Interview with Dr. Jeffrey Taylor on art business and forgeries

Author: Ruxanda Renita
Published on: 27.06.2016

Dr. Taylor was one of the first professors who laid the foundation for the B.A. in Arts Management degree in International Business School, Budapest, Hungary – a partner of Oxford Brookes University, Oxford at that time. He inspired hundreds of students in pursuing an art business career. Curiosity and a certain degree of American attitude of saving the not yet so ‘known’ art – the Central European art; brought Dr. Taylor to Budapest, Hungary. It is also the art that brought him back to the USA. After more than four years, I met one of my first Arts Management mentors in the midst of the Armory Show.

Grosland Associate Director of the Masters in Gallery Management and Exhibits Specialization at Western State Colorado University, one of the 27 Certified Appraisers in Modernist and Impressionist Art, a Leon Levy Fellow; Dr. Jeff Taylor shares with us some intriguing information on art forgeries, appraising and research within the Central European and the American art markets.

Jeffrey Taylor on 60 Minutes talking about Beltracchi
Jeffrey Taylor on 60 Minutes talking about Beltracchi

Ruxanda Renita: This May, you took me through the backstage labyrinths of the Frick Collection. You have access to their library, which to art ‘freaks’ like us; it can get the pulse up in a fraction of a second. Is it the access to the Frick Collection that inspired you to become a Leon Levy Fellow? Could you tell us more about the fellowship?

Jeffrey Taylor: I’ve known the Frick Art Resource Library for quite a while, because it’s basically the best art research library in the world, especially if you’re looking for market information like auction and exhibition catalogues. They also have a research institute called the Center for the History of the Collecting that is doing some of the leading work on studying the art market and making that information digitally available to the public. The Leon Levy Fellowship is at the Center and I’m doing my research on Global Secessions at the Fin de siècle, which is when the monopoly salon system begins to break-down and secessions (alternative salons) begin to appear. This process takes places in Paris and then in Central European capitals (Munich, Vienna, Berlin… where the term Secession comes from), but this phenomenon also happened in Budapest, Prague, and New York. So I’m looking at the phenomenon of Secession as it happened across the Western art markets at this time.

RR: Your perseverance inspired and still inspires myself and your rest of the students.  In Budapest, you started art-forensics lab where Hungarian art and not only was ‘investigated’. Your project crossed the Atlantic and together with Prof. Stephen Cooke and Thiago Piwowarczyk you opened a lab at SUNY Purchase. The project caught not only the students’ interest, but also WSJ’s curiosity. What did it take to open a lab in the States and how would you describe the experience of working at the lab in Budapest versus NY?

JT: I realized back in 2007, when the so-called Pollock-Matters forgery case was going down that this art forensics stuff was going to be really important. So that’s when I got to know some people in Budapest who were doing this kind of work, and we began doing these services for the local Budapest market. The difference, I would say was that in Budapest, no one else, not the market, and not the museums, really understood what we were doing so there wasn’t really that peer-review rigor that you find in science in the US. At our lab at SUNY Purchase we really subscribe to scientific method. Stephen is a widely-published chemist, and Thiago is a criminal forensic scientist. Our work is transparent and reproducible, and we rely on published studies in conservation science to base our findings. We also aim to make these services affordable to collectors and the Trade so that the scourge of art forgery can be combatted.

RR: On June 7th, the first auction of Central and Eastern European (CEE) art is taking place at Sotheby’s London. Your PhD dissertation (and first book) was focused on CEE art and you lived and worked in the very center of the Central Europe – Budapest. Now, you are living in the biggest megalopolis of the world – NYC. How did you find the news of having Sotheby’s dedicating an auction entirely to CEE art? Is it surprising or as the Levine collectors said – ‘It is just about time’?

JT: It certainly is time. There’s always been this prejudice towards Eastern Europe (the Cold War distinction fades only slowly) that its art was never important. Just look at art history books from the 1960s, they don’t write anything about places East of Vienna…ever. It’s as if the Iron Curtain existed backwards in time. Back in my early years in the art business in Budapest in the early 2000s, I and some of my clients (NY and LA dealers) were quite sure that Hungarian cubo-futurist artist Hugó Scheiber or the avant-garde Béla Kádár would become big names in the international modernist canon… it didn’t happen. There’s a funny disconnect between, for example, those Hungarians who are in the international canon: Moholy-Nagy, Hantaï, Reigl, the architect Breuer, and, of course the photographers: Capa, Kertész, Brassaï…. And those who are in the Hungarian canon Rippl-Rónai, Csontváry, Ferenczy, Benczúr. A good example of the paradox is that the photographer Martin Munkácsi (who adopted his name in honor of the painter) is far more canonical in the West than the painter Mihály Munkácsy… who, art historians in Budapest note with black humor: “Munkácsy is world-famous to Hungarians.” Now that I’ve seen many parts of Central and Eastern Europe developing bold, self-confident contemporary scenes, I’m hoping we’re going to see the international break-through perhaps on the primary market.

RR: Which CEE artist from the auction or not is your favorite and why?

