Art+Text Budapest is pleased to announce its unique exhibition 'Cubism Prolonged', a visual essay on the lost Hungarian Cubism and its conceptual legacy. The show will be on view at the gorgeous Bedő House, once home of an eminent private collection of Budapest.
Joseph Csaky, Gizella Dömötör, Béla Kádár, Károly Kelemen, János Kmetty, János Major, Peter Puklus, György Segesdi, Imre Szobotka
4 December, 2015—15 January, 2016
'Even if I were to tie-dye, write poetry or folk songs, the medium of photography would keep haunting me'
Hungarian Cubism is 'a quasi virgin territory, a term that has not even deserved a subchapter in our handbooks yet.' – declared Gergely Barki on the pages of the August issue of Artmagazin. Today, the research of this specific historical period seems to keep up the interest beyond the circles of committed art historians. The project of Péter Puklus revolving around the pioneer Hungarian cubist sculpture, the ‘Head’ of József Csáky has gained attention with the aforementioned article simultaneously. The visitors of the Amsterdam-based Unseen Photo Fair & Festival are exposed to the remake of the Csáky statue on posters, citylights, entry tickets etc. Péter Puklus who was in charge of the the complete visual identity of the festival was interviewed by Szilvi Német about the rediscovery of the lost sculpture, the remake process and the campaign in general.
Szilvi NÉMET: When you first set your eyes on this archive photo of Csáky’s statue, did you check with Gergely Barki? Now you are launching the somewhat falteringly termed 'Hungarian cubism' together, in a beautiful synchronicity.
Péter PUKLUS: The story starts from the fact that I love looking at other people’s pictures and I’ve got a handy system for that, a feed reader, where I can collect blogs that I want to follow. The image in question [the photographic reproduction of the statue ‘Head’ made by József Csáky in 1913 – ed.] appeared while browsing this news feed. Usually I save the images that I find interesting in a folder on my laptop and I never open it again. I have something like 10.000 pieces in my virtual collection already. I tend to forget about them completely.
Meanwhile, I am working on the project...
The 'Cubism Prolonged' idea came from a contemporary photo project dedicated to a sculpted Cubist head. A young emerging Hungarian art photographer, Peter Puklus (b. 1980) developed this project connected to the Amsterdam photo fair Unseen's campaign in 2015. The photo project is based on a personal remake of a Cubist portrait found as a black and white anonymous photo spread on the Internet, which then turned out to be Joseph Csaky's lost 'Head', published on the cover of the Cubist newspaper Montjoie! in 1914. Puklus re-casted the portrait of plaster and also included his own facial features. One version was painted and photographed in his atelier, while the white version was colored by programmed RGB lamps and was destroyed at the end of the Unseen fair in Amsterdam. “It is a sculpted self-portrait based on a photograph of a sculpture that I came across through online research,” said Puklus for the Unseen magazine/catalog. “The sculpture was made in 1913 by Hungarian artist Joseph Csaky. The sculpture itself has been lost; the photograph is all that remains. Somehow I saw myself in this 100-year-old statue.” All images and objects are part of Puklus' ongoing series called 'The Epic Love Story of a Warrior' (2011—2015) creating an illustrated historical story around a Central European fictional hero in the 20th Century.
While Puklus developed his own Cubist story based on photography, Hungarian art historians (Gergely Barki and Zoltán Rockenbauer) started to make researches on the totally unknown history of Hungarian Cubism. Although Prague is the only one Central-Eastern European capital where Cubism became a dominant Avant-garde movement in the early 20th Century, Hungary had a significant Cubist group of artists based in Paris before the First World War. Alfred Reth (later well-known abstract painter of Abstraction-Création), Joseph Csaky (pioneer Cubist sculptor), Gustave Miklos (later famous Art Deco sculptor in Paris) belonged to this small group; they were later followed by younger Hungarian painters like Imre Szobotka or István Farkas. Almost all of them attended La Palette, the Cubist academy, and exhibited in the biggest shows of the Parisian Cubist movement. Csaky studied at the La Palette, rented a studio in the famous Le Ruche atelier house, became a member of the Section d'Or group, his Cubist sculptures were exhibited in the Salon d'Automne and published in the Montjoie! journal.
'Cubism Prolonged' assembles the two endpoints of the story of the Hungarian Cubism, displays the very fresh photo-conceptual project by Puklus along with original Cubist artworks of the early Avant-garde (sculptures by Csaky, paintings by Szobotka, etc.), includes a few pieces that once belonged to the Bedő Collection. The exhibition also displays milestones of the “recycled Cubism” of the post-war period up until the completion of Puklus’ project: relics of Socialist Modernism, conceptual references of the 70s.
in association with