Diana Kingsley

  • You Never Know

    You Never Know, a three-man artists’ group from Vienna, described their onenight exhibition in Budapest as a “euphoric, vague situation.” Now Budapest is a place, like many probably, where vague situations are not rare, but ones that are both euphoric and vague are good deal less frequent. The group members present themselves as oddballs just trying to connect, often employing minimal forms, light, video, and sound, in ways, to quote one of the members, that are “overwhelming, precise and easy.” They seek to seduce with simplicity and their production has a dumb confidence about it that ends up

  • Polyphonia

    The cast of villains in “Polyphonia: Social Commentary in Contemporary Hungarian Art” warrants some serious soul searching here in the land of the freed. You have the Museum Director who refused to mount the show because of the potentially politically incriminating ideas that might arise. You have the organizers, who, though they pushed the venue onto the streets (and into various other public places), insisted on inviting artists to submit proposals for works of a sociopolitical nature with the condition that they not consider “daily politics, concrete persons, institutions, interest groups,

  • Újlak Group

    When relating the story of the Újlak Group, one is tempted to resort to a narrative of the “artists’ group” as creative laboratory, a narrative that is in large part responsible for their appeal in this Eastern European climate of uncertain relationships. The group itself, however, rejects any well-greased organizing principle, functioning more as a nonlinear commentary on communication. Their refusal to define themselves and their relationship to each other, and their infinitely renewable impulse toward definition is their raison d’être. As one of the artists put it, “We ape the experience of

  • Pál Gerber

    Pál Gerber’s paintings of revoked “every-day” object, scenerios and texts torn from their original context, catapuled into an unarticulated gray space, where, to borrow from Gertrude Stein, “There’s no ‘there’ there”—work in the space of the psyche, requiring a constant readjustment on the part of the viewer, generating a quiet, incomprehensible shock. They seem to be at once something that is our own, and something remarkably foreign, unsettling. His work typically consists of tiles from a once-upon-a-time land and of images that recall people who have returned from vacation, their tans