Rozsda’s One Hundred Surrealisms

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(Rozsda100: A Párka fonala / Le Fil de la Parque / The Parca’s Thread. Várfok Galéria, Budapest, 2013.)

100 years have passed since Endre Rozsda’s birth, and his work seems to emerge now in Hungary as one of the major Hungarian oeuvres connected to surrealism. Almost fifteen years were needed though to achieve this goal: after a 1998 retrospective of his painted work in Műcsarnok, Budapest (followed also by a representative exhibition of his graphic works in 2001 – Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest), the most important efforts in promoting Rozsda’s work were carried out by the private gallery Várfok Galéria and its owner, Károly Szalóky. Several exhibitions dedicated to Rozsda’s works have been organized in Budapest during these fifteen years, and some of the major catalogues and articles on his works have been written by the art historians connected to the Gallery. A decisive role in this process was played also by Júlia Cserba, who was very active during the past decades in promoting the works of Paris-based Hungarians, and who was one of the curators of the Műcsarnok retrospective. Art historians like Sándor Hornyik or Gábor Pataki, the most important authors dedicated to the interpretation of Hungarian surrealist painting and to the group of the European School in general, also contributed with their expertise to a better understanding of Rozsda’s work.

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Laknak-e a homokórában madarak? Déry Tibor szürrealista korszakáról

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Déry Tibor tízes évek végétől kezdődően írt művei (prózák, drámák, verskompozíciók) gyakran jelentős késéssel jelentek meg, kéziratban maradtak, némelyikük teljesen el is veszett. Ez lehet az egyik oka annak, hogy Déry (egy lehetséges opció szerint 1921 és 1930 közé tehető) avantgárd korszakának irányzati besorolásai meglehetősen hozzávetőlegesek. Másik ok, hogy a magyar avantgárd művészek (és főleg az írók) jellemzően nem egy-egy irányzat mellett kötelezték el magukat – kerülték, hogy dadaistának, konstruktivistának vagy szürrealistának minősítsék önmagukat –, hanem némileg eklektikus, szintetizált formában fogadták be és gondolták tovább az egyes irányzatokat, többnyire az „új vers”, „új művészet” szókapcsolatokat vonatkoztatva saját műveikre. Continue reading

Interpretations and Self-interpretations of Brauner

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(Mihaela Petrov, Victor Brauner pictopoet, Fundația Gellu Naum, București, 2013)

I concluded my review of Mihaela Petrov’s previous book on Victor Brauner with the phrase: “The interpretative effort seems to be still ahead of us.” Petrov’s essential contribution to the scolarship on Brauner was to insist and develop on the idea of the connection between Brauner’s self-interpretative texts and his painted work. The title of the new book (Victor Brauner pictopoet) suggests the same logic of interpretation (establishing links between text and image), and indeed, one will find in the volume several references to Brauner’s letters, notebooks and interviews that tried to explain to himself and to others how elements of his art were interconnected from his specific point of view.

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The Network of Artists around Victor Brauner

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(Emil Nicolae, Victor Brauner și însoțitorii [Victor Brauner and His Fellow-travelers], Ed. Hasefer, Bucharest, 2013.)

The volume consists of twenty shorter texts that explore Victor Brauner’s universe in terms of biography, spiritual kinship and artistic analogy. The author succeeds in retracing elements of biography that go beyond the simple factual level, and finding the instants where “facts” often result in works of art, anecdotes worth remembering, and germs of stories that have never been written. The strategy of the book is to present Brauner in his relation to others: how they saw him, how Brauner saw them, how they interacted, how they “met”, often in spiritual ways only, through their shared interests and aspirations.

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Body, Love, Object: Frontiers for Romanian Surrealism

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Abstract: The group activity of the Romanian surrealists meant a re-invention of certain surrealist practices that the artists around André Breton promoted by the end of the 1930s. When the II World War destroyed the network of communication between surrealist artists from different countries, the Romanian group continued the surrealist experiments on its own. Their results were very well received by the Paris surrealist group when the links were reestablished around the 1947 international surrealist exhibition at Galerie Maeght. The paper analyses the surrealist discourse of the Bucharest group as a minor language usage, where some key concepts like body, love, object are reinterpreted in a way that they cannot be inserted into the value system of the emerging Romanian society in the late 1940s. Works by Gherasim Luca and his fellow group members explore territories that the dominant language does not integrate into the discourse of ’normality’.

Keywords: body, cultural mediation, love, minor, object, surrealism

Source: Transylvanian Review vol. XXII, Supplement No. 1, 2013: Mapping literature, eds. Balázs Imre, Ioana Bot, Adrian Tudurachi, Sanda Berce, Petronia Petrar, Erika Mihálycsa, Elena Păcurar

Transylvanian Review supplement 1-2013

Keywords in the Works of Victor Brauner

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(Mihaela Petrov, Victor Brauner: Cuvântul scris și opera plastică 1934–1965, Humanitas, București, 2012)

Although the art school in his native town (Piatra Neamț, Romania) is named after Victor Brauner, the best works of the surrealist painter were not printed until 2012 in Romania in a representative album of good quality. Mihaela Petrov’s book is therefore an important milestone of Brauner’s reception in Romania, after some major monographical essays published in Romanian language by Emil Nicolae (2004, with several texts and early paintings of the author), Sarane Alexandrian (2005, a translation of the book originally printed in Paris, at Ed. Oxus in 2004) and Cristian-Robert Velescu (2007). The author of the recent book, Mihaela Petrov obtained a PhD degree in Bucharest in 2011, after researching intensively the Brauner archives in Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, creating a full inventory of the notebooks and manuscripts of Brauner, trying to establish interpretative connections between them and Brauner’s paintings.

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Foreign matter – surrealist artists in MODEM, Debrecen

Looking for a common element in 20th century Hungarian progressive art seems to be one of the most important goals of the current exhibition of MODEM Debrecen. This time the common element is labelled as “Surrealism” Continue reading