while value-creating initiatives can find new spaces. The exhibition “Vacant City opening at the gallery of KÉK on January 15th will present places the project’s founders focused at in the past years, people they learned from or worked with, and also people they managed to help already.

Where: KÉK – Budapest 1111, Bartók Béla út 10-12
The exhibition opens on January 15 and can be visited until February 16.

“Joyride”

Photo: Horizont Gallery Facebook
József Tasnádi lives and works in Budapest. Through his works, he explores the relations between contradiction and visuality. At present his focus has turned towards multimedia installation and intervention art. Through his newest exhibition at Horizont Gallery, titled “Joyride”, he deals with the following questions: who (and under what circumstances) has the right to take a life away violently – whether it’s an innocent mother, a murderer sentenced to death, or an apple tree that just started to bloom? Another question emerges when talking about “Joyride” – who has the right to take a step back and try to interpret the sight and fact of the murder?

Where: Horizont Galéria – Budapest 1066, Zichy Jenő u. 32
The exhibition can be visited until February 17.

“SeaSonSinHell”

Photo: ACB Gallery Facebook
acb Gallery will host the first solo exhibition in Hungary of Kendell Geers, the world-renowned artist of South African origin. Geers’s exceptionally provocative art, which reacts to the issues of contemporary art and society with strong critical reflections, takes up a significant position in the international art scene. Kendell Geers’s new exhibition, entitled “SeaSonSinHell”, reflects on the most recent events in Europe ranging from the Greek economic and the refugee crises to the terror attacks in Paris and the lockdown of Brussels. Operating with the mediums of photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, and performance, the artist employs a wide range of references – from art history to pornography, iconography to kitsch, or complex political references to racial or religious stereotypes – to create critical, humorous, and confrontational works that disrupt social norms and codes.

Where: acb Galéria – Budapest 1068, Király u. 76
The exhibition opens on January 15 and can be visited until March 3.

“Supremacy”

Photo: ACB Attachment Facebook
As its title suggests, Péter Tamás Halász’s latest exhibition, “Supremacy”, hosted by ACB Attachment, is at once a commentary to Kazimir Malevich’s theory of suprematism and a new artistic realization of Halász’s social and visual criticism. Similarly to many of his earlier works, the exhibited objects of Halász are operational objects whose impact lies in the interplay between their form and functionality. Assembled from familiar components of domestic appliances, but their function unidentifiable based merely on their appearance, the surfaces of the objects display some well-known suprematist compositions by Malevich. A point of reference for figuring out the functionality of the objects is provided by thermographic images, in which the surfaces of different temperature appear in different colors, revealing not only the function of the objects, but also the acronyms hidden under their surface. Through these acronyms, which are more-or-less well-known English abbreviations of institutions and concepts, the artist addresses such ideas, phenomena, and problems as human rights, wealth and poverty, and environmental pollution.

Where: acb Attachment – Budapest 1068, Eötvös u. 2
The exhibition opens on January 15 and can be visited until March 3.