CARPET OF TIME, Imre Gaál Gallery, Budapest




Budapest, 14.11. 2016-06.01.2017.

Twenty years ago, in 1996 – at the time when many other professional art companies were re-organized in Hungary and started to operate – the Hungarian Modern Artists’ Association of Hungarian Textile Artists re-founded a classical tradition.
But while the associations of the various art formers practiced the revival of the preforms of 1945 in the years after the change of regime – such as aquarelists or sculptors – the tapestry artists could not rely on such traditions or antecedents, as the history of the textile art workshops was also quite fragmented in the past. We can only refer to the short-lived Art Nouveau workshop in Gödöllő, the abrupt and re-starting college education, the emergence of a significant performance of a school-building artists, Noémi Ferenczy. However, one could not find a comprehesive association of tapestry artists until the last decade of the twentieth century in this creative area. Along with the changes in the historical-social conditions of the creation of the umbrella artists’ association, there were, of course, artistic motives: in parallel with the slow closing of the “living textile” period opened up in the seventies and in the eighties and nineties, the tradition of traditional tapestry art became more and more intense modern art-driven phenomena and initiatives that could be registered through a series of well-crafted works by the tapestry artists. Recognizing all of these, in 1996, the Association of Hungarian Tapestry Artists, which integrated the activities in this art sector, was established. Ildikó Dobrányi, who took enormous part in the founding, and later, as President, stated: “Its purpose is to cultivate and support, preserve and present the tapestry weaving. The Association includes almost all professional Hungarian tapestry artists – 74 persons in the turn of the millennium – who express themselves in the language of the woven fabric among the borders of our country and beyond.” Ildikó Dobrányi, a few years after the founding, also found that through the operation of the association “gates were opened before a generation that received basics similar to classical academics at the College of Fine Arts and Applied Arts in Budapest, but they also had an extraordinary interest in the new media of the age – computer, light and sound effects, photography, video – and their use in their art. At the same time, in our ever-accelerating world, this generation is very much insistent, as a counterpart to a genre whose practitioner almost imposes on the method of deep creation. … The artist, who designs his or her works, offers the possibility of personally participating in the artwork all the way through the whole creation of the work.” And we can quote the item by Hegyi Ibolya, according to which the renaissance of tapestry art roots in the eternal relevance of the ancient structure of weaving, which is analogous to the latest imaging methods.” The emergence of the Hungarian Tapestry Association has been intensifying, with more and more active activities: the artists gathered in the organization series of domestic and international exhibitions and biennials, followed by grouped, often thematic exhibitions – first of them was the memorable „Woven Hymns” exhibition in the Sándor Pallace of Buda Castle
and then they created their monumental “common tapestries”, among which the first was the monumental work of the forty-six artist’s own, mosaic-finished piece, entitled „Carpet without borders” framed by the Carpathian frontiers, showing a medieval Hungary map which was followed by a number of similar or joint workshops in the last two decades. And besides, we can not forget about the large-scale international tapestry exhibitions that took place in Budapest after the millennium, whereby the works of Hungarian tapestry artists could be embedded in an international art form representing contemporary art processes of the world. This exhibition, which was organized on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the establishment of the organization, is half the presently about seventy members: thirty-five artists are present with their own works, and two of the common works of the group are being highlighted as the trademark of the jointly-planned and executed works: the Lights of Europe and the Radnóti memorial artwork. It should also be remembered that this exhibition includes the work of two outstanding artists – Solti Gizella and Polgár Rózsa – whose career and work has been completed in the recent years and whose work owes not only the 20th anniversary of the association, but also the Hungarian textile art of XXth-XXIst. Century. It also represents the outstanding performances of the century’s history. The complete set of works – the material and technical conditions that are bound to the threads, and warps, the essence of the weaving method, despite the formal constraints – creates an extremely diverse overall picture. Formats and shapes are also varied: large-scale and chamber-like smaller works alternate with each other, and the traditional standing or lying rectangle, beside the square shape, the cross and the triangular shape, and the object-like representation included in the box can be observed. In the tapestry workshops and in the workshop processes of the weaving we can see the designs or sketches, the drawings, the graphic or the graphic compositions that have been captured by the most demanding workmanship, often unheard of detail and artifact, but at the same time they have penetrated the textiles and wall art designs. In addition to the formal features, we can again assure ourselves of the basic idea of the art history that the tapestry image is far away from for the traditional example of painting imagery: that, in addition to a comprehensive compilation focusing on a particular motif, the entire field of tapestry art, the visualization based on the blurring of the image elements and the detailing of richness is also emphasized, so these two dominant performances determine the visual world of the entire exhibition collection. And just as in almost every other field of art, the natural and abstract, the concrete and the abstract expression, as well as the phenomena captured by these two mirrors in which narratives speak, symbolize and picture metaphors emerging alongside each other. Symbols are summed up, fantasy worlds outline, gestures are captured. And besides all these things, or more in all of these, we should still mention the most important element of the art sector, the color, the magical color which turns out to be a flat surface through the twisting of the dyed, colored thread and unfolds it from its infinite shades and transitions organizational, intrinsic colors embedded in softness, brought about by materiality, which the art historian gives himself before the task of precisely describing the color world: because this degree of delicacy, sensitivity, resonance, and riches can not be interpreted in words. That is, emotional filling and emotional determinations, lyrical conversations, when we come across these works.
Twenty years are a very long time in the life of an artist’s society, survival is an achievement in itself, a success, but more important than the fact that in the two decades the contemporary legitimacy and artistic significance of a sector, transformation, material and technology application with classical values was proven; with its own and joint works, exhibitions and professional representation of the Hungarian Tapestry Association. The new, epoch of the textile artists of the century will have a definite point of reference, a target they can look back: the two decades of work of the deep-traded workshop is now a tradition.

