Until the 18th of March, the Ernst Museum in Budapest exhibits ´Opus Magnum´ by the Polish artist NATALIA LL. With this retrospective exhibition they pay tribute to the conceptual artist who for 40 years had worked in political feminist art, producing important works in the shape of paintings, drawings, performances, photographs, videos and installations.
NATALIA LL is one of the most famous Polish avant-garde artists. Her experimental art work together with the theory thrown onto various texts has brought her to be a pioneer in various art fields, even making works altering her own body.
Lach Lachowicz, the real name of NATALIA LL, was born in Zywiec, Poland, in 1937. She studied in the Fine Arts School of Wroclaw between 1957 and 1963. In the early 70s she was part of the art collective Permafo, together with artists such as Zbigniew Diuback, Antoni Dzieduszycki and Lachowicz Andrzej, with whom she created an avant-garde contemporary art gallery.
In the 70s, amid the rise of feminist political ideas, she joined the feminist international movement, quickly becoming an outstanding representative, making exhibitions on feminist art in Poland, introducing thought on the role of women in society and its representations through performances.
In the late 60s, influenced by the literature of the Marquis de Sade and Georges Bataille, she worked on the investigation of erotic photography and made three works based on it, ´Intimate Sphere´, ´Velvet Terror´ and ´Intimate Photography´. With these works she defied the dominant moral rigidness.
In the early 70s she questioned the role of image in society and developed a series of photographic works under the title ´Consumer´s Art´. Through them she explored the meaning that consumer changes have and submerged herself in a series of post art on the photographic representations of the images that are impossible in photography. Many works came out of this investigation, among them ´Artificial Cycle´.
In the late 70s she discovered the potential that video had, despite it being an expensive technique that was difficult to handle for a non-professional, and she made the works ´Register Time´ and ´Memories´.
The 80s were difficult in Poland. The Trade Unions came up strongly in the country and they managed to stop production in most of the country, which meant the implementation of the martial law and, with it, the ethical revaluation in society. This brought NATALIA LL to move her investigation to philosophical and religious subjects. In this period she began a work process with her own body, deconstructing her figure in the work ´Fear of panic´ among others.
In the 90s, after the fall of socialism and the opening of the discussion of the ´origin of evil´, she made interesting works such as ´Sphere of Panic´ and various other notable works.
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Between the 22nd April – 3rd July, Budapest´s Ludvig Museum presents a retrospective of Mladen StilinoviÄ – a collection of installations, collages, photographs and books by the neo-avantgarde artist from ex-Yugoslavia.
Mladen StilinoviÄ was born in Zagreb in 1947, and in the 1980s was the director of Medija ProÅ¡irenih Galerija (Media Gallery), and the co-founder of Galerija Podroom.
Between 1975 and 1980, StilinoviÄ was part of the Six Authors Group, which was formed of conceptual artists interested in the idea of public art, and creating installations in urban areas. StilinoviÄ made placards from basic materials, with provocative, politically critical slogans as well as photographs, newspaper cuttings, and simple phrases written in pen. His work, strongly influenced by the politics of his country, reflects the pain caused by the war which followed the fall of Socialism. He constructs his works based on a dramatic, dynamic narrative, playing with linguistic signs to express the mechanisms of power, and his own artistic fantasy of a world without creative barriers in which dreams and ideas can freely subvert order.
The work which stands out for the originality of its artistic and political theory consists of a piece of pale pink cloth, on which is written in black âAn Artist Who Cannot Speak English is no Artist.â StilinoviÄ emphasises and challenges the dominance of English, as the language of globalisation by scoring the “No” in red – an ironic play on words as a form of artistic protest.
StilinoviÄ´s interest in poetry and cinema gives a sequential note to his works – each individual piece has a concept, but viewing them all as a whole gives its meaning. This is an effect repeated in his books, which take on cinematic pace as the pages go on.
In The Praise of Laziness StilinoviÄ posits a profound criticism of the various political systems which governed the world using methods of exploitation and discrimination, maintaing that both socialism and capitalism deny the right of laziness, and condemn it as an evil which leads to vice. The capitalist system, StilinoviÄ points out, only grants the luxury of laziness to a lucky few, whilst everyone else is exploited in order to produce capital wealth. He adds that socialism, which was conceptualised upon bringing an end to work, reversed to praise work as the only way of generating happiness. Finally, he asserts “laziness is the mother of perfection” and that without it, art wouldn´t exist.
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To discover the work of this interesting anarchist philosophist artist, you just need to go down to the Ludwig Museum if you are in Budapest. To experience spring in the city, rent apartments in Budapest
Translated by: Poppy