Wed, Apr 13

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American Hungarian Library

Opening Reception: Tamás Ábel & Judit Kis: Strategic Stillness

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Opening Reception: Tamás Ábel & Judit Kis: Strategic Stillness

Time & Location

Apr 13, 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT

American Hungarian Library, 215 E 82nd St, New York, NY 10028, USA

About the Event

Tamás Ábel & Judit Kis: STRATEGIC STILLNESS

April 13–20, 2022

                             my body gypsy

                                     my body jew

                                             my body cuman

                                                     my body holy

                                                             my body blind

                                                                     my body colored

                                                                             my body whore

                                                                                     my body Hungarian

 

                      — Agáta Gordon, “Trance-spiral” (Transz-spirál)

To grapple with the unfolding crises in their micro and macro environments, Hungarian artists Tamás Ábel and Judit Kis reimagine the recently renovated American Hungarian Library as an inclusive space for rest, reading, and contemplation. The two artists fill the empty building with sculptural works, site-specific installations, and assemblages of books while actively playing with and occasionally defying its architectural structure. Their tongue-in-cheek references to brick walls and glass ceilings aim to question the existing heteropatriarchal systems of knowledge, power, and representation that dominate the cultural institutions of their motherland. 

Reflecting on the political outrage that unfolded in Hungary due to the publication of Fairyland is for Everyone (Meseország Mindenkié, Labrisz, 2020)—a children's book featuring fictional stories of marginalized queer, Roma, or disabled characters—the works of Ábel and Kis are guided by notions of tolerance, radical care, and collectivity. Their sculptural pieces playfully interact with the books featured in the show, which have been selected in collaboration with other artists, theorists, and NGOs to highlight the exhibition's thematic concerns and present a diverse range of authors. Visitors are encouraged to read or take selected books home from the exhibition.

Curated by Veronika Molnár

The program is supported by BuBu Arts, Sauska, and Agnes and Ivan Sanders.

Tamás Ábel is a Hungarian conceptual artist whose primary medium is glass. He graduated from Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest, Hungary, where his studio is currently based. Abel’s work deals with equality, tolerance, and the intangible through geometric forms and an array of colors. His works are of various scales, from small glass sculptures and mirror wall pieces to site- specific installations. Ábel’s works have been exhibited at the Corning Museum of Glass (Corning, NY, USA), the National Art Museum of China (Beijing, China), and Glasmuseum Lette (Coesfeld, Germany).

Judit Kis is an intermedia artist from Hungary who recently completed a studio residency at Residency Unlimited and Artist Alliance inc. in New York City. She received the ACAX – Leopold Bloom and Young Visual Art Award in 2020, and the Derkovits Art Grant in 2019, which showcased her work at the Kunsthalle Budapest. She studied fine art and curating at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in Budapest and the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London. Her performative videos and virtual diaries reflect on the experiences and traumas that shape our identities, personal boundaries, and behavioral patterns. Her practice combines digital content with installations of objects and often expands into participatory performances and community engagement.

Veronika Molnár is an independent curator and writer based in Budapest and Brooklyn. She received her MA in Art History from Hunter College in May 2021 as a Fulbright Fellow. During a yearlong internship in the Department of Media and Performance at The Museum of Modern Art, she assisted with organizing the exhibitions Shigeko Kubota: Liquid Reality and Adam Pendleton: Who Is Queen?. Molnár has held curatorial positions at carriage trade, Edward Ressle Gallery, Faur Zsofi Gallery, and FERi Gallery. Her essays, reviews, and interviews have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, MoMA Magazine, post, and Assemblage.

Upcoming programs include:

Friday, April 15, 4–8 PM: Open house  6:30 PM: Guided tour with curator and artists 

Guest artist: Jacob Kassay (RSVP)

Saturday, April 16, 4 PM: Performance by Judit Kis (RSVP)