A penchant for abstraction when it comes to complex social conditions, a drive to effect change, and a resilience of analysis and representation are all characteristic of Hungary’s art scene since the 1960s, and especially of its “abstract artists.” The abstracted visual language of Hungarian artists is currently being thematized by the Künstlerhaus in the exhibition “Ábstract Hungary” by Ákos Ezer, a painter who thematically processes the present-day reality in his home country. This theme is, in fact, a revival, for already in the exhibition year 2017 the venue presented the group exhibition “Abstract Hungary.” With a sweeping selection of twenty-five Hungarian artists, including Imre Bak, Tamás Kaszás, Dóra Maurer, and Zsolt Tibor, the show was devoted to methods of abstraction of varying dialogical nature. The exhibition represented a more broad narrative blueprint of the much discussed term “abstraction” and showed both established and aspiring artistic positions, some of which were exhibited there in Austria for the first time. Now an exhibition catalogue is being published which expands these two eponymous projects, seeking to consolidate the abstracted view of Hungary.
In the scope of a publication presentation, the catalogue authors Dávid Fehér, Áron Fenyvesi, and Mónika Zsikla will be holding an artist’s talk with Ákos Ezer. Besides Ezer’s own artistic work, the subject of this talk will involve today’s conditions and opportunities for the practice of Hungarian artists, curators, and critics. Sandro Droschl will moderate the talk and touch on distinctive features and parallels in the artistic and cultural-political developments of this neighboring country.
Ákos Ezer (*1989 Pécs, lives in Toalmás and Budapest) studied painting at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts and is represented by Galerie Art + Text in Budapest. His works have been shown in numerous exhibitions, such as at Kiscell Museum (2018) and Ludwig Museum in Budapest, New Budapest Gallery (2017), Tanja Pol (2018) in Munich, and Beers Gallery (2017) in London. In 2017, Ezer was distinguished by the Esterházy Art Award. “Ábstract Hungary” is Ezer’s first institutional solo exhibition.
Dr. Dávid Fehér has been associate curator at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest since 2010, in the section on art after 1800. The art historian’s research is focused on Hungarian art history and Eastern Europe between 1960 and 1980, contemporary art, and art theory. Fehér earned his PhD in 2010 from the Institute of Art History at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) in Budapest with a dissertation on the artistic work of László Lakner, after having studied art history, aesthetics, and pedagogy at the same school. He is a member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) and the European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies (EAM), Hungarian Section.
Mag. Áron Fenyvesi is a curator and author specialized in current trends in the contemporary art of Hungary. From 2011 to 2019 he headed the independent institution Trafó Gallery in Budapest, and he is presently working as curator at ACB Gallery. Fenyvesi is a member and former secretary of the Studio of Young Artists’ Association in Budapest and a board member of the Hungarian Section of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA). In 2009, he was nominated for the Lorenzo Bonaldi Enter Prize and has curated numerous exhibitions in Hungary with a focus on the rising local art scene. Fenyvesi was co-curator of the exhibition project “Abstract Hungary” (2017) at the Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien.
Mónika Zsikla MA is a Hungarian art historian. Since 2017 she has served as associate curator at the Budapest Gallery, which administratively is one of the main divisions of the Budapest History Museum. Zsikla had previous worked for eight years as an art historian for the Kisterem Gallery. The renowned expert for Hungarian art history earned her doctorate in 2015 at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) after studying philosophy, literature, art history, and aesthetics at Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Budapest.