Curated by: Mónika Zsikla
The Somlói–Spengler Collection is one of the most defining private collections on the Hungarian art scene, and it has been increasingly accumulating international pieces as well since 2002. The collection, which consists of several closely interconnected units, has been growing and taking shape for nearly thirty years. Representatives of a new generation of contemporary art collectors in Eastern Europe, Zsolt Somlói and Katalin Spengler, started to assemble their collection in 1992, after the democratic turn in Hungary and the fall of the Iron Curtain, in a time period very much in flux. Their generation experienced the momentum of change first-hand, so they threw themselves right into the bustle of their contemporary artists and the international art scene. Their collection, which now boasts nearly 700 pieces and can rival the standards of public collections, has become a defining private art collection not only on the Hungarian art scene but on a regional and international level as well. The current exhibition at Q Contemporary offers a small sample of the vast material of the collection.
Q Contemporary’s current exhibition, Stories We Live With, showcases an intricate selection from the fantastically rich material of the Somlói–Spengler Collection. The sections of the exhibition offer snapshots of connections between Hungarian, Central and Eastern European, and global art in the form of subjective cross-sections from the collection. The clusters of objects curated into thematic units are linked together by a thread of stories we live with. These stories are relevant not only on a social level, but they also make space for the recounting of personal and collective stories on topics like forgetting, denial, the culture and politics of memory, people inhabiting, shaping, and even fearing their environment, as well as the social definition of female roles. In each section, the spectacle of works of art, paintings, photo collages, and objects, each evoking different associations, depict enigmatic narratives.