European Travellers: Art from Cluj Today / Kunsthalle, Budapest

European Travellers: Art from Cluj Today / Kunsthalle (Műcsarnok), Budapest, Hungary

European Travellers: Art from Cluj Today / Kunsthalle (Műcsarnok), Budapest, Hungary
April 19 - July 01, 2012

Cluj’s contemporary art has for years been the subject of special international attention. The term Cluj School in reference to new figurative painting – which appeared in the mid 2000s and has been the topic of debate ever since – and the Paintbrush Factory – which houses studios and independent cultural institutions – quickly became widely known in Europe. Of the Cluj artists, many have exhibited in such prestigious international venues as the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, MoMA in New York, the Kunsthaus of Zurich, and the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein. Their works have been discussed in internationally significant publications and they have collaborated with distinguished galleries. The art institutions of Cluj have notable networks of international connections and continuously host prominent foreign experts.

Marius Bercea, Zsolt Berszán, István Betuker, Mihuţ Boşcu, Răzvan Botiş, Mircea Cantor, Radu Comşa, Csaba Csiki, Duo van der Mixt, Oana Fărcaş, Adrian Ghenie, Simon Cantemir Hausi, Mihai Iepure Gorski, István László, Victor Man & Anna-Bella Papp, Szilárd Miklós, Dénes Miklósi, Alex Mirutziu, Nita Mocanu, Ciprian Mureşan, Cristian Opris, Cristi Pogacean, Victor Răcătău, Cristian Rusu, Şerban Savu, Leonardo Silaghi, Mircea Suciu, Péter Szabó, Sergiu Toma, Gabriela Vanga, Szabolcs Veres.

Curator: Judit Angel

The success story of Cluj is no overnight “miracle” however, as it is a continuously growing, multi-layered phenomenon. Its development and evolution have not only required exceptional artistic talent, inspiration and perhaps a bit of luck, but in the background, are also the result of mostly private initiatives, as well as an immense amount of work, an open attitude, persistence and conscious self-positioning on the part of independent art institutions.

The Műcsarnok exhibition aims to offer an authentic representation of the “Cluj phenomenon.” As a special point of interest, in addition to the artworks, the show also familiarizes viewers with the most important institutions of the local art scene, which are of many different types. These include centres that house contemporary art exhibitions and accommodate theatrical and dance productions, studios that experiment with digital media, publishing projects, as well as community and activist platforms. The University of Art and Design Cluj, with its strong emphasis on building international connections, also makes its appearance. The more than thirty artists and seventeen art groups and institutions that are featured in the exhibition have been selected with a focus on the – internationally also significant – developments in Cluj within the past decade.

The international embeddedness of the contemporary art of Cluj is also well indicated by the fact that a considerable portion of the works has been borrowed from collections in Western Europe. The paintings, graphics, objects, photos, videos and installations featured in the exhibition include both newly realised and site specific works. Similarly to the artist generation of the nineties, albeit with less directness, these artists also react with sensitivity to the challenges of the local social and cultural milieu. The displayed works relate to the mechanisms of history and memory, the ambiguities of the transition period, and the changes in ideology with the same reflectiveness as they do to art history and painting traditions. Figurative painting and critical and lyrical conceptual tendencies – the two defining trends of the contemporary art of Cluj – are represented in a mutually complementing manner at the Műcsarnok.

Alergische Platze, Bázis, D Media, IDEA art + society, MindBomb, Paintbrush Factory, Sindan Cultural Center, Tranzit House, Version, Univesity of Art and Design Cluj.

Lenders: Mircea Pinte, Zenoviu Ioan Haiduc, Timotei Nădăşan, Galeria SABOT, Cluj; Galeria Plan B, Cluj / Berlin; Răzvan Bănescu, Ivan Gallery, Andreiana Mihail Gallery, Bucharest; Private collection, Paris; Rodica Seward, Galerie Hussenot, Yvon Lambert Gallery, Paris; Private collection, TAJAN SA, Paris; private collection, Switzerland; Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, München; Johnen Galerie, Galerie Barbara Thumm, Berlin; Tim Van Laere, Antwerpen; Michel & Brigitte Verliefden, Brussels; Robert Bosisio, Bolzano; Galeria Zero, Prometeogallery di Ida Pisani, Milan; private collection, Italy; Larm Gallery, Kopenhagen; Melle Hendrikse, Rotterdam.

Exhibition design: Lundi et Demi.

Supported by: Ministry of National Resources, National Cultural Fund, Max City, UNIQA, Romanian Cultural Institute, Galeria Plan B, Bázis, MB Art Agency Amsterdam.

Kunsthalle / Műcsarnok
The Műcsarnok (“art hall”) was founded in 1877 on the initiative of the Hungarian National Fine Arts Association. The original building was situated at 69–71 Andrássy Street, now home to the University of Fine Arts. The exhibition hall on Heroes’ Square was erected in 1896 for the millennium celebrations, and was designed by Albert Schikedanz. Today the hall operates on the pattern of the German Kunsthalle: it is an institution run by artists that does not maintain its own collection. The three-bayed, semi-circular apse houses a roofed exhibition hall that allows in light through the roof. Since the building was renovated in 1995 the Műcsarnok has welcomed visitors and leading Hungarian and international contemporary artists alike, mediating and representing modern artistic tendencies whilst not maintaining its own permanent collection.

Tel. +36 1 460 7000
Fax. +36 1 363 7205

Kunsthalle / Műcsarnok
H-1146 Dózsa György út 37. (Hősök tere)
Mailing address: H-1406 Pf. 35.

Above: Ciprian Mureşan, The End of Five-Year Plan, 2004. Photo: Studio Protokoll, Cluj-Napoca. Courtesy Studio Protokoll, Cluj and Plan B, Cluj/Berlin.