Classic and contemporary masterpieces, Hungarian and international works of art, world-famous artists and young, upcoming talents awaited the visitors of Budapest Art Fair 2009 antique and contemporary exhibition and fair in November, at Mucsarnok exhibition gallery. The exhibition’s recognition and popularity both local and international is developing year-by-year.
Young talents appeared at the exhibition, too. One of them was Eva Martus whose works were presented by Molnar Ani Gallery. Her paintings are interactive; anybody can move the figures with the help of magnets and influence the whole theme and scene of the picture.
This year, Budapest Art Fair boasted more foreign galleries than ever before. Gilden’s Arts Gallery, present in both Tel-Aviv and London, attended the exhibition for the fourth time. Galerie le Minotaure from Paris represented modern and contemporary art, Galerie Antoine Laurentin, appeared for the first time, focusing primarily on 19th and 20th-century painters.
The Debut of four Austrian Galleries
Representing young Austrian talents as well as international contemporary artists, the four galleries from Vienna were the honorary guests of the fair this year, the Galerie Ernst Hilger / hilger modern & contemporary, the Galerie Steinek, the Galerie Strickner, and the Projektraum Viktor Bucher. Another international gallery, Knoll Gallery was given a prominent location in the Mucsarnok. It is not the first time that this gallery, both having exhibition rooms in Vienna and Budapest, was present at the Fair. It is among the first private galleries that opened in 1989 in the Hungarian capital dealing with contemporary art. Besides Viennese artists, it also co-operates with Hungarian artists and presents them on the international art market.
Numerous exciting and entertaining programs
The Art fair is not only for the collectors and the artists; it is also an excellent cultural program for the family. Besides the guided exhibition tours every year, there were world premiere documentary films and panel talks at the Artmagazin Forum. This year, the topic was how to recognize contemporary forgery. A unique collection of comics and graphics were auctioned at the 5th Caricature and Comics Auction of kArton Gallery during the fair, too. Children could also find interesting activity at the artistic playhouse. In 2009, in the framework of the cooperation between Art Fair and Bator Tabor (Courage Camp) Foundation ‘courage-camp’ children worked together with famous contemporary artists. The works were sold during an auction and the revenue went to the camp’s foundation.
Tendencies among visitors and exhibitors Galleries and auction houses mostly presented traditional media this year. In 2008, visitors could look at e.g. more photographs or video installations. This time, many of those galleries, which support contemporary artists, did not participate, mainly for economical reasons. “On the contrary,” said Perenyei, “due to the strong contemporary presence in the last 4-5 years, big auction houses presented contemporary artists, too.” Regarding visitors, less people attended the exhibition this year than one year before.
“The economic recession is only one segment of the deeply-rooted problem,” states Perenyei. “Arts teaching does not have as strong traditions as it has in Western countries, we do not really have living relation between people and contemporary culture. What is more, at the moment, we have less and less connection between people and antique art. Auction houses should fulfill a kind of mission to popularize art, nearly as much as contemporary galleries do today.”
“The days of the exhibition are a very concentrated period for the galleries” continues Perenyei “They have to enter into some kind of relations; they need to contact visitors. Hungarians are curious but often they do not get to buy the piece of art they are interested in. This leads to a certain state when sometimes they are facing difficulties. On the contrary, many Hungarian contemporary galleries, which appear at international fairs are really successful in expanding the group of their collectors and meeting foreign curators.”