Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Contemporary art underground explodes at group show in Szentendre

Laszlo Erdesz, owner of Erdesz Gallery & Design, becomes part of installation and mosaic by Vinkler Zsuzsi (2008), "Monoszkop", 100 x 76 cm. Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

Conceived a year ago, a group show of Hungary's most talented contemporary artists of all ages opened 8 July in Szentendre, Hungary at Gallery Erdesz & Design.

It closes 21 August.

The show is called "Closed Into Contemporary Art" ([Kortarsba? (Zarva)].

The works by 30 painters, photographers, sculptors, installation, video and mosaics artists filled the three floors of the gallery with color, life and confrontation.

"A modern contemporary artist must reflect what's happening in the world and in Hungary," Barna Erdesz, Laszlo's son and co-director, told me in an interview Sunday.

Laszlo Erdesz (b. 1946), owner of the landmark venue in Hungary for 23 years, decided it to bring together some of the best emerging and well-known contemporary artists under one roof. Not all of them belong to the Erdesz stable.

Before the political change in 1989, he worked for 10 years as a curator for state owned galleries, according to his son.

Twelve of the exhibiting artists live in Szentendre, what I call Ground Zero for Hungarian contemporary art (about 20 kilomers north of Budapest and town of 24,000), while the remaining cadre of contemporary artists live in Budapest or other parts of the country.

Barna said the works sell from about 200 to 20,000 Euros (50,000 to 5 million Forints).

Artists listed on the invitation (a few others came on board afterwards) include:

Altnoder Emese, Antal Balazs, Benokvits Balazs, Belai Marci, Biro Roland, Csato Mate, Dobos Tamas, Ef. Zambo Istvan, Felugossy Laszlo, Fischer Judit, Kasza Gabor, Sam Havadtoy, Lazar Alexandra Emese, Martinko Mark, Mohacsi Ildiko, Otto Laszlo, Pacsika Rudolf, Poroszlai Eszter, Regos Istvan, Tamasi Claudi, Tarr Hajnalka, Taubert Laszlo, Toth Gyorgy , Vachter Janos, Vincze Otto, Vinkler Zsuzanna and Wahorn Andras.

Geometric work by Otto Laszlo (2011) 90 x 90 cm, acrylic on canvas Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

Laszlo Erdesz with photograph by Toth Gyorgy
Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

The Erdesz Gallery is one of the first private galleries opening in Hungary, Barna said.

He recalls traveling at his father's side on European art adventures.

The Erdesz Gallery extended its reach to Art Cologne, Art Palm Beach, Art Stockholm, Art Basel, the 2008 World Art Fair, Moscow, Art Paris, Art Ghent and of course, the Budapest Art Fair.

Erdesz also works closely with Russian art broker, Viktor Maichekov, who attended the opening, creating occasional collaborations.

And starting 30 October, Erdesz will showcase some of its artists at the inaugural of Art Market Budapest, fashioned after other such fairs featuring unknown and emerging talents.

As in many countries, the Crash of 2008 hurt Hungarian galleries.

Many in Budapest have closed, Barna said.

"The biggest problem in Hungarian art is the lack of serious collectors," Barna said. 

Barna, with one year left of a five-year curriculum in art design in Budapest, said for many Hungarian buyers, "It's a social game."

"They fill up houses and flats with art and it's all about, 'Look at me, look at what I bought.'"

For the Erdesz father and son team, it's non-stop shows. 

The next opens 15 September and runs through 9 October, a solo show by the former art director for National Geographic Hungary, a well known designer, Zoltan Kemeny.

After Kemeny, the venue will host sculptor Zalavari Josef from 21 October to 21 November. 'He's a maniac about Green Art (recycled)," Barna said.

Two photographs by Toth Gyorgy (1994-95), 100 x 70 cm. Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)
Medium format photograph by Altnoder Emese, left, and two black and white images by Zador Tamas, 2005-06 (30 x 50 cm) Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

Anthor Keszeg Nandor, oil on canvas, 40 x 40 cm Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)
"Brughel, Babel Tornya" Tarr Hajnalka, mosaic made from puzzles of Breughel's art, 114 x 155 cm Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)
Bronze sculpture by Farkas Adam Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011) Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)
Sculpture by Hugyecsek Balazs (2011) 60 x 30 x 30 cm. (Wood composition) Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)
Poroszlai Eszter, oil on canvas, 90 x 80 cm. Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

 ef. Zambo Istvan, foreground, one of Hungary's best known contemporary fine artists, at 8 July opening Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)
Video loop installations by Antal Balazs (2010) Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

8 July 2011 opening of [Kortarsba? (Zarva)] "Closed into Contemporary Art"  Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

Three paintings by Toth Eszter with partial view of "Striped Idol" by Taubert Laszlo Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

Rock on and practice peace and love.
Stefan, the ArtTraveler™


After more than two weeks living at the 3.5-star Hotel Queen Mary in the center of Budapest's 7th District (Jewish Quarter), I heartily recommend it: old on the outside, otherwise totally modern; it's an extremely excellent value. (I'm not getting a discount for this...it's my idea because it is what it is.)

The owner and staff are affable and speak English and German. Tel: 0036-1-413-3510; www.hotelqueenmary.hu; info@hotelqueenmary.hu.

There's a generous buffet breakfast that comes with the room, and everything in Budapest is close to you.

Check out a sculpture or mosaics workshop or walking holiday in our beautiful mountains. See: www.spanjeanders.nl and www.competafinearts.com.

"Sierra Sky" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2009)

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