23. Feb. 2012 – 30. Mar. 2012

Budapest Tales

Csaba Kis Roka, Predator, 2012, Oil on canvas, 50 x 40 cm


Scheublein + Bak presents a selection of six young artists from Budapest who are dealing with the experience of the fundamental social changes after the downfall of communism in Hungary in 1989. In a country where for many decades freedom of art was oppressed and culture was dictated by the state authorities a new generation of artists are explicitely reflecting on the past and the aftermath of the oppression in their country.

In the early 1990s very few galleries began to showcase contemporary art and gradually institutions such as „Műcsarnok“ (Kunsthalle), „Ernst Múzeum“ and „Ludwig Múzeum“ were contributing a major impact towards the international exchange in contemporary art. In the past decade galleries such as Kisterem, ACB, Deák Erika, Vintage, Dovin and Viltin have been regularily paticipating at art fairs around the world to introduce Hungarian art to an international audience. Budapest has also launched an art fair called „Art Market“and a Hungarian version of „Flash Art“ is pushing the international discourse on contemporary art on the spotlight. Very few Hungarian artists as for example Dóra Maurer, Attila Csörgő and Roza el-Hassan have gained international attention and were lately shown at Documenta as well as various biennials around the globe. Private collectors have taken up the initiative to support artists by offering them free studios and building up creative spaces such as the studio units at „Kecske utca“ and at „Art Factory“. As opposed to the contemporary art booms in Eastern European countries such as Poland and Romania (Cluj) the Budapest art scene is widely unknown and with its strong potential yet to be discovered. „Budapest Tales“ is the result and a small excerpt of a one year research project through galleries and artists studios in Budapest by the curators Nora Gogl and Georg Bak with a focus on figurative and narrative painting.

Born and brought up in the Hungarian part of Transylvania (Romania) and currently living in Budapest, Sándor Szász (*1976) is painting apocalyptic underwater scenes where eerie creatures are meandering like ghosts in Atlantis. The artist comes in terms with his traumatic past at a small village named Bezidou Nou which was deliberately flooded during the Ceaucescu Regime in order to force the people to move out of the villages towards the cities. The artist is creating a underwater myth quite similar to Plato’s „Atlantis“ or the African„Drexciya“.

The orgiastic and brutal scenes in Csaba Kis Róka’s (*1981) paintings bring in mind the link to the engraving cycle „Desastres de la Guerra“ by Francisco de Goya. The artist is questioning the male supremacy in most western societies by depicting gruesome battles and orgies among macho-type bearded protagonists and animal-like creatures. Despite the seemingly boundless violence in his pictures the work titles quite often reveal an ironic and almost burlesque humor.

Zsolt Bodoni (*1975) combines a varied vocabulary of historically charged symbols of power such as war machines, submarines and excerpts from propaganda movies by Leni Riefenstal. His paintings are dealing with the role of physical education and even childhood games and sport activities as tools of power that inculcate in young minds a mentality of group conformity and discipline. By revisiting the past the artist is trying to understand how various ideologies and systems of control are originated.

Gábor Pintér’s (*1983) paintings quite often derive from postcards which he utilizes as a starting point in order to compose funny and ironic pictures similar to Martin Kippenberger. His expressive paintings illustrate everyday tasks such as watching television and cleaning up the kitchen in an excessively dramatic manner.

By painting filigree gouaches on latex Eszter Szabó (*1979) is portraying her fellow mates imagining them how they would possibly look like in 2053 wearing the clothes and accessoires which have been fashionable in their youth. According to current demographic studies the European population will age in the upcoming decades and the awkward looking old people wearing baseball caps, tattoos and piercing on their body and flashy sunglasses might as well become reality quite soon.

In his latest series „Planking“ Attila Szűcs (*1967) is capturing people in horizontal positions as if they were being dead. Interestingly the artist has started painting his first „Planking“ pictures some years before „Planking“ became a worldwide phenomenon and was spread through internet and all other media. The artist is rather interested in the compositional element than in the content of his pictures. Nevertheless one believes to identify the features of the current Prime Minister Viktor Orbán planking on two gas tanks in one of his paintings.