Just like the previous five months, June also held numerous exciting and high-quality programmes for us.
The 2011 Art Biennale in the city of Venice (open till 27 November) displays Hungarian artist Hajnal Németh’s installation entitled Crash – Passive interview. The centerpiece of the installation is a car-wreck totalled in a crash, with an experimental opera playing in the backgroud, telling the reflections of car-crash victims in a dialogical form. This is the first time the Passive Interview has been taken abroad, but the work of the Munkácsy-awarded and Nam June Paik-award nominated artist has already been shown to the Hungarian audience, first in the Kiscelli Museum last spring, then in the MODEM in Debrecen in the summer and also at the AVIVA-award nominees’ display in the Kunsthalle las October.
In the framework of the third KLASSZ Talents Program, Hungarofest KLASSZ Music Office and the Ministry of National Resources awarded five young music graduates with a scholarship to different schools abroad. The KLASSZ Talents Gala concert took place on 8th June in Eötvös 10, where the musicians presented the result of their scholarship studies. Based on our experiences at Eötvös 10, we had better remember the names of these five young talents: Balázs Alpár, Éva Móga, Fruzsina László, István Lajkó and Gergely Madaras, who played Liszt, Mozart and other works, featuring Concerto Budapest. The presenter of the evening was Piroska Bakos. Seeing Zoltán Kocsis taking his share of the enthusiastic applause at the end of the concert was a hopeful sign that sooner or later we will see the KLASSZ talents on the stage of the Palace of Arts as well.
Don Sanche ou Le château de l’amour (Don Sanche or The Castle of Love) is an opera composed by Liszt at the age of 13. Though this opera may be considered an insignificant piece written at a tender age – throughout his composing life Liszt behaved as though the work did not exist – Don Sanche is as brilliant as Mozart’s pieces written at the same age. Staged under the artistic supervision of Katharina Wagner, Liszt’s great-granddaughter, it was premiered on 11th June at the Miskolc Opera Festival. The scoring bearing the marks of Ferdinand Paër, Liszt’s music teacher in Paris and the recitatives were prepared by the Austrian composer Gerhard Krammer for the performance and the prospective publication. The performance featured the Miskolc Symphony Orchestra and the choir of the Kosice State Theatre; director: Julia Glass; conductor: Nicolaus Richter. On 8th July Don Sanche will be performed in Bayreuth, too.
An exhibition presenting a new conception and pieces never seen opened in the Ludwig Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art displaying the oeuvre of László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946). The exhibition is part of a series initiated by the museum years ago which presents Hungarian artists who have accomplished world fame but are less well-known in their home country today. Moholy-Nagy’s art represents that Hungary has always been part of Europe, not only geographically, but artistically and intellectually as well. After Madrid, Berlin and The Hague, the travelling exhibition arriving in Budapest is organised around the concept of ’light’. The large-scale show of some 200 pieces and documents from over twenty museums around the world as well as private collections is complemented by photographs and publications from Hungarian collections.
The Pina Bausch Company broughtSweet Mambo, a choreography from 2008, to the stage of the National Theatre on 13 and 14 June. The performance, which was a highlighted cultural event of the Hungarian EU presidency, is a celebration of visuality. Bausch, who died rather suddenly 2009, was a pioneer of the mixed genre of dance theatre, whose personality had inspired two great film directors, Federico Fellini and Pedro Almodóvar. In Sweet Mambo, nine dancers perform the waving rotation of seducing and being seduced, happiness and misery, physical and mental fragility.
Berlin launched two exhibitions at the same time on Lajos Kassák (1887-1967), Hungarian writer, poet, editor, translator and painter. Lajos Kassák – Ambassador of the Avant-Garde, 1915-1927 is the title of the display in the Berlinische Galerie. Supplemented by selected works from the collection of the Berlinische Galerie, the Hungarian National Gallery and from a private collection in Paris, the exhibition puts on literary, artistic and theoretical works by Kassák and his Hungarian and international contemporaries (including Sándor Bortnyik, El Lissitzky, László Moholy-Nagy, Kurt Schwitters, Tristan Tzara and Herwarth Walden), and lays special emphasis on the geo-cultural contexts within which Kassák‘s activity unfolded. The exhibition is open until 17 October. Manifest: KassÁk! in the Collegium Hungaricum Berlin adopts a much more modern tone, reflecting on Kassák’s complete oeuvre and on his versatile and creative character. The multimedia installation was created by the Memetics Group, the representing department in Berlin of Ars Electronica in Linz, who focus on the tension and interplay at the nexus of art, technology and society and on the future manifestations of these interactions.