Tibor Wehner
Art Historian

An Anniversary Exhibition of the Association of Hungarian Tapsetry Artists

Report on the jubilee exhibition of the Hungarian Tapestry Association

The representative exhibition entitled Carpet of Time, is looking back at the 20 years old creative period of the Hungarian Tapestry Association, which is now, was held at the Gaál Imre Gallery in Pesterzsébet. The traditional advent exhibition of the Association – used to be presented at the Újbuda Gallery in every early December, but this year, at the turn of the round anniversary, the art-loving audience of Pesterzsébet could also get acquainted with a comprehensive selection from the oeuvre of artists who played a decisive role during the later period of Hungarian tapestry history in Hungary and beyond. This exhibition might be seen as somewhat narrowed continuation of the retrospective exhibition of 100 years of Hungarian Tapestry organized in Szombathely in February 2015.
The exhibition has commemorated the memory of the common works (Lights of Europe and the Hommage of Radnóti) and individual woven masterpieces of the past twenty years, and also fits well with the atmosphere of the upcoming advent.

The group exhibition was opened by Tibor Wehner, an art historian who presented the original objectives of the Association of Hungarian Tapestry Artists and the history of this organization comparing to the Art Nouveau workshop in Gödöllő, in the historical context, “the Hungarian textile artist’s modern creative workplace for classical traditions”. The viewer was confronted for the first time in the center of the exhibition, at the main spot of the exhibition, in the axis of the Europe, with its bluish-silvery visionary, festive sight. On the wall near the entrance, from the left top corner of the Radnóti memorial carpet, with a palette of autumnal colors, the sixteen-year-old Fanni’s childhood “glittered” with the golden age of the wicked, 19th-century photographs of the late 19th century. The wild knots of “barbed wire” may also recall the Christ’s wreath in the recipient. The gobelins are not only apocalyptic visuals referring to “brutal” death, but the painful contradiction – coupled with the poems of the poet’s value and time-related poems – also depicted in the poems the pictorial representations of idyllic youth. The individual works of the exhibition were arranged around relatively well-rounded themes. In the first group, we can list those works that are more or less the subject of holiness. Sacred energies were literally mediated by the work of Mária Rádió close to the entrance, a work by Csilla Kelecsényi, which, in a wooden frame, through an old radio medium, certainly shows a part of the star wreath of Our Lady. In many specific or transposed terms, a Christian-themed work has also been presented at the exhibition, such as simple crucifixes or roadside plenary works in structures of abstract forms (latter Ágnes Kecskés: Easter), or Edit Balogh’s Being on our Cross, an ancient, antique, rich color frontal self-portrait sticked on the intersection point of the cross. We can see Katalin Zelenák’s work as a special self-portrait in a white semi-circular “window” frame and a black-backed Renaissance fragment, though it is relatively difficult to judge whether a citizen or a church person looks back from the “fragile” tapestry fragments. Triptichon of Rózsa Polgár imitates the structure of a winged altar, with the abstract representation of Heaven, Hell, and perhaps the Purification Fire. In Indira Máder’s “The Glory of All Motors”, the shape of the cross is surrounded by excited swirling by angelic wings. The work of Hajnal Baráth, “Light-time-space”, also tells the spectator of the sphere of the sphere, perhaps with the detail of a building in Heavenly Jerusalem. The meditative creation of Ritta Hager’s Light is the purely visual expression of the sacred holiness. For me, it is a day of peeling into a