Gábor Gerhes

Dilettanten erhebt Euch gegen die Kunst!

Venue: acb Attachment
Date: Nov 11 – Dec 15, 2016

Now exhibited for the first time, the latest works of Gábor Gerhes employ various media. Photographs, small sculptures, objects based on (pseudo-)geometric, figurative and textual elements. Thematically, however, they are connected by a strong political position and the monochrome reduction of forms, present in each individual work or group of works.

The German sentence used as the title of the exhibition was originally posted as a sign on the wall of the first international Dada exhibition in Berlin in 1920. It reads: “Dilettantes agitate against art!” The works of Gerhes, however, cannot merely be related to the Dadaist movement following World War I, as his art is not a provocative and openly political rebellion against the prevailing art and order, or perhaps disorder. It is much rather the position of the eternal dissident, at once a critical position that adopts the established and appropriated representational patterns of politics in the broad sense – whether those be linguistic or visual – and transforms these to create works of art with condensed meaning.

Having become common and therefore almost unnoticeable, the formulas of politics and power appear in such abstract terms as Justice, Enemy and Das Kapital, which define public political discourse and hate speech alike, but Gerhes’ works also operate with the appropriation of specific, historically loaded events and works. An example of the latter is the exploration of the composition of a group sculpture remake on the Kossuth square adjacent to the Hungarian Parliament, as a revisitation of Hungary’s questionable Horthy-era, a good example of the recent transformation of Hungary’s public squares (LOVE). Black Star – Doppelgänger is a historically loaded piece of graphic art, also of local bearing: it alludes to a commemorative poster from 1976, celebrating the anniversary of the Soviet liberation / invasion, the original of which can be found at the National Széchenyi Library. Gerhes bleached the red-white-green stripes crossing the five-pointed star of the original poster, resulting in black and white stripes, while also omitting the textual part: “4. April” from the top left corner and the imprint and the signature “György Fekete” at the bottom of the original.

Gábor Gerhes (1962) is a Munkácsy Mihály Award winning visual artist and university professor. He has regularly been exhibited in Hungary and abroad since 1985. His most important exhibitions in the past years include Neue Ordnung, a solo show at the Trafó Gallery and Meaning, a group exhibition last year at the Capa Contemporary Photography Center in Budapest, with Marcell Esterházy, Péter Forgács and Emese Mucsi.

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