ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO LEAVE?

March - May, 2022
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Fotók/Photos: Barnabás Neogrády-Kiss

A fresh selection from the material of the OSTRALE Biennale O21 contemporary art exhibition in Dresden will be presented from 19th of March till 22th of May in the exhibition spaces of art quarter budapest, ‘inhabiting’ the entire building complex of aqb: in addition to the larger and the smaller gallery space (aqb Project Space and aqb AiR Room), the large-scale studio of Spatial Sound Institute on the premises will be used as an occasional venue for screenings and installations, and the exhibition will also include two artist containers (works by Anna Fabricius and the Kolxoz collective), which took shape following last summer’s artist-in-residence programme in Dresden.

The latest edition of OSTRALE grew out of a call for proposals accompanied by an international curatorial collaboration, focusing on the multifaceted dilemma of degrowth in the context of visual art. This large-scale exhibition took place during the summer and autumn of 2021 with the participation of more than 130 exhibiting artists. Its unconventional main venue was the Robotron-Kantine, an emblematic building evocative of the GDR era, located almost in the baroque centre of the city, which was temporarily rehabilitated for the Biennale. The collective title of the exhibition eventually agreed on by the curators was Atemwende/Breathturn, which thematised the works of art loosely arranged in sections with its poetic and almost inescapable topical undertones. The Croatian, Lithuanian and Hungarian curatorial cooperation and the (East) German location gave rise to an exciting interplay of art scenes and positions. A contemporary art event that has the word ‘East’ in its name obviously bears geopolitical significance, and definitively reflects, beyond the dilemmas of the present, on the post-communist historical experience of the former Eastern bloc.

The exhibition at aqb is entitled “Are you sure you want to leave?” We are curious: what happens after the symbolic and actual breathturn? Phrasing an undefined and perhaps unanswerable dilemma, articulating or, if you like, overcoming uncertainty, the new title creates a common ground for the works. It refers to emigration, to symbolic quitting. The exhibition also includes works by a number of artists making their debut in Hungary, telling local and regional, personal and general tales of loud or quiet conflicts, of animals and people, of power and values – usually with ironic morals. In a polyphony of voices and with gravity, the exhibition shows the poetic and quotidian nature of artistic activity, the heroisation of work, but also the satirical mockery of this very heroism, whether it is a characteristic of recent or current managerial capitalism.

When the exhibition received its title, paraphrasing that of Petra MRŠA’s video, what has since become a terrifying reality – namely that the shocking events of war are now part of everyday life in Ukraine – still seemed to be a remote possibility. The selection of artists from 15 countries features two Ukrainians. Nikita Kadan’s Gazelka is a flag made out of a metal sheet from a truck perforated by shrapnel in the Donbass region, and as such, it is an embodiment of the idea of the revolt of things. Larion Lozovoy’s video (The Machine and the Garden) uses landscape shots from a series of propaganda movies about Soviet collectivisation to expose the seemingly innocent relationship between nature and the heroes of the films.

Both as an art institution focusing on international dialogue and as a community, aqb strongly condemns military aggression and the invasion of Ukraine. We stand in solidarity with those suffering in the war.

Exhibiting artists:
Seçkin AYDIN, Viktor BRIM, János BRÜCKNER, Gaby BURCKHARDT, Daniel BURKHARDT, Nadja BUTTENDORF, Mauro CUPPONE, Abdoul-Ganiou DERMANI, Tibor DIETERS, Alexei DMITRIEV, Anna FABRICIUS, Zsolt FERENCZY, Michael HEINDL, Yuki JUNGESBLUT, Nikita KADAN, Neža KNEZ, KOLXOZ, Glorija LIZDE, Larion LOZOVOY, Dean MAASSEN, studio ASYNCHROME, Petra MRŠA, Sali MULLER, Csaba NEMES, Andrea PALÁSTI, Predrag PAVIĆ, Ghenadie POPESCU, Marko RODICS, Farid RASULOV, Sandra ROSENSTIEL, Goran ŠKOFIĆ, Lana STOJIĆEVIĆ, Kamen STOYANOV, Attila SZABÓ, Hajnal SZOLGA, József SZOLNOKI, Stipan TADIĆ, Philipp VALENTA, Arturas VALIAUGA, Vangjush VELLAHU, Xueying WANG, Yinglin ZHOU

 

Video-installation, screenings:
Ana HUŠMAN, Endre KORONCZI, Kamen STOYANOV

Sound installation:
Sarvenaz MOSTOFEY

Performance:
Marko Gutić MIŽIMAKOV

Curator:

Krisztián KUKLA

 

Curatorial team of the OSTRALE Biennale O21:

Nataša BODROŽIĆ, Ivana MEŠTROV, Patricija GILYTĖ, Krisztián KUKLA

Partners:
OSTRALE - Centre for Contemporary Art (Germany), Kaunas 2022 (Lithuania), slobodne veze (Croatia)

Sponsors:
Budapest Brand, Goethe-Institut, Nemzeti Kulturális Alap, Österreichisches Kulturforum Budapest. The exhibition is part of the Flowing Connections cooperation project, co-funded by the Creative Europe program of the European Union.