Organised by the Institute Collegium Hungaricum Vienna, the Hungary Beach Party took place between 17th and 26th June, in the open-air forefront of the Strandbar Herrmann Bar. Reaching out to the younger generations, the party featured some of the most popular Hungarian live acts and DJs, like Anima Sound System, Erik Sumo Band, Brains, the Harcsa Veronika Quartet, Bin Jip, Juli Fábián and András Dés, who played his saxophone to the reading-out by Péter Esterházy. The Danube Design (Duna Design) exhibition was opened a few days earlier, on 10th June. The core concept of the display is people’s relationship with water, the focus of the project naturally being the Danube. The exhibition is open until August 31 in Collegium Hungaricum Vienna.
On 25th June, Lúcia Megyesi Schwartz and Izabella Simon gave a concert in the city where the young Liszt achieved tremendous success: Paris. The event was organized by the Hungarian Cultural Centre in Paris and had featured, in a series of seven concerts, pianists János Balázs, Alex Szilasi, Jenő Jandó, Gábor Csalog, György Oravecz, Károly Mocsári and cellist László Fenyő. In the final concert the two artists performed Liszt’s songs and a few shorter piano pieces.
The Hungarian EU presidency’s image film entitled Hungary, World of Potentials, directed by Isti Madarász won the Grand Prix at this year’s Film, Art & Tourism Festival (FilmAT) in Warsaw on 18th June. In the short film of 7 minutes we can follow a young couple on their journey around Hungary through the most typical sights, national gastronomy and world-famous Hungarian inventions. Previously, the film had also won first prize at the International Image Film Festival in Riga, beating several other films of a multifold budget (e.g. of Dubai or Barcelona). According to the jury of FilmAT, the Hungarian film ”has got soul”.
As the closing event of the Hungarian EU presidency in London, the Royal Academy of Arts has opened a unique exhibition entitled Eyewitness: Hungarian Photography in the 20th Century - Brassaï, Capa, Kertész, Moholy-Nagy, Munkácsi, launched on 30th June and open till 2nd October. These five photographers have all become known for the profound changes they brought about in photojournalism, as well as abstract, fashion and art photography. They were real stars in their time, but have never been featured in the same exhibition before, neither in Hungary nor abroad.
From 23rd to 30th June, an interactive social project took place, connecting Budapest and Madrid: Paralel cities enabled people in the two cities to get in touch with each other via projectors set up in Fogasház and Club Matadero. Eszter Dalos, the designer of the project thought that these two European cities both had such unique cultural and art scenes that they would have a lot in common at the same time. The project, drawing attention to the dialogue between different cultures, was organised by Hungarofest and Imago Mundi Cultural Association. As the final chord of the Hungarian EU presidency, just before the projectors were switched off, the Embassy representatives of Hungary and Spain came together for a virtual meeting in Budapest to say cheerio and goodbye to the past 6 months with Hungarian and Spanish wines.
On 23rd June, the Hungarian EU presidency said goodbye to Brussels. On the Esplanade, the square by a new wing of the European Parliament recently named after the first freely elected Hungarian prime minister, József Antall, programmes started as early as in the morning. Stilted artistes, musicians, handicrafts activities, representatives of the rural Hungarian folk culture displayed their arts and crafts, and were teaching how to make rag-paper, how to make planking, or spin children’s toys out of cornhusk. Jewellers, leather good makers, textile artists put their goods to sale, and even soda water - the invention of the 19th centrury Hungarian physics teacher, Ányos Jedlik - was there to be bought in old-style bottles. Hungarian cuisine was also on the menu: besides the trademark dish gulyás, traditional sausages were very popular, on top of the above mentioned specialties like lángos and trumpet-shell.
The three-day Danube Party festival marking the end of the Hungarian EU presidency offered around one hundred programmes on both banks of the Danube between 24th and 26th June. Apart from music, dance and theatre productions full of show elements, asphalt-drawing contests and projection of images, water processions, fairs and traditional Hungarian delicacies made the farewell party memorable – as we have illustrated in our detailed report with photos and video.