Les statues meurent aussi
in cooperation with Hajnalka Somogyi
2014, mixed media, dimensions variable,
Les statues meurent aussi,
Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht (NL)
... "And so we set out to imagine the last exhibition in the Bonnefantenmuseum – a selection of artworks from the Contemporary Collection, carefully displayed in the galleries. What happens if, under circumstances that are presently unforeseeable and inexplicable, the museum closes and the staff leave for good? Other people move in and, to kick things off, open the sealed-off windows, and casually shove the works to one side, or gather them in a corner in what could be described as a barbarian move, in the most neutral sense of the word – these descendants being neither savage nor primitive, but simply from a different civilization, unbound by policies sanctioned by our current cultural consensus.
We were aware that creating such a scenario in an active institution entailed a huge paradox. Soon it became clear that a museum cannot orchestrate its own funeral or rather, it cannot commit suicide. In other words, that it would have been impossible to lift the taboo on artworks of the collection that prohibits their integration into any scenario different from proper museum display. For the time being, a fragmentation of such order or a collage-like treatment of works can only be imagined or modeled. Therefore, this vision of the future is presently placed within a multi-part, allegorical frame, which emanates an air of nostalgia; however, in this case, nostalgia, an attitude that originates in the institution itself, is not so much directed toward our past as toward our “endangered present.”
excerpt from Hajnalka Somogyi's text in "Les Statutes Meurent Aussi" exhibition catalog.
2013, concrete, metal, 140x140x100 cm, Photo: Miklós Sulyok
2013, concrete, 15x140x20 cm, Photo: Miklós Sulyok
2013, installation, wood, dimensions variable, F: Miklós Surányi
Hidden visions, Csepel Művek, Budapest
2012, mixed media, h. 3.50 x 2.50 x 3.50 m
Frieze Art Fair, category: Frame with kisterem London (GB)
The installation Work Station (2012) is made of a double gate-forming structure of iron
tubes with non-stick tarnish. The structure holds a ventilator and neon lamps, which are
powered by solar panels placed outside the fair tent. Work Station is based on an image
showing an industrial loom in a weaving mill factory. Csákány rebuilt the machine
at life size, but the central element, the loom – that can be understood as emblem
for industrializationv– is missing, with only the supplementary construction retained,
deprived of its ordinary function. With the supply of solar energy the ‚relict’ or ‚ruin’ of a
working station can function as a self-supporting system. As in several pieces in Csákány’s
oeuvre, this piece represents work, the product of work and, in this context, its absence.
SUDDEN GUST OF MOTIVATION
2012, painted fibre glass, h. 70x165x 135 cm, F: Csákány István
donumenta, Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie Regensburg (D)
The piece is a realistic sculpture based on a snapshot, that shows the artist
in the very moment when a garden chair collapsed under him and he finds
himself surprisingly half sitting and half laying on the floor. The sculpture
freezes the moment where his body still hasn’t adapt to the new situation and
because of this still remained in the sitting position. The piece singles out the
moment after loosing the ground or more general after a radical change and
shows how difficult it is for our body and mind to adopt to the new situation,
and points out to what kind of bizarre positions our attempt to adopt leads to.
2012, mixed media, dimensions variable F: Miklós Surányi
dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel (D)
Commissioned and produced by dOCUMENTA (13) with the support of Horvath Art Foundation, Budapest; ACAX |
Agency for Contemporary Art Exchange, Department of Ludwig Museum - Museum of
Contemporary Art, Budapest; Zsolt Somlói/Katalin Spengler; Péter Szauer;
Levente B. Málnay; Andrea Dénes/Árpád Balázs ; László Gerő; Zoltán Bodnár;
Dr. Imre Balogh; Pálfi György; Ahlers AG, Herford, Je Suis Belle
This monumental installation consists of two separate parts. One is an exact replica of a typical sewing workshop, disposed on a raised-up floor. Slightly larger than life-size, the sewing and ironing machines are aligned in two rows with a corridor between them, and everything: machines, furniture, cables, neon lamps and other fixtures are elaborately carved from wood. The other is eight mannequins in groups of two or three, frozen into poses of sitting, standing and walking on a long catwalk-like platform that runs along the workshop space. The figures – men and women, based on their proportions – wear elegant dark-blue pinstripe suits of a rather unconventional cut, and have no heads or hands, as if they were invisible under their clothes.
scythe and sickle factory
2011, fencing foil, text, c/print, F: Kriszta Csala
Agriculture, ICA-D, Dunaújváros (H)
Hungary's first and only scythe and sickle factory operated from 1906 on in Szentgotthárd. The factory produced sickles, hoes, spades, axes, but mostly scythes for both the domestic and the foreign market.
