2011.09.09 - 2011.10.22
Barricade of Dreams – exhibition of Igor and Ivan Buharov, Svätopluk Mikyta, Miklos Onucsan and Péter Szabó
Exhibiting artists: Igor and Ivan Buharov, Svätopluk Mikyta, Miklos Onucsan, Szabó Péter
Curated by: Fenyvesi Áron
Do contemporary artists still dream in an epoch when the biggest challenge for visual art is to produce vigilant reactions on the social and political reality of the present?
The goal of the international group exhibition is to show possible answers for basic questions, which try to find out, if it is possible to produce art, which reacts on the social reality, but goes beyond the notion of the document and documentarism – and beyond criticalism as method as well, which became a more and more static aestehtical form. Are such realms really totally exploited as the visual language of surrealist film, with it’s confrontative system based on associations, or the absurdely co-ordinative constructions of collages, the poesis of conceptualism, or the performativity of public actions?
The other aim of the exhibition is, to construct a minimalist mental collage - expanded in the gallery space - of the Eastern-European identity, which can be described only by a more and more complicated formula. Thus the set of the exhibited artworks reflects on the process, which mixed up the main and forever lasting exotic feature of the region: the post-communist transit-state, with the neoliberal economic world order, which suffers critical blows and cracks in the present day. This pile of symptoms makes social inequality and political radicalism more visible, not only regionally any more, but globally as well.
Igor & Ivan Buharov’s super8 film entitled Rudderless was inspired by the legendary poem Rudderless written in 1971 by István Domonkos, what also can be read in the space of Trafó Gallery. The poem’s emblematic grammar structure, thematises the role of political immigrants, and „gastarbeiters”, whereas it focuses also on the role of minorities, which all are, as actual as ever, topics of the contemporary society. The film of the Buharovs’ is using enigmatic images from the poem, but it does transpone the textual universe of Domonkos into the current relations of contemporary societies – with the use of surreal, dream-like narratives and associations, which work as trademarks of the Buharovs.
Péter Szabó’s video entitled Good Morning! allows visitors to peak into his public actions which were performed in front of romanian factories in Bucharest, Plioesti and Sinaia, where he organised 3-5 minutes long fireworks for the workers who arrived at dawn to take up the first shift of work. The action is based on a simple gesture, which celebrates workers and the act of work, and strengthens solidarity in the society, without any political or economical intentions.
The position of Miklos Onucsan is the most conceptual and poetic out of the exhibitors of the Barricade of Dreams exhibition. Beside exhibiting conceptual photographs, which operate with a very concentrated and visually cleared-out meaning, the artist is also showing a textual work, which found a new format for this exhibition. All the works of Onucsan bear witness of the artist’s ironic and poetic method of thinking, which can transform a forgotten pile of grass to a leading role on his emblematic photo, or can elevate a flock of sheep into a universal allegory. On the other hand it’s quite clear that behind the curtain of Onucsan’s complex humour there is a massive layer of the experience of the region’s past decades pulsing.
Mikyta Svätopluk processes historical images of the 20th century, and he manipulates old photographs, prints, objects with analogue techniques in his work. The artist, who is in the first line of the emerging slovak art scene, researches mechanisms of political iconography and kitsch, through the visuality of socialist-communist mass movements, and through Eastern-European symbols of nationalism and religion. Mikyta’s method based on the collage-technique can construct multi-layered meanings of images: it alienates the aesthetic of the images, thus it creates an ironic relation towards it’s subject. The artist explores the manipulative potential of private and collective memory, the politics of images. The predecessor of Mikyta’s method is the visual tactics of „overidentification”, which made Neue Slovenische Kunst a global actor of contemporary art.
The artists’ and their works’ international renowness can be indicated with the following features: the debut of Igor & Ivan Buharov’s Ruderless was on the Manifesta 8, in 2010. Miklos Onucsan who is working together with Cluj/Berlin based gallery Plan B, was already representing Romania in 1999 in the Venice Biennale. Mikyta Svätopluk recently won Strabag Art Award International in 2011, while in 2008 he won Oskar Cepan Award, which is the most prestigious award focusing on young slovak artists. Péter Szabó, with whose work the audience can meet more and more internationally, performed his public actions in Romania, with the help of e-cart.ro.