Optimistic Exhibition

Miklós Erdély and the Hungarian University of Fine Arts (1946–2018)

15. December 2018. – 25. January 2019.
MegnyitóOpening: December 14, 2018, 6:00 pm
MegnyitjaRemarks by: Altorjay Gábor
The first semester of the 2018/19 Doctoral Programme of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts was devoted to the work of Miklós Erdély. Announced under the working title Miklós Erdély and the Hungarian University of Fine Arts, this exhibition will take place from mid-December until late January at the Barcsay Hall of the University as the closing event of a 3-month art research project. Despite its explicitly historical theme, the exhibition aims to present new works created for this occasion, which are accompanied by some existing works as well as reproductions and archival material.

It is a well-known fact that Miklós Erdély had briefly studied sculpture at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in the 1946/47 schoolyear before becoming a highly influential artist of the second half of the 20th century. Of course, this one semester alone would not justify such an exhibition, but we also know that throughout of his life, he was almost constantly in touch with the institution via his friends and entire generations of Academy students, even if this contact was mostly indirect.

He cherished lifelong friendships with Béla Kondor and Sándor Altorjai, for instance (both were students of the Academy), and later also with generations of the 1970s and 1980s. In 1975 he held two lectures at the Academy, which had a role in the founding of the artist group later known as the Rózsa Circle. According to some recollections, Erdély was banned from the institution following these lectures, for which there is no direct proof to be found, but a number of documents suggest that the mentality represented by his works and his behaviour was deemed undesirable in the least.

At the turn of the 1970s/80s, several students of the Academy could be found amongst the participants of the Creativity Exercises course he ran together with Dóra Maurer, and later among the members of the Interdisciplinary Thinking (Indigo) group. Six of these students received a rector’s warning for participation at a “non-permitted” Indigo exhibition in 1981.

After 1990, following Erdély’s death, the emerging new generations of students retained a continued interest in Miklós Erdély. In 2008, the Intermedia Department organized a several-days-long conference to commemorate him on his 80th birthday.

The current exhibition is associated with the 90th anniversary of Miklós Erdély’s (1928–1986) birth, as well as a special historical journey back in time and through the history of the institution. In other words, it is an experiment to present the ever-lasting effective history of Miklós Erdély in a new form. The organizers hereby wish to extend their gratitude to the Erdély family, the heirs, the Miklós Erdély Foundation and members of the Indigo group for their help.

Exhibited Works: Gábor Altorjay–Bill McCagg, Ágnes Eperjesi, Miklós Erdély, the students of the HUFA Intermedia Department, Balázs Kicsiny, Béla Kondor, Gábor Palotai, János Sugár

New Works / Doctoral School of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts: Szabolcs Barakonyi, Anna Barnaföldi, Márta Czene, Adrienn Dorsánszki, Veronika Filo, Mátyás Fusz, Margit Koller, Zsuzsanna Kozsuhárov, Gábor Kristóf, Áron Kútvölgyi-Szabó, Loránd Szécsényi-Nagy, András Zalavári, Dia Zékány

Project coordinators: Péter Kőhalmi, János Sugár, Zoltán Szegedy-Maszák, Miklós Peternák

The exhibition was organized and realized with the assistance of: Éva Kozma, Anikó Bojtos, Edina Antal Istvánné, Réka Majsai
Exhibition production: István Győri
Graphic Design: Gábor Palotai Design Web: Géza Nyíry
New translations: Zsófa Rudnay, Dániel Sipos, Andrea Tóth
Lenders: Szépírók Társasága (Belletrist Association Society), the Petőfi Literary Museum, the C3 Foundation, and several individuals.
Supported by the National Cultural Fund of Hungary.