Artpool is an archive, library, documentation center and place of research concerning the progressive, non-official trends in Hungarian art in the 1970s and 1980s (including alternative art scenes and groups, underground art magazines, samizdat publications etc.) and contemporary avant-garde tendencies.
Artpool – beside being a research institute - defines itself as an active archive: seeks out new forms of societal activity, takes a formative role in processes, organizes events, documents, archives them and freely distributes information.
Budapest, Szabolcs utca 33
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Name of collection
- Artpool Art Research Center
Provenance and cultural activities
Artpool was established in 1979 on the basis of György Galántai's "Active Archive" conception as a center for the type of artistic practices that was officially condemned or prohibited by the Hungarian cultural authorities at the time. It was founded and is still run by György Galántai and Júlia Klaniczay, as an offshoot of György Galántai’s Chapel Studio, an artist-run space in Balatonboglár which opened in 1970 and, until its termination by the communist authorities in 1973, functioned as a centre of the officially proscribed neo-avant-garde.
Between 1979 and 1989, existing on the verge of being banned and tolerated, Artpool organised several exhibitions and events. From 1979 to 1982 Artpool sent out 30 issues of “Poolwindow,” a one page newsletter, to promote the participation of Hungarian artists in the international correspondence art network. From 1983 to 1985, Artpool published 11 issues of "AL" (Artpool / Alternative / Actual Letter), an underground art magazine which was an exceptional source on unofficial art of that time in Hungary. Eight programs of the Radio Artpool were "broadcasted" between 1983 and 1987 on audio cassettes.
The objectives of Artpool were to compensate for the isolation and lack of information that characterised Hungarian contemporary art at the time and document art events in Hungary that were out of favour with the era’s cultural policy and thus were not given any publicity. By collecting documents retrospectively and prospectively, the founders built an archive that allows future generations to build on the intellectual and artistic endeavours of the artists of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.
Initially, the Artpool project was defined by Galántai as an avant-garde art ‘archive’, which meant that it sought new forms of social action, organised various events, and proactively participated in processes going on at the time, while also documenting and archiving these events, occurrences, etc. and freely sharing information. Founded on the concept called ‘Active Archive’, the Artpool Art Research Center was opened in 1992 (after the political changes of 1989) as a public institution with regular funding from the Budapest Municipal Council and later from the Ministry of Cultural Heritage.
In addition to making regular additions to its archive, the Artpool Art Research Center organizes exhibitions, events, and lectures, publishes books and catalogues, and maintains an extensive website with references to the materials archived and events organized. Artpool also functions as a research facility with library and reading room service, and it oversees and promotes the translation and publication of theoretical works as well.In 2014, the Center lost state support, which throwed into question the future of the archive. In 2015 – as a result of long negotiations – Artpool became a separate unit of the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest.
Description of content
Documentation centre and venue for research on the progressive, non-official Hungarian art in the 1970s and 1980s, documents of art activism and non-official art events in Hungary from the end of 1960s, documents of non-official, semi-official, and private art venues (homes, clubs at universities, cultural houses, etc.).
Materials available for research include: artists’ publications, manuscripts, personal letters, press cuttings, photographs, invitation cards, posters, catalogues, sound documents, films, videos, slides and artworks offline and online. There are an estimated 500,000 individual items.
Documentation centre and venue research on international art tendencies and movements from the 1960s on in Hungary (fluxus, performance, conceptual art, installation art, sound poetry, radio and sound art, visual poetry, artists’ books, mail art, artists’ stamps, artists’ postcards, artists’ periodicals, copy art, samizdat, computer art, video art, public art, street art, gender, etc.).
The archives’ 650 running-meter shelves (with folders of artists’ documents, approximately 8,000 books and catalogues, and 5,000 periodicals) and 2,300 hours of digitized sound and video material allow research on some 7,500 artists, art groups, and institutes. Materials are available via reading room service.
Artpool permanently collects and documents actual activities, regularly extending its archives.
