BALASSI INSTITUTE - HUNGARIAN CULTURAL CENTER AND WHITEBOX PRESENT
A Mixed Media Exhibition on the History and Present of the Jewish Quarter of Budapest
WhiteBox | 329 Broome Street New York NY 10002, April 7–21, 2016
585,000 m2 proposes a dialogue about the symbolic spaces found in the Jewish Quarter of the 7th district in Budapest through visual art statements from the pre-World War 2 period to the present. The title is a reference to the surface area of the Quarter, a dense urban neighborhood overflowing with signifiers of cultural, religious and social life. Nine buildings were selected to explore three important aspects of Jewish life: the sacred spaces, public places and local businesses.
The curators invited nine young Hungarian artists to reflect upon select buildings aiming to research and relate their stories. The artists were to use visual media to mediate between past and present, history and art, artist and society. The mixed media and conceptual installations serve as visual manifestos to show the audience the history-defying existence of the Quarter, where Jews and non-Jews converge again.
The diversity of the Quarter is mirrored in the variegated techniques and approaches used by the participating artists. The contributors, coming from diverse personal and artistic backgrounds, used different scenarios and strategies in their works, expressing their own cultural and personal memories in this project. Each video is a representation of an artistic vision from the present while at the same time being an abstract reflection on the history and the function of the spaces. Through the past decade this Quarter has transformed itself enormously becoming the bright spot it is today, which has helped forming the identity and character of a new generation that includes the artists of this exhibition.
Mixing archival and contemporary frames alongside individual video works and music, the exhibition invites the audience to step into the Quarter and to experience the unique portrayals of these spaces. The representation of the layers of history suggest pathways to the acceptance and adoption of the past by a new generation.
Participating artists: Zsuzsi Flohr, Zsófia Szemző, Márton Szirmai, Dániel Halász, István Illés, Levente Csordás in collaboration with Airplan X Kickass Factory, Balázs Varju Tóth, Mátyás Csiszár, Milán Kopasz along with Csaba Kalotás (music) and Éva Szombat (photography).
Curated by Andrea Ausztrics, scholar and media artist and Zita Mara Vadász, curator, Balassi Institute - Hungarian Cultural Center, New York
Presented by Balassi Institute-Hungarian Cultural Center and WhiteBox in association with Tom Lantos Institute, the Consulate General of Hungary in New York, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, the Hungarian National Tourist Office in New York, with generous support from NYSCA, the New York State Council on the Arts and DCA, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.