【DE】Queer Budapest at ART COLOGNE 2021

Resisting Erasure: Queer Art in Hungary – Resistance to exile to invisibility: Queer Art in Hungary

 

Hungary’s queer art and creative scene is one of the most exciting in Europe, but is often overlooked and receives little attention from the international audience. What makes it one of the most exciting scenes in Central and Eastern Europe is not least the resilience and creative power that she shows in the face of a Hungarian government that blatantly pursues a policy that wants to banish LGBTQ+ de facto to social invisibility. Despite this political climate, however, the community is flourishing, growing and thriving. This year, Queer Budapest will present itself with a selection of artists at ART COLOGNE and thus at one of the world’s leading trade fairs for modern and contemporary art.

 

The aim of the exhibition is to have a debate about queer Hungarian art while raising awareness of the problems faced by the artists. Selected works are specifically integrated into the context of current political events and measures such as Article 33 or the latest law against so-called “homosexual propaganda”, which attacks the rights and civil liberties of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/intersex and queer people in Hungary.

 

While these developments necessarily form the political background of the exhibition, it also wants to offer a stage for the talent of the exhibited artists and the queer community as a whole. The exhibition shows works by artists who work on different topics and in very different art forms. For the viewer, the connection with the political and social framework conditions is repeatedly established by describing the concrete events and experiences that were and are influential for the queer scene in Hungary.

 

The exhibition divides the works shown into three thematic categories that are considered particularly relevant by the organizers:

1: Works by artists who deal directly with the political climate

2: Works by artists who explore and create protected spaces for queer people (e.g. Night clubs)

3: Works by artists who work with the terms “community” and “identity”

 

Statement by Queer Budapest

Queer Budapest is very pleased to present an exhibition during ART COLOGNE 2021 with works by young and emerging as well as already established representatives of the queer Hungarian art and creative scene and diaspora.

 

While the world seems to be slowly recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, the queer Hungarian community is exposed to an increasingly uncertain environment. Over the course of last year, the Hungarian government has found new ways to further restrict the rights of already stigmatized and marginalized queer people: the prohibition of legal gender recognition, the impossibility of equality of marriage or, lastly, the far-reaching laws that equate homosexuality with pedophilia and prohibit education and presentation of LGBTQ+ in the media. Despite this difficult environment, queer artists refuse to stand idly by these efforts and to remain silent about a policy that tries to remove them from social reality. They continue to produce work with the power to inform and educate. These are works that inspire us to take our fate into our own hands and that keep the desire for a world alive that is free of institutionalized hatred.

 

From the point of view of “Resisting Erasure: Queer Art in Hungary”, art is a central method for both researching and celebrating identity. With works ranging from performance to painting to photography and examining topics such as identity, community and feminism, the exhibition conveys a multifaceted view of contemporary queer life in Hungary.

 

Curated by Zsuzsanna Zsuró and Thomas Roughan, the exhibition includes works by: Ádám Csábi, Anna Ádám, Barnabás Lakatos-Gelléri, Borsos Lőrinc, Hollow Systems as well as works by representatives of the queer Roma community of Hungary.

 

Queer Budapest would like to thank Daniel Hug, the ART COLOGNE team and all supporters and sponsors who made this exhibition possible.

 

On the history of Queer Budapest

Queer Budapest is a platform to support the work of members of the queer Hungarian art and creative community and diaspora. Queer Budapest was founded in 2020 by art historian Zsuzsanna Zsuro (born in Budapest) and the artist Thomas Roughan (born London) after getting to know each other at London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and finding that they were both dissatisfied with the lack of attention to the Hungarian queer art and culture scene.

 

The first exhibition organized by Queer Budapest took place in November 2020 on the Danube island of Népsziget in northern Budapest and met with an overwhelmingly positive response, which showed that there is a great interest in and a real need for the presentation of queer Hungarian art. Following this first exhibition, a radio and podcast series entitled Queer Budapest Talks was launched at the beginning of 2021, in which the creators had extensive discussions with a large number of queer creatives. During its duration, the series developed into a podcast with the second best rating in the visual arts category in Hungary.

 

During this time, the international art media also began to be interested in Queer Budapest. Both The Calvert Journal and Artnet News reported on the platform. Currently and thus against the background of the increasing tensions between the queer community and the Hungarian government, Queer Budapest is in preparation for a special exhibition as part of ART COLOGNE 2021. With “Resisting Erasure: Queer Art in Hungary”, Queer Budapest wants to give the talent of Hungarian queer artists a larger stage and at the same time contribute to drawing international attention to their difficult situation.

 

Exhibited artists

Anna ÁDÁM – Performance

The School of Disobedience is an experimental, unorthodox-radical performance art school and a fight club – but only open to women. On the basis of critical pedagogy, methods of empowerment and guerrilla tactics, the school helps participants to gain political awareness by regularly practicing creating, fighting, protesting, showing resistance and rebellion. The prominent placement of a boxing ring at the fair creates maximum visibility. The audience is invited to participate in the daily “Fight Club” courses or to experiment with the interactive installation on their own. Every afternoon there will be a performance in the ring with which the female fighting power will be celebrated.

 

Ádám CSÁBI – Photography

The photography of Ádám Csábi captures impressions of parties as queer protected spaces in a fraction of a second – unique, intimate insights into the equally fragile, wild and appreciative scene of the intertwined techno and LGBTQ communities.

 

Barnabás GELLÉRI – Painting

Barnabás Gelléri deals with the relationship between personal feelings and their presentation. He translates the challenges and difficulties as well as the joys of everyday life into seemingly easily digestible compositions. On closer inspection, however, the incredible complexity of his paintings becomes apparent. Gelléri does not separate between artistic and personal identity, his world is dominated by his creatures – especially by the snake and the ox. Gelléri is currently studying at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest. Previously, he studied at the Moholy Nagy University of Crafts and Design (MOME). His works have already been shown in numerous group and solo exhibitions, such as “Coming of Age” by Pince Project in 2018 or in “Queer Budapest” of the Skurc Group in 2020.

 

Borsos Lőrinc (Janó BORSOS and Lilla LŐRINC) – Installation

Lilla Lőrinc and János Borsos have been working together under the name Lőrinc Borsos since 2008. Behind the name hides his own being with his own creative consciousness. His/her current age is 12 years. His/her gender, his/her sexual orientation and his/her intellect are consistently characterized by bipolarity. The basis of his/her existence is the coexistence of opposites, although his/her actual goal is the dissolution of duality. He/she despises hierarchies and the social division and exclusion caused by them. For Lilla Lőrinc and János Borsos, art only becomes interesting beyond morality – if it still exists unfiltered, right after the moment of the birth of an idea. Because at this point there is still no political correctness or self-censorship.

 

Hollow Systems – Performance/AI

For us, queerness is synonymous with Subversion: We consider it primarily a tool. Our first joint work was Phoenix (2018). Our goal was to represent gay club culture through two classic figures of mythology: the phoenix that rises from the ashes; and the lonely minotaur in his labyrinth, who is waiting for his next victim (or his redeemer). We want to involve the viewer – we therefore like it when work has no clear meaning, because then he can be more than just an outside observer. Nevertheless, our goal is not to teach other people how to become more open-minded. Rather, our work should show that reality is not as fixed as it often seems – and that the roles we play could also look very different.

 

Queer Roma community – Photography

Art project “Owning the Game”

“Owning the Game” is a photo exhibition to which members of the queer Hungarian Roma community have joined forces to create a form of expression appropriate to them and representing them. The exhibition was opened in July 2021 as part of the Budapest Pride.

 

 

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