SoulShapes. 2nd National Salon of Folk Art 2023

Art is a way for people to look for their place in the world, and folk art belongs to communities.

Our exhibition seeks to present Hungarian folk tradition in its wholeness: besides the life’s work of the masters, we wish to show the spirit, soul and inspirations that conceived these objects so nicely fitting in the hand: how they take shape and how the shapes of the soul ennoble into objects. We seek to show Hungarian art, which, drawing on strong roots, is still growing and blossoming as well as the organic way of thinking that helps us survive thanks to the joy of artistic creation. Building on the example of recent decades, characterised by the economical use of materials, measured movements and recycling, we wish to send this message to future generations: it can be done like this, or perhaps… it is worth doing in this way.

The thorough knowledge of the methods required for creative activities will not make people artists. They need to be familiar with the thousand-year-old system of signs, while they must also know the world and how it works to be able to model all these processes with signs accepted by the community. For contemporary recipients of art, the essence of this is very difficult to understand because the ’messages’ are not written in automatic, mechanical signs: they can be decoded and read only by those who, being a part of the whole, can become artists themselves, i.e. make their festive and everyday tools and objects, shaping the forms they inherited to their own souls and embellishing them with motifs springing from their our souls.

Contemporary artists understand and are native speakers of our millennial tradition, enabling them to recreate the world by making masterpieces imbued with their soul through which they mediate messages to those who use them today.

The shapes of the Hungarian soul manifest in music can be felt throughout the exhibition: folk music recordings can be heard in every hall. We compiled this ’background music’, which requires some attention but is not distracting, from mosaics of a few minutes in length; the musicians we invited to play are all dedicated to authentic styles.

Perhaps never before was it so timely for Hungarians as now to hear the warnings expressed in Hungarian folk art over many historical periods, to understand the messages formulated by its language of signs, to help its self-healing processes and to strengthen the revival and blossoming of our Hungarian fairy garden by using our creative powers.

Mihály VETRÓ 

chief curator

The folk music selection accompanying the exhibition is available online: 

Official site:  


Virtual tour

SoulShapes. 2nd National Salon of Folk Art 2023

LélekFormák | II. Népművészeti Nemzeti Szalon 2023



2023. April 15. - July 16.
2023. April 1. - May 28.
Previous exhibition

Jan Saudek's Provocative World | opening exhibition of the Budapest Photo Festival

2023. April 21. - June 4.
Next exhibition

László Ujvárossy: Solar Hands