Hungary vs. The World
The 20th century has shaped Art History. However, when compared to other nations, Hungary had a vastly different fate. Same period, similar art practice, this exhibition is divided in two parts. On one side, internationally renowned artists such as Peter HALLEY, Frank STELLA, Daniel BUREN, Robert MANGOLD, Antonio CALDERARA and Imi KNOEBEL; on the other, a rediscovery of major Hungarian artists: Imre BAK, Lazlo MOHOLY-NAGY, Ferenc LANTOS, the PÈCS WORKSHOP and Victor VASARELY.
The Hungarian postwar was marked by the exile of over 200,000 people including many politicians, intellectuals and artists such as Victor VASARELY, father of the Op Art movement, and Lazlo MOHOLY-NAGY who left Hungary to become one of the most important figures of the Bauhaus. Exploring technologies, light and color transparency, he is known for his abstract paintings but also for his major influence on art education as well as the development of the School of Design (Chicago).
After World War II, the political and artistic censorship, mostly centralized in Budapest, divided art into 3 categories: the supported, the tolerated and the banned art. The city of Pècs became the informal secondary cultural center where the PÈCS WORKSHOP was established by the artist and teacher Ferenc LANTOS. This group of five artists – Ferenc Ficzek (1947-87), Kàroly Hopp-Halàsz (1946-2016), Kàroly Kismànyoky (1943), Sàndor Pinczehelyi (1946) and Kàlmàn Szìjàrtò (1946) – produced colorful geometric abstractions on enamel panels, Land Art and Conceptual performances documented through photography and videos.
At the same period, Imre BAK’s sharply colored geometric abstract work explores semantics and folkloric symbols. Inspired by lyrical abstraction and Constructivism at first, his work gradually took a pure geometric turn that echoed international trends of the Western art world