JT: Among those in the auction, I would say Attila Szűcs. I’ve been a fan of his for a long time. He is a true craft painter.


CEE galleries at ARCOmadrid celebrating its 35 anniversary

Author: ArtGuideEast
Published on: 25.02.2016

IFEMA celebrates the 35th Anniversary of ARCOmadrid from 24 to 28 of February, which have been invited to participate in the Imagining Other Futures section on the occasion of its 35th edition for their quality, their essential role in the international contemporary art market and for their contribution to ARCOmadrid. In addition, it will also focus on the rising talents of contemporary art, with 98 proposals dedicated to one or two artists, consolidating the Fair as a benchmark for the discovery and research of new artists 

Preview at ARCOmadrid 2016
Preview at ARCOmadrid 2016


In total, 221 galleries from 27 countries will participate: 167 form part of the General Programme; 18 of Solo Projects, and 18 of Opening. They will be joined by a new addition in the shape of some thirty great names from the international gallery scene that will make up the commemorative programme, Imagining Other Futures . An edition that is also unique for its strategy of renewing and driving the Fair as the main platform of the art market. To do so, among its many other actions, apart from its traditional programme there will also be a selection of young collectors who have been invited along with the 250 from 33 countries that comprise the Collectors programme  .The Fair also pays tribute to Madrid through its Año 35. Madrid project, that proposes contemporary art interventions in different spaces and institutions throughout the city


CEE galleries exhibiting at ARCOmadrid 2016:



exhibiting artists at ARComadrid 2016:


Gandy Gallery at ARCOMADRID 2016



exhibiting artists at ARComadrid 2016:


Attila Csörgő. occurrence graph ii (infinity), 1998 lamp, aluminum, black paint, electric motor, spinning components 67 x 35 x 23 cm ed. 2/2 + P. A. Courtesy Galerija Gregor Podnar, Berlín
Attila Csörgő. occurrence graph ii (infinity), 1998 lamp, aluminum, black paint, electric motor, spinning components 67 x 35 x 23 cm ed. 2/2 + P. A. Courtesy Galerija Gregor Podnar, Berlín



Exhibiting artists at ARComadrid 2016:




exhibiting artists at ARComadrid 2016:


Dalibor Matinis Cosimic Counterfeits, 1975 -1978 Collage, 112cm x 84cm
Dalibor Matinis Cosimic Counterfeits, 1975 -1978 Collage, 112cm x 84cm



exhibiting artist at ARCOmadrid 2016:


NICOLÁS LAMAS : to contain is not to possess. Exhibition View, Lokaal 01, Antwerp, 2015 Courtesy of the artist and SABOT photography by Alexandra Colmenares
NICOLÁS LAMAS : to contain is not to possess. Exhibition View, Lokaal 01, Antwerp, 2015 Courtesy of the artist and SABOT photography by Alexandra Colmenares



exhibiting artists at ARCOmadrid 2016:




exhibiting artists at ARCOmadrid 2016:




The House of Vita Opolskytė

Author: Tina Kaplár
Published on: 23.02.2016

Vita Opolskyte was the Second Prize Winner at the Young Painter Prize Award in Vilnius. Vita studies for her MA at the Vilnius Academy of Arts and the paintitngs she submitted for the competition are from the series „The House of Vita Opolskytė“ as a consequence of unsettled state of mind and inability to adapt to the reality, she was building her home in this collection. Based on Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures  in Wonderland  reveals a parallel universe in as she stated in her competition entry. We invited her for a small talk after the Award Ceremony.

Vita Opolskytė
Vita Opolskytė 

TK: When was the first time you thought about becoming an artist?

VO: There was one specific event when the possibility of being an artist occurred to me. When I was little, I found my father’s old paintings and art supplies in the garage. I was surprised, because I never knew that he used to paint. Affected by this event I became interested in art, especially painting. So, I think, that was the beginning.

TK: Do you have a painting routine?

VO: I am trying to create one. I like to work early in the mornings. So, I get up, go to the studio, draw some sketches and start to paint. When sun goes down – I know it‘s time to finish (I don‘t like artificial lighting). But, however, life has its own way and sometimes it is unpredictable 🙂

TK: Where and when do you work best?

VO: Early morning in my studio is the best union, I think. But sometimes I need some kind of  ‚fresh air‘ – to have some influence, or inspiration. Then I start looking for other places, where I can paint.

TK: What music helps you to work?

VO: Silence.

TK: How do you relax?

VO: Perhaps, when the painting is finished… But it last until I start to paint another work.

TK: What is your current favourite material/colour etc?

VO: Currently, I am obsessed with Damar Varnish, and Indigo Pigment.

TK: Who are your artistic influences?

VO: Places. Memories. People.

TK: What does it mean to be an artist?

VO: It means to believe in some kind of magic 🙂

TK: How would you earn your living if you had to give up being an artist?

VO: I don‘t even want to think about it.

TK: What art works would you show your own children to introduce them to art?

VO: Of course – mine‘s 🙂

TK: Who is your perfect receptor/audience?

