Meeting Europe – Hungary

November 2008

Wacken Exhibition Center, Strasbourg

Within the framework of St-art’08, 13th Strasbourg Contemporary Art Fair

appel résidence
Peter KORNISS Sur la route, années 1970

Meeting Europe – Hungary:

Identity Fictions. exhibition.
Projected Visions – Hungary. art video
The Benefits of Emigration. exhibition
Press release “Meeting Europe – Hungary”

Meeting Europe means encountering its multiple and diverse peoples and cultures, who are richly endowed with an abundance of artistic expressions and behaviors.

Mirroring the permanent mobility of persons, the ceaseless migratory currents which dynamize and fertilize our territories, artistic ideas and approaches are themselves in perpetual motion, extend across time, and are often defined by the force of their distinctive features and their inevitable dialectics in an appropriate relationship with their natural contexts.

The identity of our continent derives its energy from the numerous cultural particularities which constitute it, while at the same time drawing nourishment from surrounding propositions which emanate from its adjoining regions or from even more distant countries.
Unfortunately, it sometimes happens that, thirsty for power, certain parties block this mutual enrichment in order to give rise to absurd and destructive conflicts.

Identity is never single, uniform, global or globalizing. It is an illusion to believe that it will be possible to establish a system of European governance based upon an identity which excludes the particular features of minorities or even silent majorities. In fact, one can observe their ceaseless development, as acts of existence and resistance simultaneously.

The situation is currently the same with regard to artistic creation.

The example of the Hungarian scene persuasively bears witness to this recognition that the “global” element and a single mode of thought find no resonance with the situations and concepts to which the artists lay claim. Numerous works brought together within the scope of these exhibitions clearly reflect the desire to bring to the fore individual universes and personal microcosms.

Standing in opposition to the tendency of a global art or to artistic globalization, the presented artists prefer to tell minor and modest stories; their intimate narrations are inscribed within a unique context pervaded by a well-defined historical and social environment.

The question of self-definition is certainly the underlying theme of the large majority of these works, but the problem of identity is far from being smooth. On the contrary, it thrusts itself in front of us with composite and plural nuances which the artists subtly introduce into their statements.

Meeting Europe – Hungary  focuses on several particular aspects of Hungarian artistic expression with a view to recognizing the extraordinary diversity and amazing propositional impact of the artists from this country.

More than just a protest against the glorification of antiseptic creation, this project strives for a receptivity in order to fully gather the often unfamiliar facets of a complex culture woven throughout an historical process and social context which have sometimes been full of suffering.
Thanks to these artists and photographers, thanks to this reflection upon contemporary Hungarian creation, the question of European cultural identity achieves new meaning and presents itself definitively as a constantly renewed challenge and an issue which each individual should address.

This project consists of three exhibitions: “Identity Fiction”, “Projected Visions – Hungary”, and “The Benefits of Emigration: Hungarian Photographs of the Nicéphore Niépce Museum”, which it was possible to realize thanks to the dynamic involvement of the artists and of Lóránd Hegyi, director of the Museum of Modern Art of Saint-Étienne, of Eszter Lázár, curator, and of François Cheval, head curator of the Nicéphore Niépce Museum of Chalon-sur-Saône.

Dimitri Konstantinidis