INTERPRETIVE COMMUNITIES - INTERVIEW SERIES
19 February - 30 April 2021
INTERPRETIVE COMMUNITIES - Interview Series
In the course of collecting and holding exhibitions, the Kassák Museum extends its scope beyond Lajos Kassák himself to artists and authors who actively experience a personal, artistic or critical relationship with him. Our interview subjects approach Kassák’s physical and intellectual heritage not as random ideas and impressions, but in terms of certain suppositions and expectations.
Some are members of a community of art historians, literary scholars and critics who research and regularly write about his work. There are also contemporary artists who utilize and reflect on this heritage in their own creative activity. Then there is a commemorative community who relate to Kassák through personal experience through bonds of kinship and friendship.
The 2018 exhibition Interpretive Communities presented these groups through artworks, other creative work, and interviews. We hear their views and what links them to Kassák.
We bring out a new interview every week.
The first interview is with R. József Juhász, a performance and media artist from Nové Zámky. Since 1997 he and Ilona Németh have been organizing the art festival Transart Communication, which connects with the Kassák mentality on several levels.
The second interview is with Fanny Havas. Her father, the poet Endre Havas was member of the Munka-kör, a group that formed up around Kassák's journal, the Munka (Work), and worked for the emancipation of people living in poverty. Her mother was Márta Beck, daughter of the sculptor Fülöp Beck Ö. In addition to publications related to Endre Havas, the museum also thanks to Fanny Havas for several letters from Eva Besnyö.
puts ecological, economic and social questions at the centre of his
art. Lajos Kassák’s artistic activities and his theoretical and
advertising design work are important points of reference for him. His
work constantly returns to the tensions between the utopian conceptions
and the realization of modernism, and their relevance to the present.
The fourth interview is with Csaba Nemes.
He started his artistic career during the political transition. His work reflects his experiences of that time, and a recurrent theme is the connection between personal history and developments in society. His artistic roles – as creative artist, activist and educator – have an affinity to Lajos Kassák’s social commitment and society-shaping ambitions. His series of cartoons held in the museum build on Kassák’s consistent critical attitude and determination to oblige the viewer to take a position in current political issues.
The fifth interview is with Marianne Bálint (née Kollár), István Bálint's wife, who was well known as a member of Péter Halász’ Squat Theatre, New York. It was through Marianne Kollár that the Kassák Museum purchased her father-in-law, Endre Bálint’s family correspondence and posters of the Squat Theatre.
The sixth interview is with Gábor Tóth, poet and artist whose work combined visuality, publishing, sound poetry and performances. Kassák’s role in communicating art and science and his artistic practices had a great influence on Tóth, who gave voice to them in performances beside the memorial plaque to Kassák in Bulcsú Street each year on Kassák’s birthday, 21 March.
The seventh interview is with Gábor Mezei. The interior designer Mezei has multiple family connections to Lajos Kassák. A caricature of Kassák by his mother, Magda Hauswirth, is held in the Kassák Museum. His father Imre Mezei, who wrote under the pen name Imre Pán and was a founder of the "European School" group of artists, took part in the Hungarian avant-garde movement in his twenties. In 1924, he and his brother launched the Dadaist magazine IS, which survived only two issues, and in 1931, he started up the magazine Index. He was associated with Kassák Lajos early on: the Vienna Ma published his poems, and he distributed the magazine in Hungary. Later, he published in Dokumentum and Munka, and in the 1950s, he collaborated with Kassák to write the book Isms. The History of Modern Art Movements. After emigrating to Paris in 1957, he was active as an art organizer, holding exhibitions, writing essays and starting off several art publications. He played a major role in presenting Hungarian artists in France.