Left Turn, Right Turn – Artistic and political radicalism under late socialism

The Orfeo group and the Inconnu group

04. October 2019. – 24. November
MegnyitóOpening: October 3, 2019, 6:00 pm
MegnyitjaRemarks by: Wessely Anna
KurátorokCurators: Nagy Kristóf, Szarvas Márton
How do artistic and political radicalism come together? The Orfeo and Inconnu groups have criticized state Socialism in different decades from different standpoints, but their history exposes the conditions and possibilities of radical artistic and political criticism of the Kádár regime.

Orfeo was a local manifestation of the 1968 movements around the world, while the Inconnu group was shifting from the underground art scene of the 1970s toward expressing a more open and direct dissent in cooperation with the political opposition of the 1980s. These divergent paths show the defining ideologies and mechanisms of the entangled cultural and political activism under Hungarian late Socialism.

By comparing the Inconnu and the Orfeo groups’ experiments to merge art and life, their politics and ideologies, their relation to amateur cultural production, and their gender relations, the exhibition shows that these trajectories are more than historical curiosities. The well-known story of young artists criticizing existing social relations and institutions was not a specificity of dissent under state Socialism, but can also serve as an example when we think about contemporary cultural and political activism.