THE BOSCH+BOSCH GROUP

Date: 19 November 2020 - 17 February 2021
Time: 20:00
Venue:  Hungarian Cultural Institute, Brussels
Treurenberg 10, 1000 Brussels
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Until 17 february the exhibition is open for visitors. Registration: info@bmki.be, +32 2 209 0750

The Hungarian Cultural Institute Brussels presents to its public the artistic aspirations of the Hungarian neo-avant-garde of the sixties and seventies through the works of the Vojvodina based Bosch + Bosch group. The exhibition, which opens online on November 19, will be followed by a number of discussions, performances, a series of lectures and screenings related to the topic.

The Subotica-based Bosch+Bosch Group (1969–1976) was one of the artist collectives that started emerging among the young generations, across Europe and other parts of the world in the ‘60s, mostly within the music scene, but also in other fields, such as the broad domain of visual arts. The Bosch+Bosch Group entered the scene with the claim of re-evaluation, envisioning a new type of social role for art, and was established outside the larger cultural and artistic centers, around the outskirts of the country, where the impact of Hungarian activism between the two world wars could be detected (Lajos Kassák, Sándor Barta). Most members of the Group were of Hungarian origin (Attila Csernik, Katalin Ladik, László Kerekes, László Szalma and Bálint Szombathy). A selection of the Group's work, which provides an exciting insight into the neo-avant-garde aspirations of the 1960s, will be presented in Brussels as a joint project of the Hungarian Cultural Institute Brussels and the Ludwig Museum.

Following the welcoming words of Zsófia Villegas-Vitézy at the 7 pm virtual opening on November 19, Ambassador Tamás Iván Kovács will give a speech, followed by a presentation by Júlia Fabényi, director of the Ludwig Museum via Zoom.

This will be the first joint collaboration in the life of the two institutions, the first time that a relatively recent exhibition, presented in LUMU at the end of 2019, ensuing the approach of the Brussels Institute, will be exhibited in Brussels.

After the discourses, Bálint Szombathy, one of the still active members of the group, will carry out his performance. The virtually guided exhibition and tour will also take place with the participation of Bálint Szombathy.

In connection with the exhibition, the organizers created and dreamed of several virtual events that are different from the traditional and are able to keep the audience engaged.

On 26 November, a video conference and discussion will take place, with Dorotea Fotivec, curator of the exhibition and of the art Institute for the research of the avant-garde in Zagreb. Following the presentation, the audience has the opportunity to ask questions to the speaker.

On 3 December, those interested can watch a full-length documentary about the group's work. Nikola Milošević's film comprehensively breaks down and scans the Yugoslav and especially the context Vojvodina. The film also features Hungarian artists such as Katalin Ladik and Bálint Szombathy who form the backbone of the group.

 

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The consciousness and situation awareness of the people of Subotica was rooted in the special character of the town situated in the border region, infused with multicultural identity and multilinguality. While the bourgeois attitude was still tangibly present in its art in the ‘60s – especially the impact of the “Pest School” – the emerging generation was already in quest of local traces of Hungarian activism, seeking historical resources that endeavoured to expound and eluci- date the fading memory of the Dadaist “matinees” in Vojvodina. They sought the local roots of an art the fresh idea of which had seeped into the Yugoslav scene from the international arena, owing to the country’s economic, cultural and artistic openness and the boundless possibilities of intellectual networking.

Literary research also helped the mostly ethnic Hungarian members of the Bosch+Bosch Group in locally recognising the significance of Hungarian activism, predominantly Imre Bori’s epochal studies that rehabili- tated the oeuvre of Lajos Kassák, who had been dismissed in Hungary. Historical research into the course of Zenithism and Yugoslav Dadaism commenced almost simultaneously in the South Slavic scene. The young artists of Subotica recognised the inevitability of the network system that had already functioned in the period of the historical avant-garde and resurfaced in the international scene in the ‘60s. Beyond the self-explanatory Southern Slavic relations – mostly with Novi Sad, Belgrade, Zagreb and Ljubljana – they attached special importance to intellectual and physical approach towards their Hungarian like-minded contemporaries as well as their collaboration with art circles in North- and South-America – mainly utilising the benefits of mail art.

The Bosch+Bosch Group entered the scene with the claim of re-evaluation, envisioning a new type of social role for art beyond re- jecting local, provincial values in all walks of life. It was a typical cosmopolitan phenomenon that idolised the idea of international (counter-)art, attempting to reform the notions of art and the artist, which had been cemented in an outdated form. Faithfully to the ideas of the avant-garde, they professed that being an artist was not a matter of status but a lifestyle and behaviour. As to how much of this was actu- ally realised – the exhibition hopefully proves illuminating.

The occasion for this retrospective show is that the group was founded half a century ago, as the second collective of its kind in Yugoslavia. The exhibition is organised with the Institute for the Research of the Avant-Garde and the Marinko Sudac Collection, from which came the majority of the exhibited works, additionally giving some insight into the modernist – abstract and Informel – endeavours of post-war art in Vojvodina. It also highlights some moments from the activity of other Vojvodinese groups emerging in the course of the ‘60s and ‘70s, providing a context for the core corpus. A by far not insignificant aspect is that the exhibition presents the oeuvres of some members of the group beyond 1976, illustrating the subsequent development of certain creative ideas. This constructive approach can be especially interesting with regard to those artists who are still active today.

 

Finally, a citation referring to the provenance of the group’s name: “The denomination of the Bosch+Bosch Group is founded on the conceptual paradigm marking the bridge between the early stage in the activities of the collective and the nature of its subsequent denouement, in the course of which the community’s ultimate creed was formulated. Our fleeting traditional period was hallmarked by our admiration of the Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch. As shortly after our formation, we steered towards the international waters of contemporary art, it became evident that we would need to be confronted with the new media and media technology of the age. We were pondering which notion from the world of modern technology would be best suited to express this moment, which was how we arrived at the West-German Bosch company, which had already carved out a strong presence at the Yugoslav market by the ‘60s, while also serving as association to the Dutch master. By joining the two Boschs, we embedded the name of our group in a symmetrical structure, although – as it is more than evident by now – the balance shifted considerably in favour of mediatic explorations related to technological aspects, once we had naturalised the daily use of photography, slide, film, television, xerox, etc. Marking the age of technology, the new notion of Bosch symbolically supplanted the old.”

Bálint Szombathy