Imagining Conceptual Art; László Beke's 1971 collection within an international context
tranzit.hu presents at tranzitdisplay in Prague László Beke’s project Imagination, the first collection of Hungarian Conceptual Art, compiled in 1971.
László Beke—the renowned Hungarian art historian and curator of several progressive art events of the 1970s—sent out a call to 28 artists, asking them to submit sheets that would fit into A4 document folders. These works were to follow the concept ‘WORK = the DOCUMENTATION OF THE IMAGINATION / IDEA.’ Beke arranged and preserved the sheets he received in a folder which was available for viewing in his flat. Due to the renewed interest in the collection, the last ten years have seen Imagination featured in several exhibitions, both in Hungary and internationally, as well as being presented in the form of a publication. The English edition was initiated and edited by tranzit.hu, and co-published by JRP Ringier. (http://hu.tranzit.org/en/publications/0/publication/imagination).
The exhibition at tranzitdisplay places Beke’s collection within an international context, mentioning other projects which also occurred in the year 1971, as well as giving the history of select art exhibitions. Similarly to the sheets of the Hungarian artists, the other legendary 1971art projects on display can be interpreted as “exhibitions in a publication format.” One of them is the book Aktuelle Kunst in Osteuropa, published at Dumont Aktuell by artist and collector Klaus Groh, which presents the East European artists active at that time. The highlighted exhibition projects are At the Moment (Zagreb) and At Another Moment (Belgrade) for which the curators-artists Nena and Braco Dimitrijević experimented with the aspects of space and time within an exhibition format. The two exhibitions showcased works by artists from Yugoslavia as well as international representatives of conceptual art. The Belgrade exhibition was also accompanied by a catalogue, which will also be on display.
Another aim of Imagining Conceptual Art is to survey László Beke’s international art network stemming from the 1970s. The exhibition presents documents and information about the internationality of the art world of the time. It likewise investigates the role of art in the sixties and seventies—being generally less object oriented and increasingly dematerialized—which we would now broadly place under the label of ‘conceptual art.’
A map of the various modes of reception of conceptual art, focusing predominantly on geopolitical and cultural relations, will also be created as part of the exhibition. The timeline of the map begins from such as Beke’s collection or artist Dóra Maurer’s support for the international presence of Hungarian artists, and documents further development until projects of today, which often revisit the period of the 1960s and 1970s. This section looks primarily at the history of exhibitions, including artistic and curatorial research projects, such as tranzit.hu’s Parallel Chronologies - An Archive of East European Exhibitions.
The exhibition also features reflections by contemporary artists Virág Bogyó, Judit Fischer, Szilárd Miklós, and others. (from hu.tranzit.org website)
Works presented in the exhibition from the Imagination collection are by Gábor Attalai, Imre Bak, Miklós Erdély, István Haraszty, György Jovánovics, Ilona Keserü, Dezső Korniss, László Lakner, János Major, Gyula Pauer, Géza Perneczky, Sándor Pinczehelyi, Péter Türk.
Concept by Dóra Hegyi, Zsuzsa László, Eszter Szakács
The project is realized in collaboration with László Beke.
The Czech exhibition chronology is compiled by Pavlína Morganová.
Exhibition display by Zbyněk Baladrán.