Living Collection

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Living Collection

Building B, C, D - 17 October 2019. - 26 January 2020.



Unlike at our temporary shows, which are usually arranged in one exhibition space, at the Hungarian National Gallery’s new exhibition called Living Collection, visitors are invited to an exhibition tour, during which they can explore virtually every nook and cranny of the museum. The last stop of the contemporary reflections on museum sculptures series will not only reinvent the usual milieu of permanent exhibitions, but thanks to its lively and interactive character will also allow an insight into the work carried out in the museum. It will present artworks from the museum’s storage rooms that are rarely seen and seek to engage visitors in a dialogue.

Between September 2017 and January 2019, ten exhibitions were staged in the rooms of the permanent exhibitions of the Hungarian National Gallery. The idea for this project was prompted by the fact that barely a hundred or so of the works in the Hungarian National Gallery’s rich collection of nineteenth- and twentieth-century sculptures (out of a total of almost 5,000 items) are regularly on public display. Our aim was to breathe new life into some of these sculptures, and to make them more visible with the help of contemporary artists. The project also ties in with on-going research into the classical influences in contemporary art (sculpture), especially the Hungarian sculptural traditions that survive in present-day works. Each of the guest artists was asked to select one work, or ensemble of works, from the collection of the Department of Sculpture, from among those that are kept in storage or in rooms not accessible to the general public. Contemporary works and the selected pieces from the museum’s collection that served as “sources” were presented in a series of “guerrilla exhibitions”, each lasting a month, and always displayed in a different part of the permanent exhibitions.


Ádám Szabó: Bulldozer, 2012, marble, toy, 20×70×60 cm © photo: Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest


Gábor Fülöp: Flora, 2017, wood, 160×40×40 cm, © photo: Museum of Fine Arts Budapest


Villő Turcsány: Goliath 5.1. ‘M.A.’, Goliath Heads Series, 2003, patterned form, cast concrete, pigment 25×13×18 cm © photo: Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest


Malvina Antal: Iteration, 2018, papier-mâché, height: 507 cm, diameter: 40 cm © photo: Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest


József Gaál: Soldier III., 2014, wood, leather and metal, 29×18×23 cm © photo: József Gaál


Áron Zsolt Majoros: Barrier, 2017, metal, 90×35×45 cm, © photo: Áron Zsolt Majoros


István Drabik: Stepper, 2016, welded iron, 82.5×34×23 cm © photo: Drabik István


Ildikó Bakos: Stag, 1995, ost-wax cast bronze, 49×12×97 cm © photo: Bakos Ágnes ― Tihanyi Bence


József Szurcsik: Flag III., 2006, steel, 87×27×27 cm © photo: Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest


Judit Rita Rabóczky: Queen, 2017, mixed media, 172×80×40 cm © photo: Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

The present show is a summary and the last event of the project. The ten pairs of sculptures are presented at the same time, in their given places. The thrill is provided by the “sudden” reappearance of sculptures; from the storage room to the exhibition space – demonstrating that in most cases, an artwork in storage is simply going through a temporary phase, and its status can change at any time. On the other hand, the contemporary works engage the sculptures from the past in a new kind of conversation, enriching them with new dimensions. This discourse takes place within the walls of the permanent collection, where the works already present can join in with their own contributions.

As a result of this dialogue, visitors to the gallery can take part in an interactive artistic event. Walking around in the permanent exhibition from the ground floor to the third floor using a map, they can explore pairs of sculptures and installations set up at different points of the Living Collection.

Curator: Judit Szeifert art historian, Head of the Department of Sculptures and Medals
Contemporary artists reflecting on the sculptures: Malvina Antal, Ildikó Bakos, István Drabik, Gábor Fülöp, József Gaál, Áron Zsolt Majoros, Judit Rita Rabóczky, Ádám Szabó, József Szurcsik, Villő Turcsány


The map showing the place of the artworks can be found here.

Full price ticket: 3200 HUF

Full price ticket: 3200 HUF

Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 am – 5:45 pm, closed on Mondays

Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 am – 5:45 pm, closed on Mondays

Ten pairs of sculptures, displayed in different parts of the permanent exhibitions

Ten pairs of sculptures, displayed in different parts of the permanent exhibitions

Living Collection

17 October 2019. - 26 January 2020.

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