Artpool Balatonboglár Chapel Studio
Artpool Art Research Center collects, archives, and makes available documents for researchers regarding marginalized art practices of Hungary in the 1970s and 1980s and contemporary international art tendencies. Topics in the archive include progressive, unofficial Hungarian art movements (such as underground art events, venues, groups, and samizdat publications between 1970 and 1990) and new tendencies in international art beginning in the 1960s.
In addition to functioning as a research center, Artpool considers itself an active archive. It organizes events in search of new forms of social activity, participates in the process in a formative way, and simultaneously documents and archives these process in order to promote the free flow of information.
Budapest, Szabolcs utca 33
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Name of collection
- Chapel Studio, Balatonboglár (1970–1973) – collection of artworks and documents
Provenance and cultural activities
The origins of the Artpool Art Research Center (which began operation as an illegal archive in 1979) and the materials available there date back to György Galántai’s Chapel Studio in Balatonboglár, which was organized between 1970 and 1973. The art space concept, or “alternative institution” project organized by Galántai was realized in a chapel rented from the Church as a studio near Lake Balaton. The aim was to create an art venue open to various media but free of group interests and economic or political concerns; to provide an up-to-date and valid presentation of then-current developments in Hungarian and international art; and to foster artistic communication independent of the politically-defined world, that is indeterminately real and, therefore, liberated.
As a non-official, artist run community space, the Chapel Studio offered possibilities for artists who refused to submit to the conditions imposed on cultural life by the state. Therefore, all the new, experimental forms of art (conceptual art, mail art, visual poetry, kinetic art, land art, actions, happenings) appeared in this space during the four years of the Studio’s existence. Altogether, thirty-five exhibitions, happenings, events, concerts, theater performances, and shows of experimental films, sound poetry readings, etc. were held with the participation of the best avantgarde artists from Hungary, as well as guest artists from abroad.
In 1973, the Chapel Studio was closed down by force, but during its four years of activity, it became the center of (avantgarde) art and was designated as “prohibited” or “tolerated” by the state. It also turned out to be a cradle of change in the cultural regime.
To understand the significance of the Balatonboglar Chapel Studio, we can consider the observation made by István Hajdú: “If the exhibitions held thirty years ago in the Balatonboglár Chapel can be considered to have any relevance now in terms of the sociology of art, it is on the grounds that they constituted a brief moment when what had always been, and would always be, disconnected, came to be united. [...]
Though the summertime exhibition venue, soon to function as an art commune as well (with no generational or geographical restrictions), undoubtedly contributed to the birth of works that would gain a legendary status, I now wish to concentrate on what I think is more important, even decisive: the fact that the chapel on the cemetery hill gave home to a spirit that seldom haunts Hungary, that of patience and solidarity, which for brief moments emanated from behind the walls.Powered for four years by György Galántai’s energy and talent, banned thirty years ago by a stupid and aggressive regime, the series of exhibitions, irregular as it was, managed to summarize continuously the intersection between the visual arts, experimental music and theater, and literature in the late 1960s, providing trends and groups which tried to maintain their distance from one another, but which never talked about this distance, with an opportunity to assimilate. To quote a concrete example: it tried to dissolve conflicts the roots of which later turned out to be not merely questions of aesthetics or art history.”
Description of content
Around 200 artworks, 2,000 photos/slides, and more than 1,000 documents, books, catalogues, press cuttings, letters and the complete correspondence by artists, different authorities (the state, the church, etc.) serve as the basis of the collection at Artpool Art Research Center, as well as the reports of the secret police which were collected by György Galántai before, during, and after the events held at the Chapel Studio in Balatonboglár between 1968 and 1974, and then later from different state archives by art historian Edit Sasvári. Artworks exhibited and realized at the Chapel Studio are both part of the collection, including works by András Baranyay, Miklós Erdély, György Galántai, István Haraszty, György Jovánovics, Katalin Ladik, János Major, Gyula Pauer,Tamás Szentjóby, Péter Türk, members of the group Pécs Workshop (Sándor Pinczehelyi, Károly Halász, etc.), and documents concerning experimental theater performances (Kassák Theater, Brobo, István Kovács Studio).In addition to the Hungarian materials, artworks by international participants also have become part of the collection, for example works from an international exhibition on visual experimental poetry entitled Szövegek/Texts organized by Dóra Maurer in 1973 and the documents of the meeting of Czech, Slovak, and Hungarian artists organized by László Beke in 1972 (participants: Imre Bak, Peter Bartos, László Beke, Miklós Erdély, Stano Filko, György Galántai, Péter Halász, Tamás Hencze, György Jovánovics, J. H. Kocman, János Major, Gyula Pauer, Petr Stembera, Rudolf Sikora, Tamás Szentjóby, Péter Türk, Jiri Valoch, and others), as well as documents of the Yugoslav group Bosch+Bosch.
- artifacts: 500-999
- memorabilia (posters, flyers, stamps, etc.): 1000-
- photos: 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
Important events in the history of the collection
- Tamás Szentjóby: Parallel-course Study Track, July 1, 1971 (Initiation ritual)
- Direct Week, July 6-9, 1972
- Meeting of Czech, Slovak and Hungarian artists, Balatonboglár, 1972
- “Happening in the Crypt” by László Szabó, 1973.