VO: Everyone, I guess. I am trying to make multilayering paintings, in which every person could find something familiar, something suggests to create own narrative and to be participant in it. Therefore, I think perfect audience would be open-minded receptor.

TK: What is the last remarkable thing you saw?

VO: A sign that spring is coming. 

Kamen Stoyanov: Will I be happy?

January 20 – March 11, 2016 / Inda Gallery


Published on: 20.01.2016


In his third solo exhibition at Inda Kamen Stoyanov shows works he created in 2015 in a variety of media. He continues to explore the topics of migration, movement and interaction with the environment. The new works present his reflections on and emotional responses to processes that are currently changing the European societies.

‘Will I be happy?’ is one of many question he was asked as a part of his performative open drawing series titled Artist talk, which he presents and continues in the exhibition. In this project he answers any question that may come up by fast drawing. ‘Will I be happy?’ originally came up as a personal question. Stoyanov now broadens its scope to relate it to the issues of collective desires of migration, fear and isolation.

Kamen Stoyanov’s exhibition starts with a simple question and shows attempts and concerns to understand this question’s complexity.


Kamen Stoyanov the Bulgarian artist living in Vienna often deals with the questions of identity, migration, historical definition, social and cultural communication in his works by gathering first-hand experiences of the social, artistic and cultural relations of the given country as a scholarship-holder.

He uses the urban public places and the architectural environment as exhibition spaces, themes of photography and contrasts them with the current or inherited cultural relations, habits. The real participants of cultural life and he himself pose in his provocative and ironic works.

INDA Galéria
H-1061 Budapest, Király utca 34. II/4
telefon: +36 1 4131960
mobil:: +36 70 3164472;

Tuesdays to Fridays 2 p.m.–6 p.m., or by appointment


Interview with Anna Zvyagintseva, Nikita Kadan and Mykola Ridnyi

Ukraine at the 56th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale


Author: Kinga Lendeczki
Published on: 18.07.2015

Ukraine is represented at the 56th Venice Biennale by the group exhibition Hope! showing works of young generation of Ukrainian artists: Yevgenia Belorusets, Nikita Kadan, Zhanna Kadyrova, Mykola Ridnyi & Serhiy Zhadan, Artem Volokitin, Anna Zvyagintseva and Open Group. The exhibition gives voice to personal hopes as well as critical opinion and reflections of artists on the present situation and future perspectives of Ukraine.

Kinga Lendeczki Before we start to talk about your participation at the Venice Biennale and the exhibition and its preparation, I would like to ask you to talk about those stages of your career, which you would regard as most important ones.

Anna Zvyagintseva I would mention one exhibition, which is strongly connected to my work The Cage, which is on view now in Venice. It was the exhibition Court Experimentorganized by curatorial union Hudrada. The project was realized in 2010 and I participated in it as a curator as well as an artist. Two members of Hudrada (Yevgenia Belorusets and Oleksandr Wolodarsky) and an ex-member of the group – Andriy Mochan, were prosecuted because of their protest actions. This show was our response to that prosecution. We tried to draw attention of the society on the problems of the corrupted judicial system in Ukraine.I would also mention my two solo shows. My first solo show entitled “Trusting movement” was summarizing what I am interested in as an artist. The second one “The radio behind the wall” was organized in January this year and it was an attempt to reflect on Maidan and on the war, which is going on in Ukraine.

N.K. For me those stages were the funding of R.E.P. collective in 2004, which still exists and I am a member of it and forming of Hudrada in 2008. Hudrada is publicly active since 2009 and we realized several projects together since that time. These exhibitions, such as the Court Experiment or the Labour Show, are part of our curatorial activity in which we started to create certain environments for ourselves. For a few years I was active member of artistic groups, but since 2009 I started to focus on realization of certain works, which I consider important for my practice, like Procedure roomSmall house of giants or Babooshka. Ensuring mausoleum. From my previous exhibitions I would regard important the travelling exhibition The Desire for Freedom. Art in Europe Since 1945 organized by Deutsches Historisches Museum Berlin, RENDEZ-VOUS 13 in Musée d’art contemporain Lyon, The Ukrainians* in Daadgalerie in 2014 and from this year the Lest The Two Seas Meet in Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw and the exhibition Europe. The Future of History, which recently opened in Kunsthaus Zürich. In autumn I will exhibit at 14th Istanbul Biennial curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev.

Anna Zvyagintseva: The Cage, 2010. in Hope!, Pavilion of Ukraine, 56th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale 2015
Anna Zvyagintseva: The Cage, 2010. in Hope!, Pavilion of Ukraine, 56th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale 2015


K.L. At the 55th Venice Biennale you were one of the artists who participated in the exhibition Monument to a Monument, which was presented in the Ukrainian Pavilion. How does it feel like to represent your country for the second time in Venice?

