In the last seven years Műcsarnok’s team organised one hundred and fifty exhibitions in this prominent institution of Hungarian culture now celebrating its 125th birthday. Just like a rainbow has seven colours, each one of these seven years added a new colour to the optics of the past period. The aim of Műcsarnok has always been to open up the cultural horizon and serve the broad community of audiences and professionals sensitive to quality culture. The National Salons, a tradition renewed, was launched in 2014, and this year marked its seventh opening. The five branches of art alternating in the annually staged Salon exhibitions are architecture, fine art, photography, applied art and design and folk art. Seasons and series form the backbone of the annual exhibitions with its shows mutually amplifying and complementing each other. Besides the seasons of exhibitions, a new type of exhibition referred to as ‘one artist – one hall – one curator’ was introduced, which was held for the fourth time this year. In collaboration with the Budapest Photo Festival, Műcsarnok is home to photography exhibitions of varying themes every year and is a venue for the festival’s opening events. Another annual event hosted by us, the Derkovits scholarship exhibition, focuses on the youngest generation of artists with the aim of providing them with a platform and support for their work. In the spirit of reception aesthetics, exhibition installation – realised with the help of renowned visual designers – is assigned a major role in the most important shows, which often present complex content: it makes the ‘job’ of visitors easier by facilitating a better understanding of what they see and fostering a personal experience. From the start Műcsarnok sought to develop an exhibition strategy that would enable interaction between works, artists and audiences and help the latter to engage in a living dialogue with the press and art criticism providing orientation for visitors.
This exhibition was therefore designed to revive the above: it is hoped that the informative illustrations and data on the walls will bring the experience of past exhibitions closer to today’s visitors, while further enriching it with the selection of works evoking some special events and moments from Műcsarnok’s projects with various artists.
It is an important achievement of Műcsarnok that a publication and/or catalogue was made for each of its exhibitions and even the free exhibition guides – ‘newspapers’ ranging from six to eight pages in length – were given a unique visual identity thanks to their contemporary graphic design efficiently communicating content and prudent editorial work; moreover, in every case, the publications were available already at the opening. A special celebratory volume was made for this year’s summary exhibition presenting not only the shows of the past seven years but also highlights of the incredibly colourful and diverse events that accompanied these, while taking a look at other events forming part of Műcsarnok’s profile, such as museum education workshops and the noteworthy collection of the institution’s library specialising in contemporary art.
The summary exhibition also celebrates the 125th anniversary of Műcsarnok’s opening and provides the opportunity to survey the results of the art historical exhibitions of recent years, which filled a long-standing gap, and those of the shows covering a wide spectrum of contemporary art.