- Katalin Ladik’s sound poetry performance, Balatonboglár, 1973
- Kassák Theatre: King Kong, 1973
- Tükör / Mirror / Spiegel / Miroir, 1973
- Szövegek / Texts, 1973
- Action Tableau of shaking hands, 1972. Work of art
- Erdély, Miklós, Jovánovics, György, Major, János. János Major’s coat, 1973. Work of art
- Erdély, Miklós. Poetry as a Self Assembling System, 1973. Work of art
- Major, János. Living Tombstone, 1973. Performance documentation
- Once we went, 1972. Photo series
- Work Diary of the Chapel Studio, 1972.
- visits by appointments
AL (Aktuális / Alternatív / Artpool Levél) [Actual / Alternative / Artpool Letter], 1983–1985, 11 issues, (Nos. 1–9, A5, photocopied, Nos. 10, 11, A4, photocopied with offset cover, rubber stamp, with a circulation of 300– 500, bookwork-like samizdat art magazine with several inserts and supplements and with English summaries for each issue, Budapest: Artpool, 1983-1985. Edited by György Galántai and Júlia Klaniczay. online: http://www.artpool.hu/Al/
Beke László introduction to the exhibition Mirror, Artpool, Budapest, March 23, 1992.
Klaniczay, Júlia – Sasvári Edit (eds.). Törvénytelen avantgárd. Galántai György balatonboglári kápolnaműterme, Budapest: Artpool-Balassi, 2003. online: http:www.artpool.hu/books/Torvenytelen_avantgard.html
Galántai, György – Klaniczay Júlia (eds.): György Galántai: Lifeworks 1968-1993, Artpool és Enciklopédia Kiadó, Budapest, 1996.
Galántai, György – Klaniczay, Julia (eds.). ARTPOOL – The Experimental Art Archive of East-Central Europe. History of an active archive for producing, networking, curating, and researching art since 1970, Budapest: Artpool, 2013. online: http://www.artpool.hu/books/Artpool_book.html
FILM: Galántai György: Kultúrdomb [Culture Hill], MTV, V. Stúdió, FRIZ Produceri Iroda, 1992.
Author(s) of this page
- Barkóczi, Flóra
- Klaniczay, Júlia
Hajdu, István: Illegal Avant-garde: The Balatonboglár Chapel Studio of György Galántai 1970–1973, Praesens, No. 3., 2003 November, pp. 114–118.
Hegyi, Dóra – Hornyik Sándor – László Zsuzsa (eds.): Parallel Chronologies. How art becomes public – “Other” revolutionary traditions. An exhibition in newspaper format, tranzit.hu, Budapest, 2011, 56 p.
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.
Hock, Beata: Where Have Some Women Gone? Making Women Artists’ Networks Visible, in: Micropolitics Notebook 2011, [BLOK], Zagreb, 2011, pp. 38–47.
Hegyi, Dóra et al. (eds.): Art Always Has Its Consequences – Artists’ Texts from Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, 1947–2009, tranzit.hu – Sternberg Press, Berlin, 2011, 262 p.
Tumbas, Jasmina: International Hungary. György Galántai’s networking strategies, ARTMargins, Vol. 1., Issue 2–3., 2012 (June–October), pp. 87–115.
Herczog Noémi: Ha kell – tiltsunk! Feljelentő színházkritika a hetvenes években, 2000, 2005/7, pp.14-28.
Radomska, Magdalena: Polityka Kierunków Neoawangardy Węgierskiej (1966-1980), Universitas, Krakkó, 2013, 548 p.
Serban, Alina – Stefania Ferchedau: We Are Always Working on the Roots... Interview with György Galántai and Júlia Klaniczay, Artpool, institutulprezentului.ro, 16 September 2017
Kürti Emese: Screaming Hole. Poetry, Sound and Action as Intermedia practice in the work of Katalin Ladik, acb Research Lab, Budapest, 2017, pp. 144, 146, 215, 237, 248.
Forgács Éva: Hungarian Art: Confrontation and Revival in the Modern Movement, Doppelhouse Press, Los Angeles, 2016, pp. 168-171, 175, 276, 294.
Krasteva, Snejana: I Know You Are Here Reading But You Have No Idea Where I Am, n: Grammar of Freedom/Five Lessons. Works from the Arteast 2000+ Collection Moderna galerija, Ljubljana, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2015, pp. 24-27.
Fowkes, Maja: The Green Bloc. Neo-avant-garde Art and Ecology under Socialism, Central European University Press, Budapest-New York, 2015, 299 p-
Kemp-Welch, Klara: Antipolitics in Central European Art. Reticence as Dissidence under Post-Totalitarian Rule 1956-1989, I.B.Tauris, London-New York, 2014, 336 p.[film] Vakáció I–II. A Balatonboglári Kápolnatárlatok története 1970–1973 [Vacation. The Story of the Chapel Studio of Balatonboglár 1970–1973], 1997–1998, 52+54 min.; and a 66 min. version with English subtitles, dir. by Árpád Soós, edited by Róbert Római, script and reporter: Edit Sasvári, Magyar Televízió Dokumentumfilm Stúdió