8 exciting exhibits on view in Budapest during winter 2017
Photo : Hartyányi Norbert/We Love Budapest
1/11/2017, 11:52 AM●6-minute article
Many of Budapest’s monumental museums provide artfully heated getaways for those who want to escape the city’s subzero conditions by offering colorful collections of artworks spanning centuries-old paintings, contemporary visuals, progressive furniture, and expressive photographs. Some of the city’s current exhibitions present bygone periods from the history of Hungary’s capital, including demonstrations of life in Budapest during the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, while several displays are on view with modern-day artworks that provide stylishly vivid visions to culture aficionados.
“Specters and Experiments – Paintings by Attila Szűcs”
As one of Hungary’s most internationally renowned contemporary painters, Attila Szűcs transcends time through pictures that blend memory, history, modern reality, and unknown phenomena to define the role of paintings in an era oversaturated by digitalized images. The exhibit presents select works from the Hungarian painter’s ethereal oeuvre dating back over two decades. The often-ghostly scenes portrayed in Szűcs’s paintings range from the unknowable first moments of the Big Bang to Adolf Hitler exhibiting a moment of tenderness as he pets his canine companion – even though the dog is invisible on the canvas. Such mysterious visual paradoxes as these are common in Szűcs’s works, providing a thought-provoking experience for viewers.
Presenting landscapes and scenes of nature with richly layered abstract vision, the vibrant works of American artist Susan Swartz make viewers forget about the gray winter settings that currently envelop Budapest. The paintings on display stimulate the viewer to a state of meditative contemplation by mediating the artist’s own state of mind. Each picture is built around one color, ranging from subtle white, gray, and pale blue to loud purple, buoyant turquoise, sunny yellow, and blood-red compositions. To look for certain themes in the pictures would be a vain attempt, as the artist strides off the beaten path in this abstract world, demonstrating her most personal impressions – this is why the exhibition is titled “Personal Path‘.
Those who visit this unusual retrospective can learn how children were portrayed before the diverse forms of digitalized depictions gained a dominant role worldwide. Some 200 paintings, graphics, installations, photographs, and videos take museum visitors back to their childhood with artworks ranging from representations of Madonna with Baby Jesus to portraits of aristocratic children, where kids were immortalized through the eyes of adults – many of these illustrations suggest how noble parents desired their offspring to appear. Among the displayed pieces, we can find pictures capturing mothers breastfeeding or artworks demonstrating children in diverse settings, including during wars, and kids surrounded by poverty.
A selection of masterpieces is on show from the time of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy at “TheFirst Golden Age” exhibition, boasting oversized paintings portraying ordinary landscapes and prominent people of the era, including historic Budapest neighborhoods, and depictions of emperor Franz Joseph and Sissi, the Magyars’ beloved queen. Presenting an overview of some 200 paintings created over half a century, this vast exhibition is a collaboration between museums and private collectors from Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, and Croatia. The showcase is complete with pieces by renowned artists, including Austrian painter Hans Makart, Polish master Jan Matejko, or globally revered Hungarian painter Mihály Munkácsy, each depicting historic morsels of the era from different perspectives.
Visitors to the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts, found on Budapest’s Andrássy Boulevard, can immerse in Oriental textile items as they admire exotic apparel at the museum’s current exhibition, called “Nagas, Birds, Elephants”. Colorful outfits deriving from Southeast Asia are presented from varied viewpoints, including geographical, chronological, and anthropological perspectives, with each piece highlighting certain characteristics of the region, like traditions, religious beliefs, or rituals. Over 200 vibrant garments and jewelry pieces are displayed at the museum, including rarely seen items from Hungary’s public collections and objects that were brought directly from Southeast Asia specifically for this exhibition.
View a collection of historic images by Hungarian photographer Endre Schwanner, who creatively captured life in Hungary’s capital during the ’60s and ’70s. Some of the most iconic pictures of the photographer’s oeuvre convey Budapest’s vibrant arts sphere, including scenes from the theater, from concerts, or from motor-sport events. The exhibition is complete with videos and voice installations that help visitors understand what inspired Schwanner to immortalize certain moments depicted in his black-and-white images. “I only think about snapping a shot, when the performance or the artist (or both) mean something to me”, says the artist.
The Hungarian National Gallery pays tribute to Magyar painter, graphic designer, and puppet maker Lili Ország by showcasing a collection of her entire oeuvre through pictures, photos, and diverse documents that are related to her life. From surreal visuals to icon paintings to puppets, along with theatrical backdrops, viewers of the display are introduced to the varied eras of the life of an artist who continually strove to seek new motives that she used as recurring themes in many of her paintings, including the wall as an emblem of distress; however, she also gained inspiration from her journeys outside of Hungary. The highlight of the exhibit is the display of the Labyrinth series presented according to Ország’s original concept – this major installation contains more than 50 works of the artist, resulting in a never-before-seen composition.
View fascinating fixtures by globally revered Hungarian-born architect and furniture designer Marcel Breuer, now on show in the Museum of Applied Arts. As a master of the Bauhaus School, Breuer created a new architectural direction that made him one of the world’s most popular characters in the 20th-century design history. Among the pieces on view, visitors can view the artist’s conference table that once was part of his office in New York, alongside his famous Wassily Chair, the first-ever chair to feature a bent-steel frame and marked the beginning of a new era in modern furniture. Additionally, the exhibition shows office furnishings of seven contemporary Hungarian designers who were connected to Breuer or influenced by the master’s works.