mystical forest tree. It is worth to mention that this work was exhibited at the Brandenburg Gate of the Berlin Wall, in the Silence Room, but it could now return to honor the Association. Margit Czakó recalled Paul Klee’s world slightly as a composer of the Form of the Meadow in the middle of the carpet. This work, similarly to Hager, represented meditative power and energy in the exhibition with its subtle use of color, the elaboration of delicate transitions and patterns of the surfaces. In the same contemplative series, Eszter Bényi’s work, which used Oriental punctuation, certainly not only for decorative purposes on its wall hangings, and also with the title of Starwinds, Krisztina Kókay, also excitedly “clumped” leap-shaped forms framed in a circular shape. Last but not least, Irén Malik presented her ”Way of Life” work in the ornamental frame of Alpha and Omega letters, which cites the visual traditions of initials and decorative papal ornaments.
The next group could include works that use the method of private mythologies. Such as the textual metaphor „Profane sacrifice” by mother and daughter, Eta Erdélyi and Zsófia Harmati, whose rhythmic forms (sometimes kobolds sitting in the woods, and fairy-like fairy-tales), emerging from the warm shades. In Mária Kőszegi’s horizontal arrangement, perhaps the drama of dead bird life is at the center, Katalin Kiss’s Winter Garden is a decorative depiction of the garden, a very fine, almost semi-abstract soul mark, hidden among the snowy branches. In her triangular form Wall-Chance, Ida Lencsés set a triumphant symbol of the child’s archetype to the Corinthian column or just as an emblem. We see a putto figure with royal symbols in his hand, who simply breaks through his existence and restructures those old wall details that might represent the past. Corinthian is also a symbol of the past in the work of Rozália Kozma, which is covered by branches and thorns. (Centuries-old ruins). At the colorful champion of Éva Rónai we see an old-fashioned bicycle riding racket, probably the most humorous piece of the exhibition, though the grotesque figurines (rabbits, birds, fish), which remind us of the animal world, feel social-critical: the rabbit would bicycle in the opposite direction to the animal direction if the leg reaches the pedal at all. We also see animals, galloping horses, in Katalin Martos Kárpittervén too. Lívia Pápai Hommage, Petőfi’s work could be in the imagination besides the Radnóti tapestry, but it may be only a superficial approach because it can be mentioned as a contradiction. Instead of animating the poet’s cult, Papa ironically lists the laurel wreaths of the poet’s glory as well as the somewhat difficult to read verses. The plan of the soul on his way to Katalin Fóris, however, is a dedicated work directly dedicated to Radnóti’s suffering and poetry. In Earring Farkas Dimension, gold-like gold cones glittering with many sparkles dancing and gracefully floating in a pattern made of hexagons and diamonds, also in gold and white colors, brilliantly showing differences in plane-like and spatial representation. Nóra Tápai’s monochrome graphics Axonometry also raises similar issues, but the identification of the subject becomes questionable in Eleanor Pasqualetti’s work Silenzio, which was seen from above, on a poster, perhaps, and which is one of the most honest work of the exhibition, a difficult 
to identify form, maybe a cell that is proliferating, we see embryos? Gizella Solti  Shortcut, we see a portrait of a young man with a liberated smile, perhaps a distant civilization, perhaps as a hoped alternative to the comfort of the comfort of the over-complicated European society. Kneisz Eszter Well? or their Listen address, their fibrous-painted painted backgrounds are linked to each other by film-coated. We see the snapshots of a seaside vacation, perhaps a couple’s conversation, even if they could be part of a French film.