Mykola Ridnyi Unfortunately the idea of the world without nations and borders seems to be more and more utopian in a context of recent changes in the world. In today’s Ukraine the idea of national state belongs to self-identification as a historical victim of Russian imperialism. But I do not appreciate romantic attitude to the idea of liberating nationalism because ongoing war as any war is not romantic. It doesn’t liberate civilians who live on lines of fire and who are similarly afraid of Russian artillery as of Ukrainian one. That is why the national representation of art is very problematic for me and being particularly in Ukrainian pavilion for second time is a big challenge which I accept to reflect on and criticize situation in and around my country with my works. The characters of the works which I presented in 2013 and which I present now are very different. In the case of “Monument to a Monument” I was talking about social and political tendencies which were not really discussed by the Ukrainian society, but which were very visible and problematic for me. One of the works the “Monument / Platforms” from 2011 was touching the issue of a demolition of a Soviet heritage in public space while the other one “Shelter” from 2013 was related to the topic of military education and conditions of bombproof shelters. Today it is visible that these issues have been grown from rare stories into problematic waves and they became anxiety points of public discussions. In a way before works were faster than reality, but today life is definitely faster than any kind of art. Mass media is extremely fast, especially with reports from the “hot spots”, and it is actually a big problem. The comprehension of the last events is missing. My aim connecting to the works which I present this year is not just to fix or focus on some problems, but also to try to open new layers of understanding and new levels of discussion.

K.L. In February was announced that the Pinchuk Art Centre would organize the exhibition at the Ukrainian national pavilion. What was the reaction of the local contemporary art scene?

M.R. I would rather like to answer from my individual point of view, because contemporary art scene in Ukraine is very segregated and doesn’t have one common voice or point of view. The organization of the show in the national pavilion is a state’s responsibility. In case of Ukraine responsibility is a shaky concept. Being more precise the pavilion depends on Ministry of Culture and on the policy of this institution. After the revolution of Maidan new people became part of the team of the Ministry, who had experiences in working in the field of contemporary art.


Interview with Andrei Jecza

Jecza Gallery, Timisoara @ Art Safari Bucharest 2015


Author: Kinga Lendeczki
Published on: 27.05.2015

Timisoara based Jecza Gallery was established in 2011. The gallery participated for the first time at Art Safari in Bucharest. For this occasion we asked the founder and curator Andrei Jecza about his impression of the art fair, about how the booth of the gallery was received and about their further plans for this year.


Kinga Lendeczki: Is it your first participation at Art Safari?

Andrei Jecza: For my gallery and for myself yes. We (with my mother) have been divided into two and we also have a foundation (Triade Interart). It is a for-profit foundation in order to generate income for financing its programs, but it is not a profit sharing organization. My mother made a show last year with the foundation. I was a little bit prudent at that time, because there were no bigger galleries involved in the fair. This year it was a sort of impulse for me that a few other bigger galleries are participating at Art Safari as well.

K. L. Why was it important for you to take part in the art fair?

A. J. If all of your colleagues, the major players from Romania, are involved in an art fair, it is rather obvious that you would like to be there. I have to say that I like Bucharest and it is interesting for us to be here. Either way my mother would have been here for the second time, because she liked the art fair last year.

K. L. What were your expectations?

A. J. To be honest I didn’t come with any expectation. I knew before that the organizers of the art fair will invest in advertisement and marketing and they have some good media partners, therefore we were confident in that it will work well in this way. The other reason why I didn’t have expectations is that I know how Bucharest works in the sense that those people, who are coming for the preview, come only for the feeling of a lifestyle and collectors usually come just later. It is an interesting market, which I think is growing and would deserve more attention.

K. L. How was your booth received? What kind of feedback did you get?

A. J. We had a lot of feedback, also because we had two galleries on two different floors. It was a good decision, because there was an issue with the 4th floor. Many people didn’t come up, because it is another step upwards. But sill, we had a gallery on the 3rd floor and a gallery on the 4th floor and both were doing very well. I can say that both were received well in terms of awareness. People have known, of course, my mother’s program. She didn’t make any big innovation, she exhibited what she brought last year with a few changes regarding to the artworks she chose. In terms of feedback and even of collectors it was a good fair for us.

K. L. How do you choose the art fairs to participate at?

A. J. You always try to target the best; it is obvious. For instance we have done the Art Market Budapest last year, partly because one of our colleagues advised that it is pretty good and we should try and do it. On the other hand my father was part of the Hungarian Arts Academy and he had a Hungarian background. Therefore we thought that it might be interesting for us to be there and it was. We did pretty well there, it was interesting and we also had a few sales. In general choosing the fairs is strongly related to the program of the gallery. Of course we applied for big fairs this year as well. I am not sure, if we get in or not, but we hope so.

K. L. What do you consider when you choose the artists to present at an art fair?

A. J. There is no recipe for this. I made a free choice for Bucharest and I chose something that I thought it wouldn’t work here. And actually it was working. I am contradicting my own opinion, because I thought that abstract art doesn’t really work in Bucharest, where the interest is focused more on figurative art. Honestly I think that there is no recipe for this, you have to feel the market. You have to see what works there and what won’t work. If you do a very expensive fair where you select the wrong artists, it might break your neck. It is very important to take into consideration the previous editions, how and what sort of art the other galleries exhibited before.