The Hungarian materials dating from the early 1970s in the collection of the Artpool Art Research Center consist of documents from/about progressive artists of the non-official art scene and documents of alternative, non official art venues and art events before 1989. Highlights are the documents of the events at György Galántai's Chapel Studio in Balatonboglár (1970–1973) with hundreds of artworks, thousands of photos and the complete correspondence by the artists, the different authorities, and reports of the secret police.
György Galántai's collection grew international after founding Artpool and thanks to the mail art network became a pool of photo/slide works, photo-documents, artists’ post-cards, cartoons, artists’ publications, artists’ posters, concrete and visual poetry works, as well as works received as a result of international exchange with artists (publications, small prints, visual poetry works). These were completed during the years by donations from Gábor Tóth, Dóra Maurer, Imre Bak, Gábor Attalai etc.
Since 1992 the already existing collections are continuously growing with contemporary works thanks to Artpool’s yearly international projects (curated by György Galántai) and the artistic exchanges between Galántai and artists worldwide.
In addition to the traditional library and art archive materials sound and video documents, photo negatives and are available for research at Artpool.
Through its artistic exchanges, connections and organizational activities, and with the help of donations and deposits from artists, Artpool has accumulated several collections of worldwide significance that are unique in Hungary. Among others, the archive holds the following collections:
Experimental poetry collection
Sound Archive + Video Archive
Artists’ publication collection (samizdat and bookwork)
Mail art collection (Artiststamp-, postcard- and envelope collection)
Fluxus collection + objects
- artifacts: 100-499
- graphics: 500-999
- memorabilia (posters, flyers, stamps, etc.): 1000-
- music recordings: 1000-
- music recordings: 1000-
- other artworks (that cannot be classified by other filter categories such as paintings, sculptures, graphics, etc.): 1000-
- photos: 1000-
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 1000-
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 1000-
- video recordings (including oral history recordings): 1000-
- voice recordings (including oral history recordings): 100-499
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
Budapest, Frankel Leó út 68/b.
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Creator(s) of content
- Altorjay, Gábor
- Bak, Imre
- Beke, László
- Cavellini, G. A.
- Erdély, Miklós
- Hegedűs, György
- Klaniczay, Júlia
- Koller, Július
- Kántor, István
- Lukin, Gábor
- Maurer, Dóra
- Molnár, Gergely
- Perneczky, Géza
- Petri, György
- Ray, Johnson
- Sugár, János
- Szenes, Zsuzsa
- Szentjóby, Tamás
- Türk, Péter
- Wahorn, András
- fe Lugossy, László
Important events in the history of the collection
- Homage to Vera Mukhina, 1980. Performance
- Buda Ray University, 1982-1987 (1997), Visual communication project at Artpool, Budapest
- Hungary Can Be Yours / International Hungary, Young Artists' Club, Budapest, 1984 and 1989
- Reconstructing a Banned Exhibition "Hungary Can Be Yours!”
- Exhibition: "Hidden Story: Samizdat from Hungary & Elsewhere" in New York in 1990.
- Underground Art During the Aczél Era
- Publication of Törvénytelen avantgárd. Galántai György balatonboglári kápolnaműterme 1970-1973.
- Samizdat. Alternative Culture in Central and Eastern Europe from the 1960s to the 1980s
- Interrupted Histories
- Klipzensored. Rock music in Film, Television, Music clips. Media censorship in Hungary, GDR and post-1990 Germany. Exhibition
- Integration into the Museum of Fine Arts
- Exhibition about Péter Halász's theatre
- visits by appointments
Galántai, György, Klaniczay, Júlia (eds.) (1981) ART + POST (Művészet és Posta), Artpool, Budapest, four A6 size booklets in envelope, offset, ca. 200 copies
Galántai, György, Klaniczay, Júlia (eds.) (1983-1985) AL 1-11, Artpool, Budapest
Galántai, György, Klaniczay, Júlia (eds.) (1983–1987) Radio Artpool 1–8 (cassette release), Artpool, Budapest
Klaniczay, Júlia – Sasvári, Edit (eds.) (2003) Törvénytelen avantgárd. Galántai György balatonboglári kápolnaműterme 1970–1973 [Illegal Avant-garde, the Chapel Studio of György Galántai in Balatonboglár 1970–1973], Artpool–Balassi, Budapest, 460 p.
