20 October 2017 - 25 February 2018
THE NEW KASSÁK – THE HORSE DIES AND THE BIRDS FLY AWAY
OPENING: Thursday October 19, 2017, 6.00 pm
Welcoming speech by Edit Sasvári, Director of Kassák Museum
Opening speech by György Gömöri, poet, translator
Early 20th century avant-garde movements revolted against the traditional forms and institutions of art. Their program was a denial of old art and an exploration of the possibilities of new art. Lajos Kassák and the journals he edited were at the heart of the Hungarian avant-garde movement in the 1910s and 1920s. Kassák, however, stuck to no particular “ism” from the international trends. Inspired primarily by the characteristic traits of Futurism, Expressionism, Dadaism, and Constructivism, he created his own version of new art. With his journal MA [Today], he established his own movement and institution. As he gave no name to his “ism”, his movement became associated with him as a person: the eccentric “new artist” with long hair, wearing a black Russian shirt. This is why this distinctive strand of Hungarian avant-garde came to be known as Kassákism.
In 2017, Petőfi Literary Museum and its member institutions, Kassák Museum and Gizi Bajor Actors’ Museum will celebrate Kassák’s 130th birthday and the 50th anniversary of his death with three exhibitions.
In the Kassák Museum, the exhibition entitled The New Kassák – The Horse Dies and the Birds Fly Away explores the figure and origin story of “the new artist”. A ló meghal és a madarak kiröpülnek [The Horse Dies and the Birds Fly Away], Kassák’s most well-known and most often quoted autobiographical poem, takes center stage in the exhibition’s narrative. The poem was written in 1920-1921, when Kassák, inspired by international “isms”, reformed the language of his poetry. It tells the story of Kassák’s 1909 trip to Paris and the process of his transformation from a simple steel worker into a new poet. Beyond a lyrical account of Kassák’s personal development, the exhibition also sheds light on the unfortunate contradiction between the international acclaim for Kassák’s Dadaist poetic universe and the rejection it had to face in Hungary. The exhibition also reflects on the history of the poem’s canonization.
Exhibition concept: Merse Pál Szeredi
The exhibitions were curated by Edit Sasvári, Judit Galácz, and Merse Pál Szeredi
Exhibition design by Klára Rudas and Bence György Pálinkás
The Vienna edition of MA and the International Avant-garde Network
Petőfi Literary Museum, 13 October 2017 - 25 February 2018
New Drama, New Stage. Theatrical Experiments of the Hungarian Avant-garde
Gizi Bajor Actors' Museum, 27 October 2017 - 25 February 2018