K. L. Can you present shortly the artists and their works you chose for Art Safari?

A. J. For the booth of Jecza Gallery I chose Liviu Stoicoviciu and Andrea Tivadar. Liviu Stoicoviciu is a historic artist, who was very private and aloof and he became interesting lately. He is in his seventies now and all of his works, which are on display, were made in the 70’s. We presented him in Vienna as well and we could sell some of his works to bigger collectors and galleries. He is going to have a museum show recently. We thought that we should try Bucharest with him, mainly since he comes from this city and he lives here. Our second choice was a very young artist, Andrea Tivadar. While Stoicoviciu was born in 1942, Andrea was born in 1991. They are almost 50 years apart from each other, which also makes it interesting in a way. Andrea is a young, abstract painter from Cluj, which usually associated with figurative paintings. There is now a generation of young artists who are working with abstraction there. She was part of a show at Lateral Artspace, which is also participating at the Cluj section. Lateral Artspace presents those artists who were part of that show and who are also very young artists from the same generation. 

Omnivore – or how to start a gallery in style

Author: Barbara Dudás

Published on: 23.04.2015

There is a brand new gallery on the horizon of the contemporary Hungarian art scene, envisioned by two young curators Róza Tekla Szilágyi and Lili Berta Téglásy. The gallery’s first exhibition entitled Much Ado About Nothing is opening tonight. On this occasion we asked Róza Tekla Szilágyi to give us a scoop and tell ArtGuideEast how their story begun.

Omnivore Gallery – the name itself suggests a lot. Feeding those who are hungry for art, being open to various things, forms, medium, etc. But what does it stand for in your understanding? How did you end up choosing this name?

An omnivore will eat pretty much anything in sight. Humans are genetically designed to be omnivores, but some people choose to limit their diets. Our aim is to have a little experiment with this industrial and well-located venture’s atmosphere and see how it will temper our appetite in terms of exhibited mediums. For the years ahead of us Omnivore Gallery will be our lab and we honestly hope that this is just the beginning. To stick with the eating-themed metaphor, we hope that Omnivore’s menu will always show a healthy and balanced diversity. We have a lot of unrealized love-projects in mind to come.

How and when did your story begin? What was the trigger – on personal as well as on professional level – for starting this venture? Tell us more about the “before gallery” stage.

We were planning to start our own project-based non-profit contemporary art space for like two years by now. Lili and I are friends and both of us have an art history background. I got my degree from ELTE majored in art history and Lili will finish her studies this June. With Lili we realized that every time we talk we share our ideas about contemporary art even when everyone else around us got tired of our argumentation. We both did internships at international contemporary art galleries, like PiArtworks in Istanbul and Knoll Galerie in Vienna and this is the time when we really started to wonder: shouldn’t we give it a shot, find a place and start our own gallery where we can realize our own project ideas together? Now I am in the middle of my master studies at MKE’s Contemporary Art Theory and Curatorial Department so having everyday conversations about the impact of curating and the contemporary culture pushed me even harder to come up with my own project ideas. I’m not an easy-going person and Lili has that special tolerance and those bright ideas that I can not appreciate enough. We have a lot to learn but a lot to share too.

The Omnivore girls: Lili Berta Téglásy and Róza Tekla Szilágyi
The Omnivore girls: Lili Berta Téglásy and Róza Tekla Szilágyi


In your introductory text you mention the importance of working in close co-operation with the artists – beyond the context of the actual exhibitions. How do you envision, what is the position the gallery will hold in the Hungarian contemporary scene? What are your main goals? 

The reason why we picked working-together-with-young-artists as our main line is because we really love the opportunity what contemporary art gives us regarding collaboration. We would like to create and share a “creative space,” where the artist and us, the curators can work together as equal partners and authors in a constant dialogue. We want to embrace this idea to see how far we can go with project-based collaborations. Our main goal is to set up a venture where we can start our hopefully relevant dialogues not just with the artists we are working with but with the wider culture scene by connecting to the ongoing and preexistent dialogues.

What is the importance of the location?

The gallery is in Kertész Street next to Klub Vittula which is Budapest’s major black hole when we speak about Friday and Saturday nights. We use a space which is connected to the bar in a way but still separated and functions as a standalone gallery space with its own entrance facing the street directly. Years ago Timothy Green, Vittula’s owner opened up a gallery, called Chinese Characters here before which was a part of Budapest’s independent art scene and was also mentioned in Katarina Sevic’s publication titled We Are Not Ducks On a Pond But Ships at Sea. Lili and I spent way too much Friday nights at Vittula but this way we were lucky enough to meet Tim who offered us the space and gave his permission to start a new gallery there. Vittula has its positive impact on the venture’s atmosphere by making it less like a whitecube more like a collaborative gallery space and open-art-office with its own potentials. So again, thank you very-very-very much Tim!

Your first exhibition Much Ado About Nothing opens on the 23rd April, just before the official opening weekend of the OFF-Biennale Budapest. Was it a deliberate choice to launch the new gallery during the biennale or is it just a lucky coincidence? 