By the 1930's, their repertoire consisted of more than 190 types of scythes. After the Communist era ended and privatization began, manufacturing scythes did not seem to be profitable anymore, and the production of agricultural tools came to an end. After several attempts at reorganization, the last owner tried to revitalize the factory by producing foils for use in competition fencing from steel. But after production started - while the quality did not prove to be satisfactory either - it emerged that in the meantime, the fencing world switched to the use of plastic foils. So the new product did not have a market.
After more than 90 years of existence, the factory was finally closed in 2001. Instead of their outstanding wages, the workers took home fencing foils that they sharpened and - still to this day - use as skewers for grilling bacon.
2010, image pair (woodcut: 1260 x 1750 mm, paper/acryl: 1260 x 1750 mm ) F: Simon Liddiment
EASTgoesEast, Bunkier Sztuki, Krakow (Pl)
The woodcut is based upon an archive image that shows workers removing a sculpture titled the Snake Killer
by the Hungarian sculptor Pál Pátzay
. In April 1949, a few hours before its official erection ceremony, the sculpture has been removed by the city government and was hidden for several years. It shows a man fighting with a snake, and was meant to be a memorial for Raul Wallenberg
, a Swedish diplomat who worked in Budapest during World War II and rescued lot of Jewish people from the Holocaust. In 1952, the sculpture was re-erected without any dedication to R. Wallenberg
in the city of Debrecen, in front of a pharmaceutical fabric. Then in 1999, a copy was erected at its original location at the Szent István Park
website about the snake killer sculpture
Marcel BREUER MEMORIAL-ROOM
Winner of BREUER IN PÉCS / BACK and FORTH - public art competition in memory of Marcel Breuer
2010, public art project (has not been realized)
The Marcel Breuer Memorial-Room
is the winner of a public art competition by the city of Pécs - the European Capital of Culture in 2010
- in memory of Marcel Breuer
. Breuer was born in the city of Pécs, but emigrated at a young age, lived, worked and rose to fame as a "self-made man" at the Bauhaus school and later on in the USA. The Memorial-Room
manifests the lack of Breuer's
presence in Hungary. It also questions whether a city or a country is entitled to grace themselves with and hog credit for a man's fame, whose life and work is more or less independent from his birthplace and erect a memorial for them.
The memorial room is the 1:1 concrete replica of a container, that might aswell have been imported from across the Atlantic (just like Breuer's
fame). It is designed as a compact, independent and self-sufficient module with solar panels and a sewage tank. The concrete (a material favourised by Breuer
) is in case of the Memorial-Room
a light-transmitting concrete, a contemporary invention by a young Hungarian engineer. The solar panels mounted on top of the container make the light-transmitting concrete module glow "from the inside" when it gets dark – a strong contrast to the usual Hungarian memorials of figural national heroes illuminated by floodlights pointing at them.
Competition announced by: Architecture and context
and the city of Pécs
in front of the new Conference- and Congress center, Pécs
Download project description
Articles about the project:
index.hu - Földés László: Miért zárták betonkonténerbe Breuer Marcelt Pécsen?
2010, wood, bulb, F: Miklós Surányi
The Science of Imagination, Ludwig Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest (H)
"István Csákány (Hungarian, b. 1978) has created a huge, site-specific installation for this exhibition: a 1:1 all-wooden replica of the private workshop of a jack-of-all-trades: the well-known messy sanctuary of (usually) men where complex, creative and down-to-earth manual work can be exercised for one's own contentment. This type of activity having been relegated to the realm of free time in the age of almighty machines, the private workshop, especially when roughly carved in wood and set in an uncanny blue room, appears as a time capsule of a terminated past." (Hajnal Somogyi - curator of the exhibtion)
Contributors: Ervin Csákány, Ninni Wagner, sculptors: József Tamás Balázs, Andrea Gombos
(contemporary art online journal)
This is a terRace
2009, wood construction (5,87x4.50x3.42 m), light bulbs, photography, F: Miklós Surányi
AVIA Art Award, Műcsarnok, Budapest (H)
This Is A Terrace!
is an installation that was made for the AVIVA art award 2009
nominees' exhibition. It consists of a big wooden construction and a color photography. The wood construction was built with the actual measures of the artist's family-house, with the reason in mind so that the construction can be removed after the exhibition and easily connected to the real house serving as a terrace. The part where the woodwork can be fitted to the unfinished house is shown on the photography. The work was realized from the exhibition's budget, and in this way reflects on the question of using/abusing the exhibition budget for a private purpose, and also questions the afterlife of installations after being showcased. The piece can also be understood as a critical reflection on the typically Eastern-European phenomenon of corruptly yet cleverly "finding a way" for everything, a mentality that unofficially counted as a virtue in the socialist era but is still blooming today.
