Sights and Sounds: Hungary

March 27 - April 30, 2015

Sights and Sounds: Hungary features new work by Katarina Šević and Tehnica Schweiz, László Csáki, Anja Medved, and Csaba Nemes, selected by Tijana Stepanović. 

Installation view of Sights and Sounds: Global Film and Video in the Goodkind Media Center. Photo by David Heald.

In contemporary society, any kind of professional activity is a transdisciplinary articulation of complex relationships. In my curating I emphasize openness, rigorous criticism, and reflexivity. I create exhibitions (I prefer to call them situations) based on these principles. I focus on socially charged issues, expressed through multiple perspectives, combined in innovative ways. My Serbian and Hungarian origins have given me valuable insights into diversity, as has my experience in activities independent of curatorial work, such as social psychology, screenwriting, teaching, and even digital technologies.

The video medium allows a very immediate artistic reflection, which flows directly to the audience. After the end of the Soviet Union, in the nations formerly behind the Iron Curtain, video art became an effective, relatively cheap tool for documentation, analysis, and critique. Video artists continue to use a range of means to comment on political, social, economic, and cultural context and change—performances, edited and moderated documentations, puppet shows, and animations, among many other approaches. This selection shows the diversity of which the medium is capable, in works that deal with personal doubts and social conflicts related to national identity, exile, family, and history.

Tijana Stepanović
Curator


Tijana Stepanović (b. Budapest, 1980) is curator of the first OFF-Biennale Budapest (2015). Previously, she was artistic director of acb Gallery in Budapest (2013–2015) and head of ACAX, the international projects department of Budapest’s Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Arts (2006–2013). She was one of the curators of Transitland: Video Art from Central and Eastern Europe, 1989–2009, an archive project that focused on video art of the post-socialist countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Stepanović holds degrees in art theory, literature, and psychology.

Video

Katarina Šević and Tehnica Schweiz, Gasium et Circenses (Gas and Circuses), 2013, video, sound, 17 min., Artwork © Katarina Šević and Tehnica Schweiz. Since 2004 the artists Gergely László (b. Budapest, 1979; lives in Berlin) and Péter Rákosi (b. Budapest, 1979; lives in Budapest) have been collaborating as Tehnica Schweiz. This video documents a tableau vivant performance on an open-air stage in the workers’ housing project of Budapest’s now-defunct gasworks. From the 1950s to the 1990s, the stage was used by the Cultural House, a socialist institution for workers’ education and entertainment. Today, the Cultural House serves as an informal storage unit for lesser archaeological finds collected by the Aquincum Historical Museum at an excavation site on the grounds. The performance details the artists’ frustrated attempts to gain access to the facility and, by extension, the history of the place.

László Csáki, My Name Is Boffer Bings, 2012, chalk animation, sound, 19 min., 50 sec. Artwork © László Csáki, provided by Umbrella.tv and NextArt Gallery, Budapest. Are there things that should be kept secret forever? Is there a limit to human greed? This darkly humorous thriller, drawn in white chalk, is based on a grotesque short story by Ambrose Bierce. It is the contemporary version of a timeless tale of avarice and obsession.

Anja Medved, Memory Clinic, 2010, video, sound, 13 min. Artwork © Anja Medved, provided by the artist and Kinoatelje, Gorizia and Šempas. Memory Clinic, a public event aimed at collecting family photographs, was organized at a former customs post and border crossing between Slovenia and Italy—where the “East” met the “West” during the Soviet era. The inhabitants of both cities were invited to select personal photographs shot in this border area and share their memories.

Csaba Nemes, Stand Here!, 2010, puppet film, sound, 6 min. Artwork © Csaba Nemes. A white woodsman accidentally meets a young Roma man in the forest. The psychological process of victimization unfolds through their dialogue: the person accused of a crime gradually accepts and takes on the role of offender, and succumbs to the pressure to confess to a crime he has not committed.

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