Primer Episodio

Radical Conceptual Art revisited: A social and political perspective from the East and the South

Workshop - BUDAPEST

The Time of an Artwork / The Artwork through Time

International Symposium within the [VRM] Project

Friday, October 12, 2007, 10:00 – 17:00

Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts, Screening Room

Andrássy 69-71, Budapest 1062

As part of our general research on the regional development of conceptual art and historical aspects of the subject, we are examining how art projects emerged in countries with antidemocratic regimes. (Such countries would include Franco’s Spain, the dictatorships of South America, and the “existing” Socialist regimes of east Central Europe.) We examine the systems of networks that existed in these places, how such movements appeared in the public eye at home and internationally, and use historical comparison to help us better understand both the age and the works themselves. The aforementioned movements in art are not mere accumulations of historical facts, but living traditions that are still making their mark today; the most convincing proof of this is the direction in art practiced by young artists on the international stage, termed “New Conceptualism” by several critics. This is a 21st-century phenomenon that often alludes to its antecedents, though now in a different form, and under different circumstances.


The theme of the Budapest meeting will be The Time of an Artwork / The Artwork through Time, which refers to our intention to devote presentations, symposia, and conversations to the historical and current interpretations of artistic creation, as well as to issues of reconstruction, re-creation and re-contextualization. It is common knowledge that important works have often only become widely known long after their creation, and sometimes only then did they surface at all – indeed, there are even works that could not come into being at the time of their conception, but only decades later; yet historical consciousness ties them to the age in which the idea was originally conceived. Some important works have been lost or destroyed, then surface again through reconstructions, while existing ones reenter the public eye in a new form through some new artistic program or through “appropriation”, or simply as a result of new artistic perspectives. We might well ask what the implications of this are for understanding and for interpretation; are we dealing with something new, or is this the fundamental nature of tradition itself? Which version of a work is the “real” one – or are they all?



Opening Remarks (Zoltán Szegedy-Maszák, artist and Vice Rector of the University)

Brief introduction to the VIVID [RADICAL] MEMORY project. (Hans D. Christ, Antoni Mercader, Valerie Rubinstein, Miklós Peternák)

Jesús Carrillo: Conceptual Art Historiography in Spain

11:30 – 13:00

Gábor Hushegyi: From HAPPSOC to Conceptualism – from the Prague Spring to Normalization in Czechoslovakia

Dóra Maurer: Why? (Between Isolation and the Community)

El?bieta Wysocka: Conservation, digitalization, and restoration of video documents of Tadeusz Kantor's plays from the Cricoteka collection

14:00 – 15:30

László Beke: Notes on the Beginnings of East-European Conceptual Art

Edit Sasvári: “Not like that!”: The “Dissident Venice Biennale” of 1977

Erzsébet Tatai: Living Conceptual Art

16:00 – 17:00

Annamária Sz?ke: Introduction to the Action of Gábor Altorjay

Discussion (the participants of the symposium, with Antoni Muntadas, Hans D. Christ, László Beke, and Miklós Peternák)

Gábor Altorjay: 15 Actions for Marta Minujin (1967) Premiere

Friday, October 12, 18:00 Aula and Screening Room, Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts

Exhibition: October 15 – 21

VIVID [RADICAL] MEMORY (A research project, 2006 / 2007)

Organizer: Antoni Mercader, Universitat de Barcelona

Co-organizers: Iris Dressler – Hans D. Christ, Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart

Miklós Peternák, C3 Center for Culture and Communication Foundation, Budapest

Gábor Altorjay

15 Actions for Marta Minujin (1967)

1) Let’s put on a crash-helmet. Let’s tie our feet together with a rope flung over a pulley that’s at least 3 meters tall while we pull ourselves under the pulley with the other end of the rope and lift our bodies up by our feet, then lower ourselves back, then up again, as long as we can endure it. Meanwhile we should look around and say to ourselves: I SHOULD SINK UPWARDS!

2) Let’s strive to fulfill someone’s wish.

3) Let’s cover our faces with band-aids. Let’s fix portraits of ourselves above our hearts and ask someone to pull the band-aids off our faces carefully.

4) Let’s ask someone about the colors of the rainbow and after every color light up a new cigarette.

5) Let’s close our eyes and screech.

6) Let’s blow up balloons with a vacuum cleaner. Paste newspapers, postcards and maps all over the balloons. Pop the balloons.

7) Let’s wash someone’s feet.

8) Let’s go to the movies. In the dark, let’s put on rubber gloves and think of MARTA MINUJIN. (Let’s throw an inflatable doll into the audience and yell: MARTA MINUJIN!)

9) Let’s weigh ourselves and write the figure on our foreheads with charcoal. Let’s spread newspapers on the ground and lie down on them, cover ourselves with newspapers and shave (or trim our nails).

10) Let’s plunge our heads under water and leave them there until we can no longer endure it. Let’s then whisper to someone standing next to us what went through our minds when we were under water and ask him/her to repeat it in a loud voice.

11) Let’s stick tape on our television screens. Let’s paint them silver. Let’s pull off the tape.

12) Let’s lick our knee three times and spit to get rid of the unpleasant, salty taste.

13) Let’s readjust our watches by 4 minutes and then attempt to answer the question in 4 minutes: IS NUCLEAR WAR BETTER THAN HAPPENING?

14) Let’s listen to the first acts of two operas simultaneously.

15) Look out the window and think of me; look into the refrigerator and think of me; look at your fist and think of me; look at the calendar and think of me, look into the mirror and think of me.

(Anyone, anytime, anywhere, in any order.)