A Joint Exhibiton by Kunsthalle Budapest and the Hungarian Museum of Architecture and Monument Protection Documentation Centre (MÉM MDK)
Kunsthalle Budapest is presenting a family history exhibition spanning four generations. Visitors are invited to explore a selection from the works of Gyula Sándy Sr. (1827–1894), painter, Gyula Sándy Jr. (1868–1953), architect, Tamás Konok Sr. (1898–1971), war photographer, and Tamás Konok, painter, great-grandson, grandson and son, binding and synthetizing these three oeuvres, celebrating his 90th anniversary this year.
In presenting the four artists’ career, the organisers accentuate shared features, points of intersection in their oeuvres. Works of art presented at the exhibition are connected also by interviews based on Tamás Konok’s recollections as well as by objects and souvenirs, guardians of the family history.
The painter Gyula Sándy Sr. spent most of his life in Upper-Hungary (today Slovakia), his canvases represent mainly romantic mountain landscapes and people. A cursory presentation of his oeuvre is being rounded out by documents and personal objects kept by his descendants.
The exhibition brings into focus the oeuvre of the architect Gyula Sándy Jr. He committed himself to styles reminiscent of the Middle Ages during his studies. He would apply his favourite, Gothic Revival, in combination with the dominant style of the respective period: at the end of the 1890’s, he took over elements from the Transylvanian folk architecture while at the end of the century he was influenced by Hungarian Art Nouveau. His career peaked in the twenties’ and thirties’, marked by his masterwork, the Post Palace in Buda. The old post building at Széll Kálmán Square is currently under renovation, which adds extra interest to its presentation and allows showing some of the building’s original parts and ornaments at the exhibition.
Between the two World Wars, Gyula Sándy Jr. designed the highest number of Evangelical churches in Hungary. Although they are generally smaller buildings, due to their high number, they constitute the most defining part of his legacy.
His work is illustrated by documents from the Gyula Sándy inheritance, kept by the Hungarian Museum of Architecture (MÉM MDK), as well as by the photos of Krisztina Bélavári.
The oeuvre of Gyula Sándy Jr. and his son-in-law, Tamás Konok Sr., who started out as an amateur photographer and became a professional one, deserve particular attention also in terms of history of photography as well as history in general. He was among the first in the country to use colour film. As the commander of the Hungarian War Reporting Company at the East front during World War II, he primarily recorded the life of soldiers, the Russian landscape and Russian people on exciting photo compositions with an attention marked by great empathy. He was the first to take photos of the crashed fighter jet of Miklós Horthy’s son. Tamás Konok Sr.’s photos are presented at the exhibition by courtesy of Fortepan’s photo collection.
Twenty-one art pieces from the oeuvre of Tamás Konok Jr., Kossuth prize-winning painter, one of the most significant geometric abstractionists in our country, are displayed at the exhibition, also including early, figurative work. Most of the art presented, however, is part of the artists’ signature abstract work with the ambition − in his own words − to make the invisible visible.
Curator: Péter Bodó art historian (Museum of Fine Arts – Hungarian National Gallery)