January 15, 2021 - Palazzo delle Esposizioni - ​Catalogue online now
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January 15, 2021

Palazzo delle Esposizioni

Sándor Pinczehelyi, Sickle and Hammer 3 (detail), 1973. Ludwig Museum - Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest.

Evasion techniques. Strategies for the subversion and derision of power in 1960s and ‘70s Hungarian avant-garde art
Catalogue online now

www.palazzoesposizioni.it
Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

Evasion techniques. Strategies for the subversion and derision of power in 1960s and ‘70s Hungarian avant-garde art
Catalogue online now

www.palazzoesposizioni.it
Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

Curated by Giuseppe Garrera and Sebastiano Triulzi, the Evasion techniques. Strategies for the subversion and derision of power in 1960s and ‘70s Hungarian avant-garde art catalogue covers and illustrates the show of the same name which was held at Rome’s Palazzo delle Esposizioni, dedicated to a selection of those extraordinary avant-garde artists who found themselves operating in conditions of danger, inhibiting control and censorship, under a totalitarian communist regime, even at risk of their own safety. Through their brave and desperate attempts to express themselves and to disobey, their adventure enables us to experience a crucial chapter in art history.

The catalogue, which you can now download, is a universal investigation into the condition of art under all systems of power. Each chapter provides us with an instruction book of “evasion techniques,” offering a glimpse at images, actions, traces of performances held clandestinely and under the very nose of the authorities, driven by the sole urgency of actually doing them. In this way we encounter and get to know—in some cases for the first time in Italy—a number of highly important artists, from Endre Tót to Judit Kele, Sándor Pinczehelyi, Bálint Szombathy, András Baranyay, Tibor Csiky, Katalin Ladik, László Lakner, Dóra Maurer, Gyula Gulyás, Ferenc Ficzek, Tamás St. Auby (Szentjóby), Gábor Bódy, Marcel Odembach, Gyula Pauer, Zsigmond Károlyi, Tibor Hajas, László Beke, István B. Gellér, György Kemény, Kálmán Szijártó, Gábor Attalai, Károly Halász, László Haris, Orsolya Drozdik. Their work was saved thanks to the dedication and care of both museums and collectors. A special thanks goes to the endeavours of the Ludwig Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art of Budapest and to the Hungarian Academy in Rome.

Six different moments are explored in the catalogue, each exemplifying one of these evasion techniques. We begin with the artist’s self-portrait as an idiot, fool or madman (established power is disarmed when confronted by the childish and the clownish). Melancholy also features strongly in this section, with artists representing their own suffering, aware that they must operate outside any recognised state institution (established power considers melancholy a political disease). Female artists are well represented here, those who in a patriarchal and chauvinist society caused scandal merely by presenting themselves in public, and were accused of indecency. The second section deals with various degrees of freedom—the clandestine, fleeting, ephemeral ways of communicating and testifying dissent. This was most frequently achieved by writing on walls or in the snow, actions which were only witnessed by a camera whose reel remained a closely guarded secret. The third chapter covers mail art, a form which enabled these artists to communicate with their friends in the rest of Europe, those living in free countries. This art crossed borders and dodged censorship in the form of seemingly innocent envelopes or postcards.

The fourth chapter analyses the neurosis of power through photographs and visual accounts, painful testimonies which always allude to a reality perceived as a long succession of interdictions: railway tracks leading nowhere, stone markers, fencing, danger or warning signs. This urban signposting is continuously transformed into something allegorical, allusive in these works. The “invitation to guerrilla” section features piles of cobblestones masquerading as a documentation of works in progress, but which are in fact a fierce allusion to munitions and revolt. The final section explores the unease of art, the anxiety experienced by these artists in the process of simply by making their art. Some of their shows were literally held in their own back gardens, during gatherings among friends, in backstreets far from checkpoints and prying eyes. The Evasion techniques catalogue is ultimately a pretext for grappling with the concept of the pervasiveness of power, its dangerous paternalism, and serves as a political and civic lesson on making art, pointing the younger generations in the direction of still vital examples of libertarian and civic behaviour. As well as towards non-alignment with any system of power, in primis that of art itself.

 

Evasion techniques cataolgue—videos: January 19–26
Six short videos regarding the catalogue posted on Palazzo delle Esposizioni website

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