Opening: Tuesday, 26 July 2016 at 5:30 pm
Nature, art, cultures, people – the forgotten unity of the world
Contemporary nature art works from all corners of the world. Inspired and defined by nature, by life on and in earth, as well as by the continual and reciprocal relationship between man and his environment. This thought-provoking relationship is placed at the centre of the exhibition.
The borderlines in art history are at times bound to be vague. As culture was perceived to have come into its own, the ancient phenomenon of nature art (see Stonehenge) was defined as one of the main branches of the fine arts, associated with body and environmental art – genres in which the mediums carry art itself – while retaining openness to other ideas. Our most ordinary signs, such as a spiral or a hexagon, are forms borrowed from nature in the broadest meaning of the word.
Is isolation that has dominated art for centuries and is only lifted when artists go out into nature – the last time in the middle of the 20th century – the result of our scientific concepts? And is it actually art that does not incorporate the whole world and all its contexts?
Nature is enriched by nature art only temporarily (no need to fear ‘overpopulation’). The works are transient with old ones disappearing, albeit with new ones continuously replacing them. So will embracing nature engender a trust of life in us enabling us to accept transience and the infinity inherent in it? Will regarding the universality of nature make us able to repeat ‘supplications’ or the act of adorning a riverbank? Forgotten rites, the humanities, and the wide range of sciences studying nature and practicing its archaeology suggest we can since nature does it too.
Artists from England, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, the USA, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Japan, Iran, Iceland, Poland, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Croatia, Spain, New Zealand and Indonesia will exhibit their works at our show, many of them making them here in Budapest. The works arriving from Hungarian, neighbouring and distant locations differ in their geological and regional characteristics at best weaving together the human and the natural through their understanding and complementing of changing nature, inserting them into the tissue of culture. The exhibition is divided into several chapters. “Small Gestures” presents important works by international and Hungarian contemporary nature art, while “Nature Alliance” reviews the events that led up to nature art in Hungary, and “Eco-avantgarde” is an inspiring Iranian section exploring the relationship between art and the living environment today. Many of our guests are acclaimed worldwide, including Bob Verschueren from Belgium and Nils-Udo from Germany, whose nature art works, now referred to as classics, are familiar to Hungarian audiences from previous exhibitions.
Works installed outside the walls of the Kunsthalle but forming an integral part of the exhibition include nature art works to be seen in the garden of the Gödöllő Applied Arts Workshop, and Alois Lindenbauer’s Growing Boat in the park of the Nádasdy Palace in Nádasdladány.
The curators of the exhibition are John K. Grande (Canada-Romania), Katalin Keserü and Mahmoud Maktabi (Iran).
Our exhibition and the accompanying high standard catalogue with writings by several authors are devoted to the unity of nature, art, culture and the world – a unity so easily forgotten today.
Péter Alpár, exhibitor of Small Gestures
“During my trip to Korea in 2012 I visited the National Museum in Gonjui, where, seeing the prehistoric section, I found it striking that the exhibited pots were closely related to their European counterparts in both form and ornamentation. This recognition led me to the idea that at the birth of human culture when there still existed a direct connection between nature and man, who sought to project his world in visual form, he did so with similar strokes of lines. The filled-in triangle meant “mountain” for everyone. I came across similar archetypal symbols in the ornamentation of Transylvanian carpented wood chests. I created simplified line-drawings of these, and picked eight, which I printed on clay “pebbles” which I then fired in a kiln. I put these in my travel bag, together with a few simple tools, including a knife, a small spade, a saw, a gimlet, some rope, a travel diary and a camera. After the research and studio work I had done, I left the rest to intuition and creativity. I let myself be addressed by the landscape and environment, so I could feel which of the symbols I was carrying with me would appear in visual or other form in the Korean landscape. My questions were in every instance answered as to where, and decorated with which symbol, I had to leave behind my clay pebbles, together with memories of a landscape intervention or performance. For example, the roaring, foaming surfs on the stormy sea responded to a repetitious drawing consisting of parallel lines, which I had brought with me. The monotonous throbbing, energy and heart-beat of existence. The drawing can have many interpretations. I performed a performance on the sandy beach between two reefs of rock when the tide was out. Rolling along the beach perpendicular to the sea from one rock to the other, I drew a line alongside my body. The result was a row of lines perpendicular to the waves of the sea, corresponding to the movement of my body. As the tide came in the horizontal lines of the waves gradually washed away the vertical lines of my body. It was a joint meditation together with creating-destroying nature... It was a beautiful experience.”
Pick up a pebble. If you would like to transform it, feel free to take it home, but please remember to send a picture of it to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can post in the exhibition’s website.
Various stray creatures and elves
At the beginning of Time, on the bank of the Three-Step Stream there lived, and there still live, various stray creatures. The best-smelling, most colourful flowers grow there, as well as the biggest trees. There is grass attached to the soles of the seven-league boots; the wind is usually westerly, caressing the wild boar on his journey to the Realm of Shades, and gently stirring a hundred thousand tree leaves.
It so happened that the hovering creatures of the air were resting in fragrant cups of flowers on the cool stream, and did not notice that the wind blowing was no longer the cuddling westerly: the harsher easterly had made its way over the stream. This wind brought cheeky elves, whose arrival caused a stir every time the wind changed. Telling tall tales, self-important and, most of all, bewitchingly powerful, the elves exasperated and ended the tranquillity among the creatures living by the Three-Step Stream. After their arrival the fairies, balm-crickets, forest dragonflies and all other stray creatures hid under the pebbles of the stream. The cheeky elves, however, discovered where they were hiding, and using their magical powers, they froze the hovering creatures into the pebbles.
You can help free them – if they become visible, the spell will be broken.
Choose a pebble and use the coloured chalks to draw the stray creature – golden-haired fairies, moon-blue dragonflies, you name it – that you think the elves froze in the pebble. Colour them too and after taking a picture of your pebble, please e-mail the photo to email@example.com and it will be posted to the website of the exhibition.