Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest
After the 1977 elections, the new board renewed the conception of the jubilee exhibition planned for the twentieth anniversary. Based on the innovative proposal of Dezső Váli, the concept was formulated in a way that segmented the exhibition space into “boxes” and “places” in order to provide an array of more intimate, separated spaces.
According to the first surveys, more than half of the members were going to show their works this way, but later the jury significantly reduced the number of installations. In the end, only twenty-eight “boxes” and five “places” were put on display. However, even in this limited form the exhibition became a spectacular demonstration of experimental practices: this was the first time in Hungary that installations as an art form appeared in a prominent and symbolically important exhibition space.
The creation of separate spaces paradoxically strengthened community spirit, as these installations were created personally by the artists over the course of several days. The artists met in person, and they could observe the development of one another’s works. The unpredictableness of the works was one of the pretexts for the rigidity of the jury, as the final forms of the pieces were clear only days before the opening, so it was more difficult to judge them in advance on the basis of sketches.
According to the initial plans, only an “inner jury” (consisting of the board members) would make the selections, but this proved impossible. Finally four separate “outer” juries went through the list of works on exhibit in the preparatory phase. On one of these occasions, deputy minister of culture Dezső Tóth raised “six objections from a political and moral point of view,” and he personally took down one of the problematic pieces – a painting by András Wahorn entitled The Minister’s Mercedes Passes by the Liquor Store No. 1124. (Beings in the Lap of the Liquor Store).Further reprisals came in the wake of the event: Dezső Váli did not receive the promised fee for his organizational work, because he described the process followed by the juries at the press conference; disciplinary proceedings started against the artistic director, and SYA was not allowed to exhibit at such a prominent and symbolically important institution the following year.
Budapest Szent György tér 2, Hungary 1014
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Starting year of event
Author(s) of this page
- Beöthy, Balázs