Ideals and Artworks

A selection of works from the collection of Ludwig Museum Budapest in Tirana
June 24, 2016 - August 14, 2016.

A Ludwig Musem collection showcase exhibition at the National Gallery of Arts, Tirana, Albania (Galeria Kombëtare e Arteve)

In the second half of the sixties, some young artists started emerging in Hungary, who were creating art independently of the central ideology and the state’s art policy, joining current international movements, in the spirit of artistic freedom and current trends. Still active today, these members of the neo-avant-garde generation laid the foundations of later endeavours with the tools of geometrical abstraction, pop art, or gesture painting. By the early seventies, the criticism of the regime and of socialist realism with it was represented not only indirectly, in style, and in the artists’ exile to the second public sphere, but also through actual symbols and gestures. Conceptual, photo-based works, art actions and performances often made well-known ideological and formal topoi – symbols of the workers’ movement, the figure of the worker and the artist – and thus indirectly the regime itself subject to scrutiny and criticism.
The complex and often impenetrable social and political changes of the early nineties in Eastern European countries – including Hungary – brought about a trend of old and new doctrines and life ideals, from individualism through consumerism to reawakening nationalism or religiousness, in the dissemination of which the media – most of all television – played a significant role. The new generation of artists emerging after 1989 could start their career without ideological and formal constraints, and in the spirit of thematic and stylistic pluralism, they addressed questions of gender-, national- or religious identity, historical and art historical tradition and the basic questions of living as an artist, the relation of life and art. This decade was characterized by intermedia, conceptual thought, and the renewed popularity of video and photography. The present day, the second decade of the new millennium is pervaded by an increasingly strong sense of crisis, which calls for new forms of activism and critical thought in art, simultaneously with and contrary to strategies of introversion and isolation.
On this occasion, we selected works from the international collection of Ludwig Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art, which give insight into the recent past and contemporary art of Hungary through primarily photo- and multimedia-based works, often involving the figure of the artist. The pieces on show from the collection established in 1989, the year of the regime change, are documents of an era, imprints of the ideals and values that permeate everyday life and art – as conceived by the collection’s founder, Peter Ludwig. It is with great expectations that we now present these works to the audience of the National Gallery of Tirana.

Curator: Krisztina Szipőcs 

Exhibiting artists: András Baranyay, Balázs Beöthy, Ákos Birkás, Imre Bukta, István Csákány, László Fehér, Gábor Gerhes, Gyula Gulyás, Tibor Gyenis, Tibor Hajas, Judit Kele, Ádám Kokesch, Antal Lakner, László Lakner, Dóra Maurer, Kriszta Nagy, Csaba Nemes, Ilona Németh, Sándor Pinczehelyi, Péter Rónai, Société Realiste (Ferenc Gróf, Jean-Baptiste Naudy), János Sugár, Pál Szacsva y, Bálint Szombathy, Attila Szűcs, Beáta Veszely