It was an experience to be here!
2009, site-specific installation (35 m2), F: Miklós Surányi
Open studio, Meetfactory, Prague (CZ)
The It Was An Experience To Be Here!
installation has been realized during a 3 month residency in Prague at a cultural institute called Meetfactory
. For the installation, Csákány painted the working- and living-space (all furniture, walls, lights etc.), everything he found there when he came, with pink paint. Only his private objects (and the plants) stayed without paint. The pink color reflected the light differently from the previously white walls and dull items, it completely transformed not only the room and the furniture, but also the experience of being in the very same room. This work reflects on the special status of an artist in residency, who finds himself in situation where he is forced to build up his own private sphere in the given temporary space. He used the pink color to build - with a bit of irony - a contrast between the rough surrounding of my living, a grim, deserted factory district very close to a cargo handling station, and his private living room. After the open studio event, he continued living in the pink space until the end of his stay.
The Worker of Tomorrow, service-uniform
2009, concrete, 78x130x114 cm, F: Miklós Surányi
Vakuumnoise - Trafó Gallery
„The pedestal of the worker’s statue is empty - only the absence can be incarnated. Chair, coat, pants, boots - this ensemble forms a figure in ( .. ) sculpture. A figure that is perhaps just slightly bigger than life-size - as expected from the ideal type of the worker - but who is definitely not present. It might appear that the act of raising a statue is an outdated phenomenon, when it is difficult enough to formulate statements about the worker. The absence, heavy as concrete, not only bears the weight of the present, but that of the next moment as well.
For the statue refers to a real situation: it is based on a press photograph depicting firefighting gear, workwear in other words, readied for emergency. This standby state is preserved in concrete, pointing out the fact that perhaps the imperative of continuous alertness and standby binds us in a similar way. We are always ready for work. If there is work, because it certainty is dubious, and if there is none, because its uncertainty is doubtless.
The workwear awaits the worker, the artistic rendering of the circumstances awaits its centre.”
(excerpt from the exhibition handout, by Nikolett Erős )
I am a contemporary painter - guest's sock
2008, action with collaboration of Judith Fischer, F: Miklós Surányi
Gallery by night 2008 - Studio Gallery Budapest
I am a Contemporary painter was a performance for a one-night exhibition in frame of the Gallery by Night 2008 exhibition series.
For the event, the floor of the gallery was completely covered with red carpet, and onto the wall in front of the entrance read the spray-painted words: “I am a contemporary painter”. The text served as a background for the action. In front of it, Judit Fischer (a young contemporary painter) painted István Csákány's toe - peeping trough a hole in his sock - grey. She covered the toe in the same grey tone then the one of the socks, so from a distance, people could hardly recognize the hole after the painting.
The painting itself took about 20 minutes, afterwards István Csákány stayed without shoes for the whole night. The action reflects on an emblematic and well known piece of a Hungarian artist, Kriszta Nagy with the title: I am a contemporary painter.
2008, woodcut, 100x157 cm, F: György Orbán
Studio price 2008 exhibition - Studio Gallery
This woodcut shows the efforts of a group of people to raise the huge sculpture of a human.
The visual language of this work is a reminiscence of the woodcut, a medium highly popular in the socialist times.
The situation is based on the preparations of the erection of the artist’s piece Monument for a Monument
The choreography of the mountain
2008, installation, 3.90x5.30x7.80 m, F: Miklós Surányi
The Mechanics of the Canvas - Ernst Museum
“The Choreography Of The Mountain
, built for the show Mechanics of the Canvas
in Ernst Museum
. This work makes use of the lessons of the Reconstruction of the Lomnicky Peak, but also surpasses the realm of installations for-the-eyes-only, perhaps even going as far as to retrospectively reclassify his earlier works into sculptures. For The Choreography of the Mountain
is participatory (it can be climbed): it is not a medium for presenting a work of art; the installation itself is the work of art, it is the corporeal experience of the recipient raised on a pedestal. The real mountain built from rafters is a crystal clear exposition of the formation of space. At the same time, as revealed by the title, the installation draws from stage effects, since the possibility of a mountain hike as an experience in the exhibition space emerges with sensory immediacy. …” (excerpt from Modernist of the Provinces by Áron Fenyvesi
. Balkon, 2009.)
