Tuned In – The coming together of the Hungarian National Gallery and the 70-year-old Budapest Puppet Theatre

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Tuned In – The coming together of the Hungarian National Gallery and the 70-year-old Budapest Puppet Theatre

Building C - 3 March – 18 October 2020

Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Budapest Puppet Theatre, the exhibition mounted in the spaces of the Hungarian National Gallery’s permanent collection will display puppets that defined and represent the past and present of the Puppet Theatre, bringing alive the much-loved figures of well-known stories, folk tales and legends from our childhood.

The exhibited figures that shaped the fine art image of the Puppet Theatre the most in the past seventy years, were selected from more than 20,000 puppets kept in the storage of the Puppet Theatre, which makes this show truly special. Some of the puppets will have their public debut, while others have been restored specifically for this show with the hope that they will be featured in other temporary exhibitions in the future.

Of the dramatic arts, puppetry has the strongest link with the visual arts since the characters – the puppets themselves – are works of fine art. Puppet design is an applied art genre since the puppets are made to suit the director’s concept, the story and the hands of the actors, while it is also an autonomous genre creating a world of its own and shaping the appearance of the characters through the imagination, taste and style of the designer. The acting life of a puppet lasts only as long as the play in which it is brought to life, but it can be admired as a work of fine art even decades after its last appearance on stage.

Puppet designers whose work can be seen include artists such as Margit Balla, László Bod, Szilárd Boráros, Vera Bródy, Éva Gábor, Károly Hoffer, Iván Koós, Lili Ország, Mihály Schéner and József Szűr Szabó.

The puppets are exhibited in the spaces of the Hungarian National Gallery’s collections of 19th and 20th Century Paintings, Contemporary Arts and International Art after 1800, in a way that they can each engage in a dialogue with a painting, allowing the two genres to comment on each other atmospherically or historically.

This subjective selection will give visitors an insight into the periods of the Puppet Theatre and the work of its designers with the hope that it will bring them closer to puppetry.



Using the motto above, the concept of the puppet exhibition titled Tuned In was developed to make puppetry equally enjoyable for children and adults.


Curator: Gábor Palya (Budapest Puppet Theatre)
Consultant: Edina Ellinger (Budapest Puppet Theatre)
Exhibition coordination: Anna Zsófia Kovács,  Adrienn Prágai, László Százados, Judit Szeifert (Hungarian National Gallery)
Exhibition organisation: Éva Bada, Boróka Pénzes (Hungarian National Gallery)
Help in exhibition organisation: Ágnes Pablényi (Hungarian National Gallery)
Museum education: Éva Bada, Beatrix Csiszár, Boróka Pénzes (Hungarian National Gallery)
Graphic design: Ágnes Megyeri (Hungarian National Gallery)
Photography: Vera Éder (Budapest Puppet Theatre), Csanád Szesztay (Hungarian National Gallery)

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

A temporary show will be organised at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts almost simultaneously with the puppet theatre in the Hungarian National Gallery. The Workshop of the State Puppet Theatre – A Shelter for Prohibited Artists presents the works of artists who found a creative refuge in the State Puppet Theatre’s painting workshop led by József Jakovits from the 1950s. The curator of the exhibition is Marianna Kolozsváry, art historian in the Hungarian National Gallery.

Tuned In – The coming together of the Hungarian National Gallery and the 70-year-old Budapest Puppet Theatre

3 March – 18 October 2020

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