Vintage Galéria’s current exhibition presents a selection from Tibor Csiky’s series titled Structures of Objective Reality (1973-74) and Gábor Attalai’s series titled RED-Y MADE (1974). The two artists who both were aware of international tendencies of contemporary conceptual-, pop-, minimal- and mail art, but who also transformed these trends into individual local approaches, had a personal relationship from the 1960s. From the first half of the decade, they both regularly visited the Zuglói Kör [Zugló Cirlce] organized by Sándor Molnár, they both exhibited at Pál Petrigalla’s flat, and in 1966 they presented their works at a joint exhibition in Sweden (Modern Nordisk Konst, Göteborg). From 1969, they regularly began to spend time at each other’s apartments with Imre Bak, Tamás Hencze and István Nádler. At that time, according to Csiky’s recollections, he had conversations with Attalai about “the limits of personal style” among other things, and according to Attalai’s recollections “It was Tibor Csiky who first drew his attention to the fact that photography would become »folk art«, and it is definitely worth working with it.” From 1972, the artists began to visit the lectures on astronomy and quantum mechanics of the Free University of the Tudományos Ismeretterjesztő Társulat [Society for Scientific Knowledge Dissemination], their “Rezeda Action” was also organized in 1973 through the discussion of the knowledge they had acquired there. The immediacy of their relationship is well characterized by the pieces from Csiky’s 1972 “mail-art action” addressed to Attalai, the postcard inscribed “Dead Ends of Our Future” completed with a Czechoslovak-made condom in gold coin-like packaging, and the postcard stating “Gábris, this is no bed of roses.”
Csiky first sent his Structures of Objective Reality I-IV (1971) series to László Beke on the invitation of the Elképzelés [Imagination/Idea] project, and then in 1973 he began his series titled From the bus stop to the workers’ hostel. The colour slides counting up to 120 pieces – now missing – were presented at the Fészek Klub as part of the program titled Halfway On the Path of Human Life. The series, which Csiky also referred to as Háros structures in his notebooks, was created on a roughly half-kilometer long way “from the Háros utca stop of the no. 3 bus, through the two barriers to the workers’ hostel of the Háros Steel Sheet works.” In 1974, Csiky presented a selection of 46 pieces from the series completed with new elements at the Fiatal Művészek Klubja [Club of Young Artists], which after the exhibition ended up in the collection of László Beke. The exhibition of Vintage Galéria presents a selection of this collection expanded to 49 pieces. Csiky – following his sculptural, descriptive approach and scientific interest – collected “objet trouvé”-type objects and photographic documents from the world around him, proceeding from the microcosm to the macrocosm, and then reframed them into collages. With his rather painterly approach, by overpainting the surfaces with red, Attalai appropriated an Artforum article on Marcel Duchamp’s ready-mades, as well as the bottle rack bought by his daughter in Paris in the 1990s. Attalai later recalled this as follows: “I could cheat and say that in the spirit of a philosophical fantasy I could also – almost – repaint the world into a red-y made, but megalomania did not come to my mind. I was interested in other aspects of the red-y mades, namely whether the ready-made adventure of Duchamp’s perception can be continued…” Although their artistic approaches were different, both Csiky and Attalai transformed found objects into new phenomena through their choices, selections and coverings, so their works that developed in parallel from the 1960s complement and counterpoint each other well.