Finally, the works could be grouped in abstract or semi-abstract language, mostly in landscape or geometric themes. One of the most expressive, already expressionist and even gestational traditions in the language of the mantle, Éva Sipos, The Dark Cloud of the River. Judit Pázmány Stargazing, perhaps very dynamic forms, perhaps a big part of the work that is going to enlarge the big bang and its details in the lower bands of the textiles, can be remembered by this tant acceptance gesture of the Catholic Church. Again, one of the interesting complex perspectives is the monumental tapestry of Szabó Verona along the Great River, or the name of the end of the sun representing the landscapes of Péter Kecskés Monet, perhaps a rocky coast. Once again, we can remember the work of Benedek Noémi Parázs, whose reddish, hot, swirling, whiplash lines, as if they had an analogous relationship with the Tűzkakas cake of 2017. The drawings of Mária Vajda can be viewed from a certain distance with certainty, at least some spectacle elements will be removed from the drawing, for example, perhaps a bamboo ink, or Klee’s face-like facial details again. A subset of this group may be the works that can be posthumously or graphically accentuated or the most closely related to the title of the exhibition (The Text of Time). Beáta Bocz  Time I-II. , her delicate, delicate drawings conjure up the world of landscapes of Japan’s potters painting, and the graphic details of the gobelins of the gobelins can also be taken into account. Here are the drawings of Beatrice Hauser’s drawings of Extremely Strong and Clear Violence and Lashes. Drawing the split, crumpled canvas (cloth), the artist actually went into the footsteps of his Italian predecessor, Lucio Fontana. If we think about it more deeply then, these two graphics also conjure up the verse of the great poet, József Attila of the Hungarians, enriching the meaning layers of Mama’s figure and, and Áron József, who is stretched out to America as well as the seventh stage of Eszmélet. “I looked up from the sky / the heap gear” / / the mult looms of my splinter / lilac wires / and I looked up again to the sky / under the vapors of my dreams, the law of the law / always explodes somewhere. ” Although the exact meaning of the “scum” is implicit in the poem, Hauser’s drawing refers specifically to violence. Of course, these drawings can be read as a non-collective story, but also as a simple family legend. Judit Székely’s “Tapestry” is a longitudinal tapestry that responds to many contemporary phenomena. Especially for two paradoxes that characterize us most. Although it is almost all mechanized, there is no time for anything, and on the other hand it is “to be happy” or at least to be seen, death and sadness are mostly taboo. The instantaneousness and speed of e-mails, and the workflow of the carpeting now considered to be luxurious with many hours of work and energy. The message of the tapestry is determined by the chain of fish chains. In the work we can find traces of individual mythology. This work is again more directly related to the subject of “bound”, “vanquished” consecrated time. In the approach of Wehner, for the work jointly and individually created by the Association, so much time and creativity (in the region of the millennium there are more than seventy persons), of course, the most technical and thematic variation is typical. In the light of the works presented here, they include sacredness, human life, prominent art pastors, symbolic and abstract self-expression, meditative visual world, private-minded construction, self-mastery, individual use of the signal, close to nature and past topics openness. But one of the most important virtues of the organization, Wehner, however, emphasized the continued cultivation of the genre: “Twenty years is a very long time in the life of an artist, survival is an achievement in itself, a success, but much more important than the fact that in the two decades a sector with classical values “The last twenty years, and then the following, show that the descendants of Noemi Ferenczy succeeded in transforming and exalting the genre revived by Ferenczy, by announcing the existence of our age sometimes desperately in the midst of its rapid changes, the importance of an art of “slow” and lavish experiences.

Eszter Molnár