We decided to launch the gallery before the official opening weekend on purpose. We do think that OFF-BB is a prominently important initiation, which directs attention to the contemporary art scene in Hungary. On the whole we think that this can be our way to support and take a part in what’s happening in the contemporary art scene during this exciting period.

The exhibition examines the paradoxical nature of nothing and nothingness through the works of four artists (Dániel Bernáth / Zsófia Keresztes / Rita Koszorús / Ágnes Hardi) representing four different medium. Could you elaborate on the concept a little further? 

The notion of nothing got stuck in our minds a while ago. This exhibition is our first attempt to show our own understanding of the world around us by starting a discussion. As curators we were given a chance to pick. To pick something, one certain artwork from a bunch, and by this decision, to show that particular artwork as something, as part of a train of thought. 

Interview with Petra Feriancová

Vulnerable Yet Everlasting (Archive of Květa Fulierová) @ OFF-Biennale, Budapest


Author: Tina Kaplár
Published on: 21.04.2015

 The archive of Květa Fulierová occupies the space of two built-in closets. Květa’s archive was a source of many post-production pieces of her partner Július Koller. Květa constantly documented the time they had spent together. She would document even the most mundane everyday situations at home, on holiday, while traveling or at work etc. Petra Feriancová talks about her upcoming exhibition at the OFF-Biennale Budapest.

Petra Feriancová
Petra Feriancová

Tina Kaplár: Documentary has been in your focus of interest for long, first you made your collections, the so-called Cycles of different natural and social phenomena, how do you find your foci?

Petra Feriancová: The use of documenting is connected to my need of making a report of my being, but also a report of “being” as a universal term. For me my life is the source and the way also. Maybe it is just my alibistic approach, so at least I don’t feel guilty when I don’t work properly and I can just mess around-) It is a lot about looking. I love to look. I think we are born to look. Observation is basic. And doing a show allows me to see. My themes have developed with time. They were collected and grew, somehow, so that it was possible to recognize the groups of certain types, so I decided to name them based on what they picture. It was quite important for me to avoid any kind of classification of what they could mean. There are very different topics. But the decision comes later.

Petra Feriancová: Order of Things II 2013, Installation view Venice Biennale, photo by Keizo KiokuTK: I remember your site-specific installation at the 55th Venice Biennale Order of Things II, where you used Venice as a starting point and theme, but it simply disappeared in a return to intimate history: the photographs and their collections were taken for purely personal reasons about you and your family and had in fact nothing in common with the Venice picture we usually have in mind. How was it received?

PF: There is always a gap between the experience and imagination. And big gap between the Biennale audience and a quite hermetic discourse I did there. I needed to ignore the whole situation of the Biennale mess, but also that strong visual reality that Venice offers. I wanted to talk more about the ideal, interior space I have taken there in my mind. I knew that it was not very strategic for a Biennale format, where works are competing for their biggest visual impact. But since the beginning that was not my goal. There were very few, but for me important people who liked it. Enwezor wrote about it in Artforum. And Cotter in New York Times. For me it was important to question our relation to objects, objects that just per chance were not thrown away, but instead are everlasting and outlive us. I have practically moved my entire belongings there. I liked the idea of totally impractical transport via boats, just like romantics. And many other themes connected to it such as a permanent journey, gran tourism, souvenirs, empiricism vs. provided knowledge ect.

Petra Feriancová Playgrounds, 2010 From the series taken by my Dad Silver print
Petra Feriancová Playgrounds, 2010 From the series taken by my Dad Silver print

TK:  You have been working with archives recently, in an interview made in 2011 I read your words: “Recently I decided to forego working with my own material. My work involving the external world had become saturated to such an extent that I decided to focus on material already accumulated. It is based on this, that idea of working with the archives accumulated by my relatives, was born. “

PF: Yes. It is connected to my living again. I have spent six years in Italy most of the time doing nothing, traveling and messing around the city. Then I returned home. And there began the time that I would stare at the ceiling for entire days without feeling any need to go out. I was digesting those few years, changing them into years I have spent in a kind of seclusion. I went through all the material I have collected at the time and have taken with me. And then I started to go through all images I found in our house. You know those kinds of things that survived per chance and thus became relicts. I am aware of the limit of human ability to collect. The limited amount is meaningful. I do not go and search for new material. It is basically the material I live with, it has been here for a long time, and I can find a lot of new in it every time I go through it. I combine and reassume it every time I can. I practically use the same stuff and I just change its order. Just like in a sentence. I use the archive as a tongue. Sometimes I do create also, for example I take the pictures of nothing. I do it just to measure my time. The image is not important, what matters is time, the image refers to a moment that does not represent anything. The appearance is only the reference and a new existence. But this new existence is casual and I do not want to control it. I can start to appreciate it as it would not be mine. But as usual, it takes time with my work. Maybe I have to forget them totally. My new photos are taken with old Practica or Zenit and it’s more about the act of having enough time to take the camera out of the bag and use it. These images are blind. I study them later.

TK: What have your first archiving projects been ?

PF: I was not aware that I am working on an archive, until Daniel Grun pointed it out. For me it is all about watching that, which interest me most. Working on an archive for me is to question all possibilities of viewing and perceiving. 

