(chance: only possible relative to something and beyond something)


5–16 June - Artpool P60

Ca. 30 years ago - Chapel exhibitions in Balatonboglár
exhibition from the material of Artpool’s archives

A great many new styles and intellectual trends emerged in Hungarian art from the ‘60s as a result of the activities of the new generation. Calligraphic painting (1959), pop art (1965), happening art, hyperrealism (1966), minimal art (1968), kinetic art (1969), alternative theatre, new music, land art (1970), experimental film, Mail Art, conceptual art (1971/1972), visual poetry (1973), etc. The numerous exhibitions and events were first held at different occasional venues, often subsequently banned, and then the first institution-like alternative arts venue opened in Balatonboglár in a funerary chapel used as a studio.

The exhibition exploring the events held in the “Chapel Studio” between 1970 and 1973 based on more than five years of research and processing work in archives was originally planned to be mounted in the Ernst Museum, then in the Műcsarnok/Kunsthalle, and finally as part of the show titled “Samizdat Culture” at the Academy of Arts in Berlin, but it was cancelled at all these venues for various reasons.

The reductive but seminal exhibition organised in Artpool P60 along with the further developed web pages do not make up for the cancelled large-scale show but it helps future research work by re-contextualising the subject.

Az Artpool P60-ban rendezett reduktív, de esszenciális bemutató, a továbbfejlesztett weboldalakkal nem pótolja ugyan az elmaradt nagy kiállítást, viszont a témát új nézőpontba állitva segíti a további kutatómunkát.

The title of the exhibition “Ca. 30 years ago”, refers to the trial year (1970) of the art institution project launched with the title “Chapel Exhibition”, and circa (c.) to the whole project. The project evolved into a story between 1966 and 1976, from the beginning of negotiations with the Catholic Church to the (temporary) closure of the police surveillance of György Galántai. The two crucial dates - 1968 and 1973 - mark the start and the end of the legal agreement signed on the lease of the chapel and accidentally coincide with the dates of the proclamation and then the termination of the “new economic mechanism”. The “futile dialogue” conducted with cultural politicians lasted from 1971 to 1973. “... all the people who later counted in Hungary’s intellectual life came to this place.” (László Beke)

In 1970, the year when the “Chapel Exhibition” was launched, János Kádár, the general secretary of the MSZMP KB [Central Committee of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party], was balancing between the advocates and opponents of economic reform with the skills of a ropewalker.” The programme called “168 Hours”, the first political magazine aired in the slot normally reserved for music and entertainment, started in 1971, the first year of the bans imposed on the Chapel-events and it was a milestone in the history of communist radio broadcasting styles. ... The year of nightmares, 1973, when ideological rigour was proclaimed along with the end of reform, already started in 1972.” (Miklós Haraszti) “The intellect turns upon itself, science becomes the source of indictments, facts are used to make us culpable, every speech and every tapped word consolidates their power – so I thought, as a romantic, and therefore I was able to see going completely silent as the adequate response, as relatively acceptable behaviour ...” (György Konrád about 1974)

What people ‘remember’ is the scandal and legend of Balatonboglár, which is the ‘memento’ of the past era’s cultural political manipulation but not a real experience of art. At this exhibition documents that determine our ‘memories’ are given a new function: they authenticate the artworks. In this context, previously politicised ‘memories’ can be expected to be wiped out and these works will be integrated into a ‘new memory’ as part of our cultural heritage.