Friday, 9 September 2011

Bizottság exhibition, Műcsarnok

The Budapest Palace of Art (Műcsarnok) unveiled the breathtaking new Bizottság exhibition last weekend. There's been a lot of hype around this exhibition so I thought I would pop in to find out what all the fuss was about!

In order to really understand why this exhibition holds any cultural significance, I needed to do a little background research. I soon discovered (after minutes of trawling through google results) that Bizottság were a collective of artists from Szentendre who formed a band together and achieved cult status in the 1980's.

Now, the music they produced is highly questionable and certainly not to my taste - but then again I've spent the whole summer listening to RuPaul, Sweet Vacation and Britney Spears so who am I to make any comments on taste? However, the art which the key members produced during the height of their notoriety was what really gained my interest. Intrigued by the comparisons to 'The Factory', I felt compelled to see the exhibition for myself.

The exhibition opens with an imposing black and white photographic image the size of the entire wall which towers high above the viewer, the floor covered in grass (possibly real, I didn't touch it) and a strange Hindu-esque alter in the center of the room. You are then lead into another room with an incredible installation which represents the bitter rivalry between the state owned record producing companies and the underground 'indie' labels which was prevalent during late Soviet-era Hungary. Made up from what seemed like hundreds of 12" vinyl record covers, the installation acted as an amazing comparison piece. On the outside are the naff  (but 80's tastic) covers which the state owned recording companies were producing, whilst on the inside you find some inspiring, raw and punky designs created for the underground club scene lining the floor.

This installation sets the tone, if you like, for the sort of cultural environment in which Bizottság rose to fame. The state produced entertainment clearly was pretty shoddy and strictly controlled, therefore it is no wonder that a band who stood up and 'ignored the external pressure' in order to create the sounds and visuals they wanted became so popular.

The rest of the exhibition focuses on the work which Bizottág's key members Zámbó István, László Lugossy and András Wahorn (plus a couple of other artists such as the incredible András Böröcs) created before, during and after the band's peak. The amount of work on show is pretty overwhelming so I would recommend you set aside a good few hours if you want to thoroughly take in all which this exhibition has to offer.

To learn more about the exhibition and opening times, visit the Műcsarnok website.
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