Monument For A Monument
2008, public sculpture project, size: 22.8x1.25x0.7 m
Adress: Stanica Zilina (SK), F: Dusan Dobias, Beatrix Szörényi, Miklós Surányi
The large roundabout raised on pillars shown on the photo was built by the socialist government in the sixties, in a neighborhood called Záriečie
in Zilina, Slovakia.To illuminate the circular bridge and the connecting streets, as well as to prove that wealth, modernization and progress was going along with socialism, huge, 20 meters tall (!) lampposts were erected. The ambitious street construction is still in use, directing mainly the industrial traffic into and out of the city, but the street lights have never been able to fulfill their task. The people meanwhile stole the cables from the rusty iron lampposts, and soon a new, decent lighting system took over their function. Nevertheless, they stayed on their place as over-dimensioned reminders of the achievements and failures of socialism. Today, with their missing function, extraordinary size and formal beauty, they can be seen as public sculptures or monuments.
The declaration of the whole construction as a monument and the revitalization of the street lights were the basic ideas of István Csákány's
sculpture project. The artist placed a statue on top of one of the lampposts located in the middle of the roundabout. The figure is a realistic, life-size portrait of an average man, the artist itself. He holds a solar panel above his head, with his hands covered by working gloves. The lights placed on the bottom side of the panel use the energy collected in the daytime to illuminate the figure by night. The sculpture serves as a prosthesis by enabling the device, in an indirect way, to spread light again. Of course the fact that the ordinary street light needs its help reflects the given historical background. The statue itself also enters in dialogue with the ideology and the sculptural conventions of socialism. Instead of the pathos and the monumental worker- and peasant figures of socialist realism, it presents a life-size, average man in casual clothing, who looks rather small and lonely in the distance. He seems to consider his heroic gesture as a task or as work, rather than an endeavor that could change the world. But his efforts remain isolated and self-reflective, as in the end, he is only able to light up himself.
The lamppost with the sculptural extension constitutes a virtual meeting point, where the ideologies and technologies of the past can get in contact with the ones of today. This synthesis gives back the city and its inhabitants a piece of their own, forgotten history, and at the same time it presents them with a new-old city emblem or monument.
This project was realized in cooperation with Stanica
(www.stanica.sk) - a former railway station building in the middle of the roundabout that has been transformed into a House of Culture.
2008, house modell (wood, tape, paint) 150x150x70 cm, photography workers (1) (by Miklós Surányi ) 150x100 cm , photography house (5, 6) from photo series Abandoned toys by Miklós Surányi , 90x90cm
Province models - Stanica Gallery, F:Dusan Dobias
'50' exhibition series - Studio Gallery, F: György Orbán
Young sculptors - Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts, F: Beatrix Szörényi
is based on the picture of an unfinished twin house in the countryside of Hungary, taken by the photographer Miklós Surány
i. When the model of this house was exhibited for the first time, it was shown together with the original photography of the house. Later, it was shown together with group-picture of 4 worker-like people standing in a flat that is under reconstruction. The people on the image are the artist himself, his friends and relatives. The situation depicted is real, as they were all working together on the reconstruction of a flat, so the photography documents them as workers, although none of them is a professional worker. Both the building and the photography reflect on the very common we-do-it-ourselves attitude of people from the former eastern block.
The group picture has been commissioned by the artist and was taken by Miklós Surányi
2008, painting (oil/canvas), 150x150 cm
Province Models - Stanica Gallery, F: Dusan Dobias
1 day '50' exhibition series - Studio Gallery, F: György Orbán
Painting of a grey-painted toe that peeps through a whole in the sock.
A citizen's week-end house
2008, installation, 260x345x300 cm
Province Models - Stanica Gallery, F: Dusan Dobias, Miklós Surányi
A Citizen's Weekend House
is the model of a house, with walls made of functioning and dysfunctional radios. The functioning radios were transmitting the sound of several radio channels simultaneously. For the exhibition at the Stanica Gallery
, the windows separating the gallery space from the bar space were removed, and the radio-house building itself and the sound of the radios connected the two spaces. This piece is a quotation of the artist’s painting the Province-Transmitter
2007, painting installation, 300x280x300 cm
Models of Provincia - Stanica Gallery, F: Dusan Dobias
Dear painter, paint me... - Trafó Gallery, F: Gabriella Csoszó
Kapitalistische Freundschaft - Collegium Hungaricum Berlin, F: Tamás Kaszás
painting is a huge landscape image topped by a roof-like slat-construction with the inscription PROVINCIA.