Havasréti József – K. Horváth Zsolt (eds.) (2003) Avantgárd: underground: alternatív. Popzene, művészet és szubkulturális nyilvánosság Magyarországon, Kijárat Kiadó – Artpool Művészetkutató Központ – PTE Kommunikációs Tanszék, Budapest, Pécs, 239 p
Klaniczay, Júlia – Szőke, Annamária (eds.) (2008) FLUXUS. Interjúk, szövegek, események. (FLUXUS: interviews, texts, events), Artpool–Ludwig Museum, Budapest, 350 p.
Tamkó Sirató, Károly (2010) A Dimenzionita Manifesztum története. A DIMENZIONIZMUS (nemeuklidészi művészetek) I. ALBUMA. Az avantgárd művészetek rendszerbe foglalása [The History of the Dimensionist Manifesto. Album I of Dimensionism (non-Euclidean arts). The Systematization of Avant-Garde Arts], Artpool – Magyar Műhely Kiadó, Budapest, 198 p. (in Hungarian). Book supplement: Manifeste Dimensioniste, 1936 (reprint of the French original)
Galántai, György, Klaniczay, Júlia (eds.) (2013) Artpool: the experimental art archive of East-Central Europe : history of an active archive for producing, networking, curating and researching art since 1970. Artpool Art Research Center, Budapest, 535 p.
Author(s) of this page
- Beöthy, Balázs
- Klaniczay, Júlia
Maurer, Dóra: Versuch einer Chronologie der Avantgarde-Bewegung in Ungarn 1966–1980, in: Künstler aus Ungarn (catalog), Kunsthalle Wilhelmshaven, 26 August – 21 September, 1980, pp. 72., 74–76., 79–81.
Perneczky, Géza: The Art Pool Archives. The Story of a Hungarian Art Collection, The New Hungarian Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 8., 1989, pp. 192–196.
Galántai, György – Klaniczay Júlia (eds.): Galántai. Lifeworks 1968–1993, Artpool – Enciklopédia Kiadó, Budapest, 1996, 320 p.
György, Péter: Föld alatt, föld felett. Avantgárd az Aczél-korszakban, [Underground, Above Ground. Avant-garde in the Aczél Era], Magyar Napló, February 22, 1990, p. 13.
Boros, Géza: Múzeum a margón [A Museum on the Edge], Világ [World], March 22, 1990, pp. 4–5.
Beke, László – Sasvári, Edit: “Ungarn kann dir gehören”. Die Künstler des Underground, in: Eichwede, Wolfgang (ed.): Samizdat. Alternative Kultur in Zentral- und Osteuropa: Die 60er bis 80er Jahre, Bremen, 2000, pp. 168–171.
Galántai, György: Artpool from the Beginnings: A Personal Account, in: Bismarck, Beatrice von – Hans-Peter Feldmann – Hans Ulrich Obrist et al. (eds.): Interarchive. Archivarische Praktiken und Handlungsräume im zeitgenössischen Kunstfeld / Archival Practices and Sites in the Contemporary Art Field, Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln, 2002, pp. 393–395.
Klaniczay, Júlia: Afterword to the Publications by Artpool. in: Phillpot, Clive –Sune Nordgren (eds.): Outside of a Dog, Paperbacks and Other Books by Artists, BALTIC, The Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (Newcastle), 2003, p. 9.
Mourik Broekman, Pauline van: Relational History, MUTE. Culture and Politics after the Net, No. 27., 2004 Winter / Spring, pp. 24–25.