Interview with Damir Ocko

Croatia at the 56th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale


Author: Nikolett Kadlót
Published on: 14.04.2015

Studies on Shivering: The Third Degree is the title of the project which was selected by the Ministry of Culture for representing Croatia at the Venice Biennale this year. Damir Ocko artist and curator Marc Bembekoff share their thoughts about the investigation of human body and its political context.

Nikolett Kadlót: What was the first concept idea  when you started collaboration with curator Marc Bembekoff?

Damir Ocko: Marc and I have been working together ever since my show in Palais de Tokyo. We have a very productive relationship and he has been more or less involved with the project since the very beginning. For the initial exhibition of this project in Graz I asked him to contribute with an imagined script for “his” own film that we included in the publication. I’d say that there is more substantial contribution by Marc to this project specially developed for Venice Biennale. For Venice, beside working together along the regular modes of thinking and production, I asked him if we could do a “reversed interview” in which I will be asking him questions, reversing the usual curator/artist role. It was an extraordinary experiment for me. It opened a fresh perspective, it challenged me as an artist and Marc as a curator.

NK: As this work is part of a bigger project that you have been developing over the past few years, can you summerize the background of it?

DO: Main idea behind the project draws itself from a relationship between body and its political context. The body as a representation of the social landscape. In two main films that form a core of the project, TK and The Third Degree, I observe and build upon the physical disruptions. In TK there is an old man with Parkinson condition that I asked to write the lines beginning with the word “tranquility”.  He writes the tranquillity with an unrest. Then there are scenes in which I asked young men to shiver naked on a harsh winter day until their body could take it no more. It is about showing the mechanisms of control. Human body shivers when there is no more control over it. In The Third Degree, the film that grew from certain issues regarding filming of the TK, I express the role of the camera differently, showing its body perform itself, but a way it does so, is by integrating itself together with the subject of the film, which are bodies of women heavily scared by fire. So while I carry on with the subject, in the same time I make ourselves, the crew, the camera, symbiotic part of it. Essentially is the idea of togetherness emerging from questions related to violence in social context.

Damir Očko TK, 2014: Film still, 4K transferred to HD video, 19’48’’ Courtesy the artist and Tiziana Di Caro, Naples

NK: You frequently work with language because of its playfulness and ambiguity. Why has it become an important art material for you?

DO: It is not really about the language, but the shaping of ones voice. I am interested in a voice as a kind of a human mark. I work with different materials that utilize the language, such as poetry, film or even music. But my main interest is not in the material itself, it is in the political implications of language.

NK: You have very complex works including videos, poetry or different ideas with paper itself. How do you choose the way of expressions while work?

DO: I don’t choose. I work with what is necessary. However I do think about the expanded film as a space in which other media come from.

Damir Očko TK, 2014: Film still, 4K transferred to HD video, 19’48’’ Courtesy the artist and Tiziana Di Caro, Naples

NK: I am very curious to know who your artistic influences are?

DO: Hard question. To be honest I always felt I was mostly influenced by composers and poets. Ligeti, Lachenman, Nono, Eliot, Ginsberg and Hughes.

NK: What does this participation mean for you?

DO: I think about it as an important step for the project and for development of my work. This will be a first exhibition in which TK and The Third Degree are shown together, and it is an important statement. Works grow from each other, they grew in my studio, through productions as ideas, now I am looking forward to see how they implement the ideas in the space, with each other, against each other, contemplating on each other.

Damir Očko, The Third Degree, 2015 Film still, 4K transferred to HD video, 11’ Courtesy the artist and Tiziana Di Caro, Naples

NK: Will ‘Studies on Shivering‘ be continued or do you have other plans/concepts for the future?

DO: This is not the way I think. I don’t have a predictable schedule. But knowing how my practice functions, I’d say for sure what ever I do in the future will grow from the works I did. I am an artist that develops rather than one that is at all concerned with the notion of “new”.

NK: Your first solo show in Budapest was at TRAPÉZ gallery in 2013. The exhibition called PSST. Can you share your experiences and thoughts about that show?

DO: I felt the TRAPEZ was trying to do something really refreshing in Budapest. I liked it. The show was small, but for me it was an experiment, to make an exhibition that came from a margins of what I was working on around that period, but not to be centered to it. So, it was a small but refreshing.

Damir Ocko

Damir Ocko is one of the most prominent Croatian artist of his generation. His videos, films,  poetry and works on paper have been exhibited recently in Temple Bar Gallery in Dublin (2014), KM – Künstlerhaus Halle für Kunst & Medien in Graz (2014),  Yvon Lambert gallery in Paris (2013), Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2012), Galleria Tiziana Di Caro in Salerno (2012), and Kunsthalle Dusseldorf (2011). 

Interview with Diana Marincu

Romania at the 56th edition of the International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia.


