The group exhibition organized at the MAGMA Contemporary Art Space in Sfântu Gheorghe offers the visitors an insight into the latest artistic trends of contemporary Hungarian art. The freshness of the exhibited works does not necessarily reflect the age of the creators and does not merely arise from the artists’ utilization of the medium and material, but, above all, from their sensitivity to the subject. Contemporary art, which is becoming more and more open to artistic expressivity, has in the past few years also become more and more concerned with the changing experience of nature in our days, and with the fact that, in this respect, there are ever more obvious signs that humanity has lost control of the planet’s ecosystem. As a consequence of this, in the theoretical discourse on contemporary art, post-human tendencies are increasingly emerging, which are not only the symptoms of the crisis of humanism, but also try to introduce perspectives other than that of the human race in order to understand the future of the planet.
In line with the thread above, the exhibition presents contemporary artworks that reflect on the radically changing perception of nature. In the context of the exhibition, the artworks examine, among others, how nature appears in contemporary art as a sort of myth increasingly alienated, distanced from society. At the same time, the myth gets distanced not only from the place, but also from time. Accordingly, the exhibited artworks have a pronounced atemporal character, with little reference to concrete time.
The exhibition is also exploring the question what new hybrids emerge in contemporary art from the combination of organic forms and non-organic materials. New forms of hybridization and adaptation are becoming more and more characteristic in nature and in our transforming society. The exhibition also examines the mutations of contemporary art genres. However, mutation and hybridization are not only interesting in material form in the context of this exhibition, but the visitors can also meet many poetic aspects of theirs.
The exhibited works of Adrian Kiss (1990), born in Miercurea Ciuc, provide an industrial and futuristic transcript of archaic objects and forms. One of the peculiarities of Kiss’s works, a graduate of the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, is that at first glance it is difficult to decide whether they were created by an archaic civilization, or that they have landed in the exhibition space from the future. The inspirational source of his works exhibited in the MAGMA is the folk object culture of his childhood. In his works, Kiss operates with universal forms that are taken out of their original frame of reference by material selection and streamlined, nonfigurative patterns. Kiss’s installations are predominantly highly sensual objects with a strong sculptural character. As for the artist’s choice of materials, he prefers to mix organic and inorganic materials. In 2019 Kiss was selected by the English Phaidon publisher as one of the world’s top 100 textile artists in its book entitled Vitamin T. During his career so far, Kiss has had individual exhibitions at the Center for Contemporary Art FUTURA in Prague, Trafó Gallery, Art+Text and Horizont Gallery in Budapest. In group exhibitions in Hungary, he has most recently exhibited his artworks in the Deák Erika Gallery, Société Budapest and Ludwig Museum; the international exhibitions at the Kim? in Riga, Bunkier Sztuki in Krakow, BOZAR in Brussels and Künstlerhaus in Graz have provided him an intense international presence. In 2018, he obtained a scholarship to the United States from Art in General, New York.
One of the sources of inspiration of Ádám Ulbert’s (1984) series entitled Thalassa is life in the deep sea, almost unknown to us. Ulbert’s works also refer to Sándor Ferenczi’s 1924 theory of Thalassa (primeval sea), with which the psychoanalyst explains people’s desire to retreat to the original biological state. In the artworks dealing with mythology, prehistoric geology and biology there turns up a strange living creature, the Ceratiidae Hippocampus, whose male and female individuals melt into a single functioning body during their reproduction. Ádám Ulbert was a participant in the program of the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam until 2017, he obtained his master’s degree at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam. From 2018, the Mondrian Fund awarded him with one of the most prestigious art grants of the Dutch state. His last solo exhibition was at the Karlin Studios FUTURA in Prague. He also participated in group exhibitions at the Trafó Gallery in Budapest, the Künstlerhaus in Graz, Société Budapest, the Klemm’s Gallery in Berlin, the Deák Erika Gallery and the Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art.
Zsófia Keresztes (1985) is one of the most remarkable young Hungarian artists of the recent years. The exhibited new sculptures with mosaic surface evoke amorphous bodies, surreal biological forms. One of the basic self-contradictions of the works, which is also the reason for their dynamism, is that their organic shapes are confronted with their hard sculptural crusts. Although Keresztes’s works may also have the effect of absurd monuments, these works will certainly seem vulnerable and sensitive to the majority of visitors. When creating them, the artist was inspired by ritual masks and androgynous bodies. Further keywords that can be associated to these works are mythology, cannibalism, and the digital-synthetic-organic triangle. Zsófia Keresztes’s international presence has been highly pronounced in the recent past, as attested by the fact that she has recently exhibited at the Gianni Manhattan in Vienna, the City Gallery in Prague, the Bunkier Sztuki in Krakow, the BOZAR in Brussels, the Kim? in Riga, the Karlin Studios FUTURA in Prague, the Ludwig Museum in Budapest and the Künstlerhaus in Graz. In 2017 she won the Esterházy Art Award.
The senior artist of the exhibition, Tamás Komoróczky (1963) has played an important role in Hungarian contemporary fine art since the late 1980s, then as one of the founding members of the Újlak group, and later as one of the leading figures of Hungarian media art. Komoróczky’s artistic practice has been completely renewed over the last decade, competing with young artists. The exhibition displays Komoróczky’s latest video works, inspired by Sartre’s existentialist writings, which “lead us into the jungle of the dialectics of nothing”, with Tamás Seregi’s words. Komoróczky’s works are irregular systems, which are held together by visual rhythms and set compositions of membrane-like sensitivity shaped by the artist. Komoróczky has already exhibited at all major Hungarian exhibition venues, in 2002 he participated at the Sao Paulo Biennial, and in 2001 his works represented Hungary at the Venice Biennale. His latest international performances include the exhibitions at the Künstlerhaus in Graz, the Warsaw National Museum, and the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin. In 2017, the visitors of the MAGMA Contemporary Art Space in Sfântu Gheorghe could see his works at the exhibition presenting the c3 video collection.