A unique exhibition is being held to showcase Hungarian architects fascinated with, and influenced by, Asia from the 19th century to the present day. Jointly organised by Kunsthalle and the Hungarian Museum of Architecture and Monument Protection Documentation Centre, the exhibition entitled Ad Orientem: Hungarian Architects in Asia, explores the ideas and relationship to Asia of architects, some better, others lesser known, who turned to the East.
The focal points of the exhibition include artifacts collected during oriental travels, which became increasingly popular in the 1800s, the orientalist approach of Hungary’s Art Nouveau scene, the emerging opportunities for building projects during the interwar period, and the successes of our contemporary architects in Asia.
Through sites in Iran, the United Arab Emirates, India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, China and Japan, the exhibition presents the architectural visions and completed works that have challenged and captured the imagination of our architects.
Thanks to domestic and international research, we are also able to present several recently discovered designs, photographs and documents, including never-before-published photographs of Istanbul by Károly Kós, works by Imre Francsek Jr and Jenő Károly in Iran, oriental artworks collected by Kálmán Giergl and László Hudec's portrait from Shanghai. Among the contemporary architects, our exhibition features the drawings of Ferenc Ráskai, the designer of the Zalaszántó Stupa, Szilvia Viczián's works built in Arab cities, visions of South Asia by György Csete, István Medgyaszay and Károly Róbert Kertész, and the public buildings of György Pálffy, one of the most prolific Hungarian architects in Japan. The works of father and son: Botond Bognár, architect and writer, and Balázs Bognár, senior designer at Kengo Kuma, who are actively involved in promoting Japanese culture, are displayed in a special format.
The multi-faceted art of the architects is projected through fine art such as the Buddhist-themed paintings of Béla Takách of Gyöngyöshalász, the Angkor-themed paintings of Gábor Sánta and the artistic architectural photos taken in Japan by Sára Sebestyén. The exhibition will be complemented by visual materials such as a short film on the life of László Hudec, Lőrinc Csernyus' water-based design at the Dubai Expo, and an animation of Tamás Lévai's Shanghai pavilion.
Adding a unique perspective to the exhibition, in each of the three rooms of Kunsthalle’s basement Box, we will also present an architect from an Asian country, who has an important connection to Hungary: Arian Choroomi from Iran, Perin Mistri from India and Sou Fujimoto from Japan.
Curator: Eszter Baldavári, art historian-museologist
Organisers: Kunsthalle & Hungarian Museum of Architecture Monument Protection Documentation Centre