Author: Gabriela Mateescu
Published on: 31.03.2015

The project Inventing the truth/On fiction and reality was selected in the competition organized by the Ministry of Culture for representing Romania at the 56th edition of the International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. The exhibition will take place at The New Gallery of the Romanian Institute for Culture and Research in Humanities in Venice.
Larisa Sitar, Sketch for diorama (part of the series And then one thing led to another...), 2014, collage, variable dimensions. Courtesy: the artist
Larisa Sitar, Sketch for diorama (part of the series And then one thing led to another…), 2014, collage, variable dimensions. Courtesy: the artist

Gabriela Mateescu: Congratulation on the selection of your project. We can say that this year Romania covers all the media. Can you please elaborate the subject of the exhibition Inventing the truth. On Fiction and Reality?

Diana Marincu : Thank you, I appreciate your interest in the exhibition and I hope we will see you at the opening, on the 8th of May.

The starting point of this exhibition was the interest I have noticed along the years in a new way of approaching the archive, as a flexible and unpredictable concept in contemporary Romanian art, and the use of history through the insertion of fiction in the process of interpretation. Of course, fiction, as an instrument for understanding the past, is not only a way of turning true facts into invented stories, it is not a lie. It is rather a convention standing for the need to see the invisible story, the anonymous and personal narrative, the “repressed other of historical discourse”, in the words of Michel de Certeau. This insertion of fiction in the “official” narrative I think opens up a new way of imagining possibilities and outcomes not only the past, but for the future as well. The second conceptual path that the visitors can take in the exhibition is the use of fiction in the everyday life relationship we build with the objects around us – the concepts used by Alex Mirutziu were very helpful in clarifying this – „bureaucratic objects” and „ontological design”. Our interaction with the silent objects is very relevant to the way we construct our identity and our physical development according to this relation. Alex’s research focuses a lot on an object-oriented philosophy and turns to the invisible effect that bodies in space have on each other – be they humans or objects. In the end, this exhibition should function as a relevant space in which we question both ourselves and the history of others – anonymous people, unknown objects, foreign places etc.

Michele Bressan, Present, 2014, object, 20 x 12 x 2 cm. Photo: Michele Bressan. Courtesy: the artist
Michele Bressan, Present, 2014, object, 20 x 12 x 2 cm. Photo: Michele Bressan. Courtesy: the artist

GM: How did you select the artists? I know you`ve worked with some of them from as far as the exhibition Pasaj at The National Museum of Contemporary Art – Anexa, third floor

DM: I have previously worked with all of them in different ways. It is true that with Michele Bressan, Lea Rasovszky and Larisa Sitar I had a recent collaboration in the form of the exhibition we did in May 2014, Pasaj (exhibition produced by Ephemair Association and opened on The White Night of the Galleries); but with the others I also had a professional relation derived from the fact that I wrote about their works and exhibitions. Whenever I write about an artist I try to meet him/her, get to know them more, understand their way of thinking and acting. I believe in this role of an involved art critic, not in a distanced one who analyzes what is out there in the exhibition without connecting what is seen with what is behind it, as part of the process of artistic creation or research.

The selection for this exhibition, Inventing the Truth. On Fiction and Reality, came naturally, having in mind the works I already knew from these six artists, works not yet made but about which I had already a clear idea (or about which I had conversations with the artists). I gave carte blanche to two of the artists, Lea Rasovszky and Alex Mirutziu. I always enjoy working in different ways according to the practice of each artist. I invited all of them to make proposals, to talk about their projects and I also left a bit of room for surprise.

Lea Rasovszky, Fluent in Isolation, 2015, sound and visual installation. Courtesy: the artist
Lea Rasovszky, Fluent in Isolation, 2015, sound and visual installation. Courtesy: the artist


GM: Can you tell me more about each of the individual works of the artists and how they connect to each other?

DM: The two main approaches of the theme in this exhibition can be summarized as follows: one of the conceptual lines of thought relates to a nonchalant and informal understanding of history, a hidden story than can be reformulated according to the intrusion of fiction in the process of interpretation. Fiction can be seen as a disturbing noise or as a prop that one can use to fill in the blanks. On the other hand, fiction is also an everyday instrument used to explore options for the reality in which we live in or the limited possibilities we are confronted with. But in this case fiction is not day dreaming, but rather a technique of grasping what is not so obviously delivered to us by reality. It is a way of relating to our everyday life in a poetic way, it makes you see the invisible…

Carmen Dobre, Consuming History, 2015, digital photograph, series of 12, 30.2 x 55.9 cm each, ultrachrome print on lightbox, edition of 5 + 2 ap. Courtesy: the artist
Carmen Dobre, Consuming History, 2015, digital photograph, series of 12, 30.2 x 55.9 cm each, ultrachrome print on lightbox, edition of 5 + 2 ap. Courtesy: the artist

The three artists I have developed the first research path, regarding historical narratives, are Carmen Dobre-Hametner, Ștefan Sava, and Larisa Sitar. Carmen’s photographic project is a very consistent research focused on many issues relating to reenactment as a strategy for understanding history and for bringing past facts in the proximity of the now, the present life. She discovered a very interesting site called The Soviet Bunker, in Vilnius, Lithuania, where tourists come to experience the trauma of communism.