Discover the evasion techniques used by Hungarian artists to circumnavigate and critique the totalitarian regime of the time
Till January 6th, make sure to stop at Palazzo delle Esposizioni for Evasion Techniques. The exhibition focuses on Hungarian artists from the 1960s and 70s avant-garde scene who used evasion techniques to circumnavigate and critique the totalitarian power structures of the time. Works by artists like Endre TóT, Judit Kele, Tibor Csiky, Sándor Pinczehelyi, Katalin Ladik, and Dóra Maurer are on display, ranging from performance artworks and films to sculpture, street art and photography. Expect to explore the themes of confinement, patriarchy, consumerism, totalitarianism, communism, and the resiliency of art through the exhibition’s various sections.
The first section of the exhibit explores “the portrait”–how the artists portray themselves. One guise these artists would use is that of the fool. Through this technique it is easy to question and speak truth to power. Through its indecent idiocy, Károly Halász’s “Promote, Tolerate, Ban” subverts serious societal values, including masculinity. Coupled with this is the theme of the artist in sadness, which allows the artists to enter a position where they display their sadness as a symptom of their political condition under totalitarianism.
This section of the portrait is where the female artists of the exhibition really shine. Playing off of themes of power and control, a photograph of Judit Kele’s “I am a Work of Art” features the artist living in a museum space under the watchful gaze of a policeman. In several of her pieces, artist Katalin Ladik is scandalous and challenging, subverting expectations of women around the world and appropriating gender norms for her own revolutionary purposes.
The next section is titled “Degrees of Freedom”. Here, we find artists using their varying degrees of freedom to express themselves. Hajas Tibor lets off steam by writing on the walls, Endre TóT captures his vocal dissenting in photographs with speech bubbles. In other works, TóT organizes absurd protests, which could on occasion lead to him being accosted by authorities.
Another technique used by these artists to subvert authority is the tactic of mail art. This practice is the subject of the third section of Evasion Techniques. Here, artists can escape their totalitarian life, through a common feature of these societies; a highly effective postal service. The artists send messages, including some of simple joy to others with and without freedom.
Next, gallery-goers can explore the “Psychosis of Power” through the exhibit’s fourth section. Here common symptoms of a totalitarian regime are explored. Physical and intangible objects are on display. Csiky Tibor’s pieces, “Barrier”, “Parallels”, and “Ring” communicate not just the concrete structures of this society, but their mental and emotional effects.
In the fifth section of the exhibit, “Invitation to the Guerrilla”, one can find some unique pieces wherein artists subvert authority by making art with cobblestones. During this period in Hungary, it was illegal to put cobblestones on display. Here, one can find cobblestones plainly on display, but also more subversive works where artists conceal their actions through what could appear to be simply labor.
Closing the exhibition, the sixth section is dedicated to both the discomfort of, and the dream of art. Discreet meeting places and the artists’ lifestyles are revealed as well as idealism and collective conceptions of the art world.
Till January 6, 2020
Palazzo delle Esposizioni
Via Nazionale, 194
Open Tues-Thurs, 10am-8pm; Fri-Sat, 10am-10pm; Sun, 10am-8pm; Mon closed
Entry fee €4-6 (till October 20); €10-12.50 (from October 22)