Sustainable Identities

Hungary - Biennale Arte 2015

The exhibition title ’Sustainable Identities’ reflects on how the key concepts of our world have been reduced to catchy slogans. The curatorial concept builds on the space of the hungarian pavilion in Venice and Cseke’s mobile objects. The focus of the installation is the cognitive space created by motion and electronics. 

The artist and the curator

The Artist:
Szilárd Cseke (born in Pápa, Hungary) lives and works in Budapest. Having finished his Master’s degree in painting, Cseke graduated from the University of Pécs in 1995. He began to create mobile objects in the mid-90s. His works demonstrate social and economic processes, with particular emphasis on the themes of migration and the search for identity. He has garnered an array of awards, including the Munkácsy Prize in 2014 and the Derkovits Scholarship in 1997. Cseke has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in the most prestigious Hungarian institutions, such as the Kiscell Museum, the Kunsthalle and the Ludwig Museum in Budapest. He is also taking part in the Armory Show in New York in 2015. His works have been exhibited in several galleries, museums and international art fairs abroad, and they can also be found in well-known private and public collections.

„Art exhibitions like Sustainable Identities represent the “other” par excellence. As critique of power, Cseke’s installations offer the possibility to create space to contemplate and remind us that we are travelers: Like the moving balls propelled by fans in Cseke’s wall-to- wall foil, we travel between different groups and self-identifications.”
— Daniela Gottschlich
„Cseke connects a relatively high degree of abstraction and the playful components of kinetic objects with the additional meaning evoked by the titles. He builds on a specific tradition within kinetic art which uses the poetry and dynamism of movable parts in mobiles and environments in order to create “images of thought” for complex social, economic or ecological processes.
(...) In a ceaseless toing and froing of tailwind and headwind or moved in hopeless circulation, the small plastic balls in
his installations stand for the tireless commuter (Commuting Tendencies, 2012) or the agent of alleged progress on the way (Illusion of Progress, 2012). As early as 1994, Cseke presented a version (Message) with a ball moving in a foil tube that spanned the whole exhibition space in the Barcsay Hall of the Budapest University of Fine Arts. Like a group of emigrants, the balls rush through a bricolage course made of household waste (We are moving abroad, 2013), or installed on a table of plexiglass and metal plates (Good Shepherd, 2013) equipped with neon lights for potential permanent use - fully in line with Jean Tinguely’s motto of kinetic art: “Immobility does not exist” (Manifesto For Statics, 1959).”
— Fritz Emslander
„Cseke’s constructions exhibited in the Hungarian pavilion, including the sound of fans and the resonances of a sound installation, as well as the new art video on the website, cannot provide naïve, didactic, conclusive answers and solutions. Rather they remain associative artworks and spaces. They can only subtly suggest that rigidly formulated identities that exclude others and disregard the fragility of our environment will in all likelihood be unsustainable in the future.”
— Kinga German

The Curator:
Kinga German (born in Cluj, Romania) is an art historian who has studied at the universities of Heidelberg and Karlsruhe. In 2011, she received her PhD from Stuttgart University and completed her studies in cultural management at Fernuniversität Hagen. Since 2008, she has been working at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest, and as of 2015 as an associate professor. German founded the only Hungarian “Museum Management” postgraduate program of study, where she is in charge of the major. She regularly organizes exhibitions and always involves perspectives pertaining to the mediation of art in her concepts. She has published in Hungarian, German and English.

The Hungarian Pavilion

About the Hungarian Pavilion:
Hungary had already participated in the international Venice Biennale in 1895 and had received its independent pavilion in 1909 created by Géza Maróti (1875-1941), architect and sculptor. Maróti also designed exhibition pavilions for International Exhibitions and Fairs (Milano and Torino), and had pursued intensive international activities (Mexico City, Detroit), despite that, he died at the end of his careerpath, unemployed.
The Hungarian exhibition- pavilion, located in the Giardini area, the famous gardens in the east of Venice, included mosaics realised by Miksa Róth (1865-1944), based on drawings by Aladár Körösfői-Kriesch (1863-1920). After World War II, the pavilion was severely damaged and closed down for restoration. As a result, in 1948, the exhibition was set up in a different location.
Partially reconstructed by Ágost Benkhard (1882-1961), the Hungarian Pavilion was reopened to the public in 1958. It since has hosted artists like Andreas Fogarasi, who has won the Golden Lion for best National Participation in 2007.

The Hungarian Pavilion is currently the home of artist Szilárd Cseke’s project Sustainable Identities.

The show

As part of the curatorial concept, the experience begins with
a sound installation by media designer Ábris Gryllus, who was brought in on the project by Cseke and German. The sounds of the continuously moving balls can be heard in the ‘noise space’ of the installation that is optically separated from the other artworks on display.

Plastic tubes and plastic balls

The structure of the installation space consists of three units of artworks. The wall-to-wall foil tubes contain moving balls propelled by fans. Their intersecting routes create a network, which provides an opportunity to reinterpret personal identities on a global basis. They draw attention to the limits, the interdependency and the determined nature of the ego and various directions of thought. Szilárd Cseke’s work thus situates individual, local viewpoints in a global system of interrelationships, making both the local and the global levels visible simultaneously.

The foil cushion

The installation includes a breathing foil cushion that creates the impression of a ‘centre’ that maintains the system as it continuously inflates and deflates. In contrast with its material it has an organic feel, and with its stable position it stands as a counterpoint to the dynamic and mechanic web of identity shifts. It raises the question: what significances do the breathing mechanisms of our current environment bear for us?

The interactive section

The inner courtyard of the pavilion will be transformed into an experimental space, where visitors may express their views on the themes of identity and sustainability.Students of the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest took part in the visual arrangement of the inner courtyard in the Hungarian Pavilion.

Visualize your Identity! The mobile application transforms the voice of the visitors in graphic images.

Credits: Story

Exhibiting artist: Szilárd Cseke
Curator: Kinga German
National Commissioner: Monika Balatoni
Assistant Commissioner: István Puskás
Coordinators: National Commissioning Office
Ludwig Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art,

Sound installation: Ábris Gryllus
Art video: Mihály Lukács
Interactive section:
Visualize your Identity app.: POSSIBLE Budapest

website of the project:

Szilárd Cseke is represented by the Ani Molnár Gallery

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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