Remembering the oeuvres of János Blaskó, Jenő Gadányi, Miklós Jakobovits, Gábor Karátson as well as Gyula Bocz, Iván Cerovszki, Sándor Csutoros, Győző Dombay, Elek Lisziák, Károly Ócsai and Béla Szeift
Separate ways and withdrawal at a time of consolidation
In highly politicised periods the role of art and the situation of artists are defined by vulnerability. This was equally true for the Rákosi, Kádár (and Ceaușescu) eras evoked by Műcsarnok’s five recently opened and closely interconnected exhibitions. Oeuvres once forced into a ’half-shade’ have been lifted into the light again, allowing for an examination of the situation of art in those days, their existential spaces, as well as their art and life strategies with special attention to individual forms of withdrawal and resistance.
The ‘non-existent censorship’ of communist cultural policy created a situation with continuity being one of its key driving force. This continuity cannot be grasped either as rigid opposition, or as the division of the fine arts into ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’, but much rather as strategic games played by the participants of the two spheres with the aim of trying to broaden or narrow down the ‘room for manoeuvre’ available to art and artists. Claiming that in terms of its political and ideological determination the art of the period was bi-polar is oversimplifying the matter and would lead to entire oeuvres being left in the shade. Indeed, the works produced by most of the artists at the time should not and in many cases cannot be forced into the restricting confines of concrete ideological and political categories. At the same time, it is true that the era’s official art policy polarised the distinction between ‘appreciated’ and ‘unappreciated’ artistic achievements as the opposition between realist and abstract styles. Despite the continuous control by the state, however, works defying the political dictates were made, so the official art policy did their utmost to eliminate works and artists deemed (politically) undesirable from the public eye, or at least to silence them for good by excluding them from cultural propaganda.
At a time referred to as the ‘period of consolidation’, many artists set upon their own paths that were seemingly neutral but in fact conveyed a moral stance and opened up new creative potentials. Műcsarnok’s current exhibition, titled One-Time, seeks to put these diverging trends back on the map of recent Hungarian art.