Badovinac, Zdenka – Tamara Soban (eds.): Interrupted Histories. Arteast Exhibition (catalog, ca. 68 p.) and Piskur, Bojana (ed.): Arhivi Samizdatov / Samizdat Archives (supplement, 16 p.), Moderna galerija / Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, 2006
Sugár, János: Schrödinger’s Cat in the Art World, in: IRWIN (ed.): East Art Map. Contemporary Art and Eastern Europe, Afterall Books, London, 2006, pp. 208–221.
Devic, Ana / WHW: Artists’s Books in (what was formerly known as) Eastern Europe, Printed Matter, New York, 2006, http://printedmatter.org/researchroom/essays/whw.cfm
György Galántai responds to questions. Fluxus + Conceptual = Contextual, in: Fluxus East. Fluxus-Netzwerke in Mitteleuropa / Fluxus Network in Central Eastern Europe, Künstlerhaus Bethanien GmbH, Berlin, 2007, pp. 141–156.
Parastamp. Four Decades of Artistamps, from Fluxus to the Internet (exhibition catalog with essays by Peter Frank, Kata Bodor, interview with György Galántai), Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, 2007, 108 p.
Forgács, Éva: Does Democracy Grow Under Pressure? Strategies of the Hungarian neo-avantgarde throughout the late 1960s and the 1970s, Centropa [Nationalism and Democracy], Vol. 8, No. 1, January 2008, pp. 36–48.
Schwarz, Isabelle: Archive für Kunstlerpublikationen der 1960er bis 1980er Jahre, Schriftenreihe für Künstlerpublikationen, Band 4, Salon Verlag, Köln, 2008, pp. 298–339.
Röder, Kornelia: Topologie und Funktionsweise des Netzwerks der Mail Art. Seine spezifische Bedeutung für Osteuropa von 1960 bis 1989, Schriftenreihe für Künstlerpublikationen, Band 5, Salon Verlag, Köln, 2008, pp. 159–163.
Dózsai, Mónika: “Fußspuren in der Luft”. Kunst im öffentlichen Raum in den 1980er Jahren in Budapest, in: Boden, Doris – Uta Schorlemmer (eds.): Kunst am Ende des Realsozialismus, Verlag Otto Sagner, München, 2008, pp. 283–299.
Creating Context: Zdenka Badovinac on Eastern Europe’s Missing Histories (Interview), ARTMargins online, August 2009
Badovinac, Zdenka: Contemporaneity as Points of Connection, e-flux journal, No. 11., December 2009
Kálmán, Rita – Katarina Šević (eds.): We are not Ducks on a Pond but Ships at Sea. Independent Art Initiatives, Budapest 1989–2009, Impex, Budapest, 2010, pp. 11, 114.
Art always has its consequences, What, How & for Whom / WHW, Zagreb, 2010, pp. 38–39, 48–50, 54–59.
Hegyi, Dóra et al. (eds.): Parallel Chronologies. How art becomes public – “Other” revolutionary traditions. An exhibition in newspaper format, tranzit.hu, Budapest, 2011, 56 p.
Interview with Artpool Cofounder Júlia Klaniczay by Juliane Debeusscher, ARTMargins online, June 2011
Sasvári, Edit: A Moment of Experimental Democracy in the Kádár Era. György Galántai’s Chapel Studio in Balatonboglár and the Social Milieu of Counter-Culture in Hungary in the 1960s and 1970s, in: Removed from the Crowd: Unexpected Encounters I, [BLOK] – DeLVe, Zagreb, 2011, pp. 82–101.
Tumbas, Jasmina: International Hungary. György Galántai’s networking strategies, ARTMargins, Vol. 1., Issue 2–3., 2012 (June–October), pp. 87–115.
Detterer, Gabriele – Maurizio Nannucci (eds.): Artists-Run Spaces. Nonprofit collective organizations in the 1960s and 1970s, JRP / Ringier, 2012, pp. 17, 30–31, 44, 84–109.