Dialogue on the experience of architecture – Hungarian Cultural Institute Stuttgart
03.09.2021 – 04.19.2021
For years now, the Hungarian Cultural Institute in Stuttgart has kept an attractive tradition going wherein local German artists and their Hungarian counterparts from mainland Hungary are invited to present their works at duo exhibitions. At the current display of the Artist Encounters series, opening in early March, in an online form for now, Zoltán Tombor, who works in Hungary again after some time spent in Milan and New York, brings his formerly unexhibited reflections on the built environment to share the space with the pictures that gallery owner and photographer Dr Ralph Fischer took of modernist icons of architecture.
"As I came to know the two oeuvres," wrote exhibition curator Márton Barki, "it became clear that although we have here two creators with completely different outlooks and temperaments, they are also marked by extraordinary commonalities. With a material they have been collecting for what may have been decades, each has the bouquet of a Spätlese, a late vintage. But what is most similar is the active and conscious nature of visual reception, the choice of often unique viewpoints, with which they build ‘image architectures,’ though they go about it in different ways—perhaps different in the manner of Kassák and Bortnyik. Their method is reciprocal, or inversive, because they use their cameras to compose new spatial illusions from the existing three-dimensional space, or usually, segments of space. Often, the geometrical elements of space are transformed into geometrical elements of the plane. Juxtaposing photos with identical motifs made it evident that the compositions enter into relationships that are easy to interpret, to read. They address each other. And when organized into appropriate groups, a kind of visual dialogue is created. New planes emerge where the mental extensions of the images overlap. The hidden correspondences of lines, shadows or surfaces give you a sense of being able to read between the lines, understand some coded language. As I talked to the artists, another common theme seemed to emerge, and that was a respect towards the Bauhaus, and especially László Moholy-Nagy. Hence the choice of the title, A Dialogue on the Experience of Architecture, which is the title of a chapter in a book Moholy-Nagy published in German. Both artists said a few things about each photo they displayed, and we recorded them sharing their ideas. Visitors can access these recordings by scanning the QR codes on the wall signs, which allows both the images and the artists to speak, in a very 21st-century manner. And that is not all. Viewers who are inspired by the works on view can also engage in dialogues with each other. They can tell about their own interpretations, and carry on a dialogue about the experience of architecture, and what may be a new kind of awareness of it."