Monday 12 November 2012

Trains of Thought

We should not consider ourselves, in the true sense of the word, to be collectors. Yes, of course, we can lay claim to a stamp collection dating from childhood, a coin collection inherited inadvertently from a parent, as well as a stack - call them a collection if you will - of 'World of Interiors' which, put simply, have been bought over many years and never discarded. But when it comes to Fabergé eggs, Meissen, Aubusson, Georgian silver and Queen Anne country houses, these have all, thus far, failed to materialise in any number.

looking upwards to the roof at Art Market Budapest on the evening of the VIP Private View

It was, therefore, with no particular thought in mind that we accepted an invitation to the VIP launch of 'Art Market 2012 Budapest' at the end of last week. Directed by a friend, Attila Ledényi, this exhibition seeks to promote in his words 'Emerging Stars of the Future' as represented by galleries from around the world.

representing the Várfok Gallery, Kristina Kovács stands beside the work of Ádám Hollós

And so it was that within this glittering firmament of talent our eyes alighted on one particular spot brightly shining outwards from the stand of our favourite Budapest gallery, 'Várfok'.

Ádám Hollós' 'Hermeneutika' has a directness, a force, even for us a brutality, which demands notice. Here in the drabness of the railway carriage, so representative of Eastern Europe and in particular of Hungary, a faltering democracy, a child draws in the wet and grime of the window. He is somehow unlikeable: a set, impassive face, a look of concentration, of introspection, does not endear him to us. Seated within the train, he draws a train. In time, perhaps, he will add to the graffiti on the carriage wall. Later, maybe, he will become the artist who paints the picture of a child in a carriage and, in so doing, will reinforce, again, the perpetual cycle of life.

'Hermeneutika' by Ádám Hollós - click to enlarge image if required
A close examination of the painting reveals powerful brush strokes whereby the paint runs downwards in streams of colour. In places, such as the boy's satchel, carelessly placed on the seat, there is a tactile quality whilst throughout the whole each layer, for this work is assuredly layered, the abstract comes into play. And then there remain the series of horizontal lines, each one signifying a plane at which what is seen recedes further, even into an unknown.

packed and ready for transport on the Várfok Gallery stand, Kristina telephones for a taxi  

And should this interpretation be incorrect, then we care not at all. For on Thursday evening we had spotted a star, emptied the piggy bank, hailed a taxi and brought home the start of a new collection.

Forget the Fabergé, we say! 

Please note [16th. November, 2012]: We shall, for a week or so, be without internet connection. However, we will much look forward to catching up with all our friends and Followers in the near future.

Monday 5 November 2012

More Games People Play

Had one had the opportunity to enquire of Mr. Khrushchev or, later, Mr. Brezhnev, as to whether or not there were significant differences between East and West in the years, now long gone, before the collapse of the 'Iron Curtain', then one would have been foolish to anticipate any other answer than that the Soviet Union and its satellites, The Peace States, of which Hungary was but one, were superior in every way.

a colourful and entertaining game for the entire family - suitable for all ages

And could this superiority be better demonstrated than to take the example of a game happily played by contented comrades the length and breadth of The People's Republic of Hungary?

everything for an evening's enjoyable entertainment is to be found here

But let us digress for one moment, and place this within a context. 'Monopoly', the board game, is today known worldwide. In it participants, capitalists to a man and a woman, acquire property and money usually in direct competition with and at the expense of their fellow beings.

'Gazdálkodj Okosan!', the Hungarian version of the 1960s, differs only slightly in that there is no accumulation of wealth, no building of a personal fortune, but rather the unparalleled joy of furnishing one's State apartment with kitchen cupboards, the latest in the way of a vacuum cleaner [no 'Hoover' here] and sewing machine, and the crowning glory of a sitting room complete with a black and white television. Happy, happy families indeed!

all the pieces complete from the 1960s including the rules to be followed

Where 'Monopoly' relies on 'Chance' and 'Community Chest' cards, so the Hungarian game seeks to promote the better qualities of socialism where the players are not exhorted to 'Pay School Fees' but to 'Read books! Reading is a pleasant, useful and cheap entertainment'. Doubtless the government of the day could suggest which books!

a 'Community Chest' card which extols the benefits and pleasures of reading 

We are reminded of all this when, a few evenings ago, friends Viktor and Zoli unearthed from the basement a splendid edition of the game in near perfect condition. And as we pushed our miniature workers around the board, we could not help but reflect on the changes of a lifetime.

P.S. We are grateful to Szabó Viktor for taking the photographs on our behalf, all of which may be enlarged at a click.