Toldi Photo Gallery, 1981
10. November 2017. -
14. January 2018.
Opening: 9. November 2017 at 17:00
The Toldi is one of central Budapest’s iconic art-house cinemas, which has, since the mid-seventies, hosted events, screenings, debates, talks and film clubs that were not always supported, but were tolerated at best and often banned by the powers that be at the time. Thanks to the few films, news, publications and music that made it across the Iron Curtain, this art-house cinema built a regular audience, comprising the visitors and often artists of the gallery, which opened in the basement of the place.
The first Toldi Gallery opened in April 1975 and ran until it was banned and closed down in October 1976. It offered a small but important venue for artists and photographers who had a hard time finding an exhibition space. Thirty-four artists were able to display their works. New exhibition openings were initially held once a month and later every three days!
Renamed Toldi Photo Gallery, the second period began in 1981 and ended once and for all at the end of the same year, again with a banned exhibition. It was exceptional in terms of its conception and operation, and in certain respects illegal even. Set up and managed by György Reha, with Péter Tímár as artistic director, Krisztina Jerger curated 8 (+1) exhibitions that expressed discontent with received trends, but rather, set a progressive course for contemporary photography.
While heterogeneous in style and theme, the works of János Szerencsés, Péter Tamási, the Horus Archives of Sándor Kardos and László Lugosi Lugo, the photographs of Tibor Szalai and László Vincze, Ilona Lovas and Tamás Nagy, Géza Lennert, Agnes Rodier, Ákos Birkás and, the plus show, Tibor Hajas’s pictures (which led to the demise of the gallery) had in common a sense of freedom both in the political sense and with respect to artistic conventions.
This exhibition seeks to erect a memorial to the Toldi Photo Gallery, which existed for less than a year in 1981. It remains a characteristic slice of Hungarian art and photographic history worthy of remembrance. It provides a wealth of information for understanding the locations and groups forming photographic art in the recent past.
The exhibition presents some of the original works. Documents, interviews and original recordings seek to evoke the place and the period.