Random Reports Nr. 35, Budapest

Wine-and-Soda Surf

The author could not persuade the surfer to go on any gallery visits this summer. By the end of June, all she has managed to do was to get her to send a postcard from the training camp of Pest: these days, only the suddenly numerous beer gardens can keep the sportswoman in motion. The house squatting underground design of the laidback alcoholic divisions that have appeared in unused tenement buildings – in other words, the natural condition of the ghettos, the rotting plaster, the slight musty smell and the thrown-out furniture – are all necessary essentials of pub art.

From a historical standpoint, according to the author’s almost useless memory, in past years the Pótkulcs was the first place where this microclimate was provided for the introduction of more progressive art, such as the work of the Dutch Kamiel Vershuren. In addition, young people have been getting their education from Master Saso’s sometimes, indeed, brilliant, slightly fantasy-like wall and table paintings in the basement of Süss Fel Nap for years. Then, two years ago, Szimpla kert, the first beer garden located in the courtyard of a tenement building, offered an opportunity for pub art to establish itself. In addition to wall paintings, the stickers of the then-touring Dutch Flu virus, which signified the beginnings of the genre of sticker art in the Hungarian art scene. Last year, the surfer’s sibling, too, hid a few plaster buttons in the lavatories of some of the gardens…

The present situation is positively encouraging, moving decidedly away from the absence of stimulus.

The Mumus garden refers to its space of a few rooms with a street view as its gallery, where veteran street artists (1000%,Merev és Torz, stb.) have created their own sanctuary.


The visitor is presented with on-screen stencil montages , that incorporate motifs already familiar from the streets (a male head breaking apart as a result of magnification, silly 50s illustrations, etc.). The rotting, grey/black/bronze colouring brilliantly match this mould-logic based genre. The evolutionary line starting off with the portrait of a fat baby and continuing with older, unfriendly figures painted on refuse materials in a brownish tone is a similarly excellent series. The incorporation of coloured graphical paintings, found litter and photo documentation from earlier ventures into a single wall reminds the surfer of the works of San Francisco artists, Barry McGee who his image masses – built from bitterishly sick oil miniatures, direct amateur action photos and found street advertisements – got as far as the MoMA. The surfer proposes to the author that, based on the myriad of common traits, it would be worth calling this style, something like ‘hip hopism.’ The political, anti-Bush/anti-war photocopy montage – whose creator would no doubt be patted on the shoulder by Bálint Endre – also stands in support of internationality.


And although the surfer would not have included the Pollockian wall splatter and other scavenged, painted objects in the décor, she feels this material of organic rubbish-aesthetics to be positively strong and convincing. The fact that the wall of Műcsarnok coffee shop was recently covered in the works of the sticker guys shows the degree to which their trajectory resembles that of Barry McGee and the extent that the laidback guerrilla attitude has become institutionalised.

A street away from Mumus, Tetthely also proudly sports a few classic street fighter masterpieces: a Derrick fresco by Nikon and other first class graffiti [I., II.] which brings the ambiance of the Filatori gát suburban train (HÉV) stop to the sixth district.


Catering hip hop – more ice cubes in the wine spritzer please!

Translated by: Zsófia Rudnay