Hungarian Artists and the Computer

Hungarian National Gallery (24 June 2016 - 21 August 2016)
Computers democratised art, gave freedom to the artists and abolished the artificial democracy among art forms generated by the socialist cultural policy.
The first attempt aimed at a comprehensive summary of the history of computer art in Hungary was in 1990 within the framework of an exhibition organised in France with the participation of nine invited artists.
 
Forming part of the Fête de l'image (Festival of the Image) series organised in Lille, the show L’Artist hongrois et de l’ordinateur (Hungarian Artists and the Computer), assembled by Joël Boutteville, a notable curator of new media art, encompassed all the possible areas of digital art (computer graphics and animation) that emerged in Hungary in the last years of socialism.

Hungarian computer works made in the last years of socialism were novel by operating outside the traditional institutional structure of fine art. However, the message of advocating the freedom of art lost its previous importance and gradually its topicality after the collapse of state socialism and the consolidation of a western type political system. The show, which can be regarded as a milestone in Hungarian media art, exerted an influence upon the experiments carried out with the technical image after 1990 and the role of this medium in the changed climate of cultural policy after the change in the system, while it also paved the way for including digital culture within the institutional framework of culture and art. 
 
Intensifying international interest has been taken in the early period of new media in recent times, although no exhibition has been solely devoted to the theme in Hungary thus far. The present exhibition reconstructs the show curated by Boutteville a quarter of a century ago and by placing the medium in an international context explores the work of the pioneering Hungarians who revolutionised digital imaging, while providing a comprehensive picture of the first period of computer art in Hungary from the mid-1970s to the democratic transition. 
2016.07.06
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(4 pictures)


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