Stations | Ilona Lovas memorial exhibition

In a traditional sense a memorial exhibition is a type of exhibition that either marks the anniversary of a prominent event or displays a selection from a deceased artist in an attempt to highlight the important stations and junctions in the given artist’s career. At the Műcsarnok’s memorial exhibition Ilona Lovas’ oeuvre from the mid-seventies to her last years is presented in three halls, according to the curator’s selection. While artworks were contributed to the show by numerous public and private collections, the challenge ahead of us seemed virtually insurmountable since Ilona Lovas’ oeuvre is not simply made up of subsequently made, clearly separable works and cycles that are easy to date.[1] This memorial exhibition is aimed at ‘reconstructing’ an oeuvre with installations being typically built personally by the artist, which is a type of artwork that resembles performance art’s expansive approach to the creative process the most. Ilona Lovas carried out every stage of the creative process herself, starting from the preparation of the ’raw materials’ through the actual making of the works to participating in the final handover, in an actual performance or video work. As if carrying out the traditional female labours: she weaved, washed, salted, sewed, cured and fed. It was characteristic of her work method that the exhibited objects and elements were always given a new meaning during their various displays.

Exactly because of her strong personal involvement in creating and presenting her works, the preparation and installation of this exhibition was an extraordinary challenge, especially because the artist was unable to take part in its planning and implementation, so we do not know which works she herself would have selected for a retrospective show.

The exhibition showcases the main groups of objects that hallmark the artist’s creative path, with a focus on the most important Stations, in many cases striving to display them according to their original numbering. In cases where a work could not be reconstructed based on the artist’s concept, whenever possible, the documentation of the artist’s version is displayed next to the fragment. At the same time, our intention was not to create a complete museum reconstruction of a collection but rather to mount a memorial exhibition that brings into focus a renowned artist’s thoughts and ambitions. Ilona Lovas often worked in collaborative site-specific installations with her fellow artists (including Mária Berhidi, Mariann Imre and Erika Baglyas); one of these, a jointly made video project, is also included at the exhibition.

It is not the sole objective of the exhibition to provide a retrospective presentation of the artist’s oeuvre through works of art but also to transform the act of remembrance into the language of objects, helping the professional circles and her friends to remember her and the public to better understand her art.

The primary undertaking of this essay is to discuss the artist’s most important works in order to consolidate the exhibition concept, and, wherever there is relevant documentation, to demonstrate the artist’s intention through her own words and thoughts. Lovas’ oeuvre has been researched by many scholars in recent decades with numerous in-depth and thorough analyses[2] and exhibition reviews[3] having been written; therefore, it was important to provide an overview of these too.

Since the early ’80s Ilona Lovas most frequently gave Station as the title to her works, which she numbered as they were made. Stations are works depicting the Stations of the Cross or Stations of Christ’s Passion on the way to Golgotha to his death. In colloquial speech the same word refers to the stations of human life. The artist defined it thus: “for a long time now I’ve been naming my works Stations, numbering them chronologically. The first one, Station No. 1 was exhibited in 1984 at the Zwinger Gallery in Kőszeg. It was at this point that I reached the stage in my life where I wanted to look only for my own path. The titles of my works signify the stations of this journey.”[4] The title of the Ilona Lovas memorial exhibition is also linked to this choice made by the artist back then.

The catalogue’s pictorial material is exclusively limited to those works that are included in this exhibition.

 

 

[1]     The author of these lines organised the András Baranyay memorial exhibition in collaboration with MissionArt Gallery in autumn 2021, where the artist’s oeuvre, which was already complete in his lifetime, was made up of connected cycles that could be dated relatively accurately.

[2]     Péter Fitz, Katalin Keserü, Márta Kovalovszky, János Sturcz and László Százados.

[3]     Edit András, András Bán, György Szegő and József Vadas.

[4]     Gwen Jones’ interview with Ilona Lovas at the exhibition titled Elfolyó idő [Fluid Time], linked to the memorial year “30 years free”. Source: Internet.www.librarius hu.

2022. December 9. - 2023. February 12.
Tickets
2022. November 11. - 2023. January 15.
Previous exhibition

Judit Nagy: Personal Metamorphoses

2023. February 3. - March 19.
Next exhibition

ETERNAL YORICK - LIFE BOOK CSABA ANTAL