In the hilly landscape depicted, a weekend house-like building is placed, with its walls made of radios. The painting has been exhibited in most cases (Trafó Gallery, Stanica Gallery
) in a dark room, with a stage-like podium in front of it, that the audience could enter.
The piece is related to the artist’s installation A citizen's weekend house.
They couldn't sweep it under the carpet
2006, painting installation, 200x3260x200 cm, in cooperation with Beatrix Szörényi
Dear painter, paint me...Trafó Gallery, F: Gabriella Csoszó
Eats=food, Közelítés Gallery, F: Beatrix Szörényi
A 3-dimensional painting made in collaboration with Beatrix Szörényi.
2006, painting installation, 320x400x380 cm
Diploma exhibition - Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts Budapest, F: Beatrix Szörényi
The Province Model
is a house with walls made of straw, and a roof that is covered by paintings from the artist and his friends they have made during their time as students of the academy. On the front facade of the roof, there is an inscription that reads PROVINCIA MAKETT. A metal ladder is placed on each side of the building, so the audience could climb up and get a close look of the paintings.
Road constructor's monument
2005, object, 120x300x40 cm
Munka cím - Studio Gallery, F: Szörényi Beatrix
A pathway piece on wheels made of bricks, with a pulling bar. Piece of the exhibition Work Title.
2005, site-specific installation, 49 m2
Work Title - Studio Gallery, F: Gabriella Csoszó
The Architectural Malpractice
is a site-specific installation which was made through the preparation of the gallery's floor. A new floor was built over the real floor in a way so that the surface matched the rest of the space perfectly. The artificial floor contained some hidden 'errors'. These errors were designed by an architect in advance, and the architectural plan was exhibited as well.
Untitled - The artist as enterpriser
Work Title - Studio Gallery, F: Gabriella Csoszó
This work came to life as a commission to build a pathway in a garden. I called some unskilled workers to give a hand for the work. By the time I realized that all of them were professional artists, I decided to create a new artistic conception about this work. I therefore documented the working process and complemented the work with a memory board fitted into the pathway, containing the builder-artists’ names, professions and the name of the owner of the pathway.
The Reconstruction of the Lomnicky Peak
2003, installation, 670x700x400 cm
III. Prague Biennale: Private politics (Hungarian section)
Ludwig grant exhibition - Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts (Barcsay hall)
The Robbery of Europe - Millenium Center
“The gigantic installation, “recycled” in several contexts, was practically the reconstruction of a national symbol, blending the artist’s uniquely constructivist affinities with his criticism of painting, since the installation was practically constructed of dismantled and recompiled canvas stretchers. Therefore, the work might be considered a reinterpretation of a particular landscape painting. By rebuilding (objectifying) the symbolic landscape as a skeleton-structure, Csákány
has given rise to a form on the frontier of the abstract and the concrete, which was one of his first and most influential steps towards his later work and themes, which probe the limits of the genre of installation and explore the issue of provinciality.” ... (excerpt from Modernist of the Provinces
by Áron Fenyvesi
2002, installation, 150x200x100 cm
ART-WINDOW Gallery, Budapest, F: Beatrix Szörényi
was created in the ART WINDOW Gallery in Budapest.
The making of this artwork was a public process, which was made visible to and could be followed by the people passing by the window. For the image itself (150x200 cm), I used 32 kg of colored glass pearls (rented from a pearl shop), each with a diameter of 3mm. Right after the opening, I began to work on the piece. Placed on the wall in the background of the space, there was a board stating '? days until the art-piece will be ready'. This completion date was continuously revised over the month I spent in the gallery window. During this time, I invited several guest artists to offer some assistance, including Beatrix Szörényi, Miklós Mécs, Tamás Kaszás, Attila Kispál, Anikó Loránt
. The time spent in conjunction with these artists, the assistance they provided and the dialogues generated were all important points for me. On average, I spent 6-8 hours a day working in the gallery's window. After the pearl-image has been completed, it was exhibited for one day longer, before being destroyed (and the pearls returned). The final image depicted two hands sewing pearls. This motif was reminiscent of Christian icons, often making use of the isolated hand motif, symbolizing the creator.