Curated by: Mónika Zsikla
The character and internal context of the private collection of Árpád Balázs and Andrea Dénes, which has been built and enriched for more than a decade, can best be defined along the reflections on post-conceptual and neo-avant-garde art. Each segment of the collection, counting over 350 artworks, can provide snapshots of the social transformations along the cultural and political legacies of the change of regime and the Cold War, of the self-reflective and existential issues of art and being an artist, while several large-scale artwork revolve around the apocalyptic crisis of nature and the dystopias of collapsism. Furthermore, in addition to reflections on collective historical, political and cultural heritage, another significant part of the collection is a group of works echoing the distillation of abstract philosophy associated with geometry and mathematics. The works of significant middle-generation and young artists of the collection not only echo the traditions of geometric abstraction and conceptual painting, but also the spirituality and liveliness of movements such as the Bauhaus, which has fundamentally defined 20th-century art. A third significant group of the abstraction of social and political facts and contexts are objects and experimental photographs related to architecture and urbanism that focus on the aesthetics of modernity in Central and Eastern Europe. Along with their subjective and objective references, the artists not only envision stories related to the future, but also grasp the opportunity for expression and resolution on social issues through their works and projects reflecting on historical and public issues.
István Csákány’s concrete sculpture Our Heritage, which gives the title of the exhibition, is a reflection on one of the iconic works of the 20th century, the hanging circular sculpture Hand Circle, presented in 1996 by American artist Bruce Nauman. In addition to adopting its compositional scheme, Csákány reinterpreted the message of the original work and turned the petrified palms into components of a death wreath, referring to the social significance of the “heritage” left behind by art(ists). Halfway between the facelessness of the art(ists) and their collective heritage, the art collectors and their collection are important milestones, which will be inherited for posterity not only as part of the subjective everyday life and as a pledge of understanding, but also as a significant imprint of the history of society and art. The pieces selected from the Balázs-Dénes Collection without any technical or genre restriction, give an insight into this ’heritage’ formed by the collectors, through which we can get a taste of the ’heritage’ of social, historical and artistic reflections that engage contemporaries living and working in Hungary and the region.