Little Warsaw (Hungary)

András Gálik and Bálint Havas live in Budapest, Hungary (the exhibited work will be a video projection on a screen, screen being an over-sized planche for person to carry in a demonstration)

by Zsolt Petrányi

Little Warsaw presented a single statue in the Hungarian Pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennale, The Body of Nefertiti. It is a contemporary complement to the famous female portrait in Berlin's Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrus sammlung. We might examine how this work relates to the artists' earlier work, and recount the process of its realization.

ANTECEDENTS: The output of Little Warsaw in the past seven years includes, in addition to their artistic organizing activity, remarkable works of sculpture - even though the two founding members are trained as painters. Their 'career creep' was intentional, since this form of expression was even recently not much valued by young artists in Hungary. It has been unpopular, a thing of the past, a craft whose success at exhibitions was much less certain than that of, say, installation, photography or computer prints. In contrast, Gálik and Havas turned to sculpture because they understood it to be the branch of art best able to represent the popular conception of an artwork, an image of palpability, approachability in physical and intellectual terms, and unequivocalness of expression.

For the same reasons, public sculpture is especially important for them as something that in its message and appearance seeks to be 'communal', the vehicle of ideas and aesthetic values whose tradition greatly relies on the notion of consensus, agreement on aesthetics and content.

They also became interested in popular and historic symbols, the chance to revitalize them, and put them in contemporary contexts. With such gestures Little Warsaw tries to establish a connection between the present and the temporality of art, as well as its potential for mediation, to get forms that ensure the references of the work are comprehensible to more than a select minority.

Little Warsaw simultaneously produces works of art and the peculiar systems of reference that stand behind them. What sets them apart is the diversity of references to cultural and art history.