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READY-MADE / RED-Y MADE – Tibor Csiky / Gábor Attalai




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Tuesday, 18 April 2023 to Friday, 9 June 2023


Tibor Csiky

Gábor Attalai

18 April – 9 June 2023

Vintage Galéria’s current exhibition presents a selection from Tibor Csiky's series titled Structures of Objective Reality (1973-74) and Gábor Attalai's series titled RED-Y MADE (1974). The two artists who both were aware of international tendencies of contemporary conceptual-, pop-, minimal- and mail art, but who also transformed these trends into individual local approaches, had a personal relationship from the 1960s. From the first half of the decade, they both regularly visited the Zuglói Kör [Zugló Cirlce] organized by Sándor Molnár, they both exhibited at Pál Petrigalla's flat, and in 1966 they presented their works at a joint exhibition in Sweden (Modern Nordisk Konst, Göteborg). From 1969, they regularly began to spend time at each other's apartments with Imre Bak, Tamás Hencze and István Nádler. At that time, according to Csiky's recollections, he had conversations with Attalai about "the limits of personal style" among other things,[1] and according to Attalai's recollections "It was Tibor Csiky who first drew his attention to the fact that photography would become »folk art«, and it is definitely worth working with it."[2] From 1972, the artists began to visit the lectures on astronomy and quantum mechanics of the Free University of the Tudományos Ismeretterjesztő Társulat [Society for Scientific Knowledge Dissemination], their "Rezeda Action" was also organized in 1973 through the discussion of the knowledge they had acquired there.[3] The immediacy of their relationship is well characterized by the pieces from Csiky's 1972 "mail-art action” addressed to Attalai, the postcard inscribed "Dead Ends of Our Future" completed with a Czechoslovak-made condom in gold coin-like packaging, and the postcard stating "Gábris, this is no bed of roses."

Csiky first sent his Structures of Objective Reality I-IV (1971) series to László Beke on the invitation of the Elképzelés [Imagination/Idea] project, and then in 1973 he began his series titled From the bus stop to the workers’ hostel. The colour slides counting up to 120 pieces – now missing – were presented at the Fészek Klub as part of the program titled Halfway On the Path of Human Life. The series, which Csiky also referred to as Háros structures in his notebooks, was created on a roughly half-kilometer long way “from the Háros utca stop of the no. 3 bus, through the two barriers to the workers’ hostel of the Háros Steel Sheet works.” In 1974, Csiky presented a selection of 46 pieces from the series completed with new elements at the Fiatal Művészek Klubja [Club of Young Artists], [4] which after the exhibition ended up in the collection of László Beke. The exhibition of Vintage Galéria presents a selection of this collection expanded to 49 pieces. Csiky – following his sculptural, descriptive approach and scientific interest – collected "objet trouvé"-type objects and photographic documents from the world around him, proceeding from the microcosm to the macrocosm, and then reframed them into collages. With his rather painterly approach, by overpainting the surfaces with red, Attalai appropriated an Artforum article on Marcel Duchamp's ready-mades, as well as the bottle rack bought by his daughter in Paris in the 1990s. Attalai later recalled this as follows: "I could cheat and say that in the spirit of a philosophical fantasy I could also – almost – repaint the world into a red-y made, but megalomania did not come to my mind. I was interested in other aspects of the red-y mades, namely whether the ready-made adventure of Duchamp's perception can be continued..."[5] Although their artistic approaches were different, both Csiky and Attalai transformed found objects into new phenomena through their choices, selections and coverings, so their works that developed in parallel from the 1960s complement and counterpoint each other well. 

Gábor Attalai (1934-2011) visual artist, textile designer. From the 1960s onwards, Gábor Attalai became an important figure of the “underground” art scene and of the “official” applied art scene in Hungary. He completed his studies at the Hungarian College of Applied Arts in 1958, and in addition to his applied art work as a textile designer for the Iparművészeti Vállalat [Applied Arts Company]. His felt sculptures and spatial textiles, in which folk art references often appeared, are comparable to Robert Morris’s works, and also can be linked to the international tendencies of minimal art. His work as an art writer and art organizer is also significant, e.g. he did not take part in the I. IPARTERV exhibition in 1968, because he was busy organizing the exhibition titled Textil falikép 68 (Ernst Museum, Budapest, 1968), which can be considered the antecedent of the Fal- és Tértextil Biennále in Szombathely. In addition, he joined international art networks in the late 1960s and began mail correspondence. He had connections with Joseph Beuys, Jasper Johns, Robert Indiana, Christo, Gilbert and George, Donald Judd, and Harald Szeemann, among others. From the second half of the 1960s, his conceptual practice became more and more important, he carried out actions, objects, graphics, and photographic works, sometimes saturated with political references (e.g. Negative Star, 1970–71). He began his RED-Y MADE series created with found objects, reproductions, and employing the colour red around 1972, based on Malevich’s monochrome paintings and Duchamp’s ready-mades. From the 1980s onwards, he gradually withdrew from the public, and his oeuvre, which can be linked to body art, land art, mail art and project art, is getting rediscovered recently, resulting his works getting acquisitioned by such significant collections as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Hungarian National Gallery and the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, among others.

Tibor Csiky (1932-1989) visual artist, sculptor. Like other neo-avant-garde artists of the period, such as Gyula Pauer, Tibor Csiky began his artistic career as a self-taught sculptor. His artistic practice was determined by his interest in natural sciences, his studies in physics and mathematics between 1950 and 1953, and then at the Faculty of Humanities until 1956. He created his first sculptures and then his reliefs at the beginning of the 1960s. In the beginning, he mainly created his sculptures using different trees, such as cherry, walnut, mahogany or oak, and shaped their surface by sanding and carving. From 1967 to 1971, he also created ink and pencil drawings by mixing the techniques, and he also related the essence of his graphics to his reliefs. In his works, he researched the material itself and the possibilities of geometry and movement inherent in its structure, as well as the optical process unfolding in the viewer, triggered by the sight of both organic, yet processed surfaces, during which an active relationship and interaction between the viewer and the work of art are created. From 1971 to 1974, Csiky created conceptual works featuring texts and photographs, and then from the end of the 1970s, he had the opportunity to cast metal and switched to the use of materials such as bronze or aluminium. From the mid-1980s, he painted and coloured the surface of his sculptures and reliefs. His works made with a constructivist approach can also be linked to structuralism and minimal art. Csiky’s works were exhibited in numerous solo and group shows, and a retrospective exhibition of his works was organized by the Hungarian National Gallery in 1994. His works can be found in the collections of the Ludwig Museum in Aachen, the Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest and the Neue Galerie in Aachen, among others.


[1] Tibor Csiky: Curriculum Vitae. In: László Százados (ed.): Tibor Csiky (1932–1989) – sculptor – life-work exhibition. Exhibition catalogue. Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest, 1994, 238.
[2] Dávid Fehér: A negatív csillag – Megjegyzések Attalai Gábor konceptuális művészetéhez egy kamarakiállítás ürügyén – Második rész. Balkon, 2011/2, 4.
[3] László Százados: Structures of Objective Reality In: Tibor Csiky: Photoworks 1973–1975. Vintage Galéria, Budapest, 2007, without page number.
[4] László Beke: Imagination/Idea – The Beginning of Hungarian Conceptual Art – The László Beke Collection, 1971. JRP Editions – tranzit, 2015.
[5] Mintha egy bestiárium képei közelednének – Attalai Gáborral beszélget Kelecsényi László Sámuel. Balkon, 1994/5, 15.

Venue ( Address ): 

1053 Budapest, Magyar utca 26.

Vintage Galéria , Budapest

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