Artpool Art Research Center, Budapest

Article by László Tölgyes for the V2_East meeting (1996)

Artpool, founded in 1979 by György Galántai and Julia Klaniczay was an attempt to create an alternative art institute, one that would make room for the new trends in art. They established Artpool at a time when art forms out of keeping with the official cultural policy were denied access to the public. Subsequent to the political changes of 1989, Artpool, which already had an international reputation, was officially recognized and in 1992 the Artpool Art Research Center opened to the public with funding from the Budapest Municipal Council.

The Artpool Art Research Centers Agenda

1. Organizing exhibitions and art events
- The presentation of new trends in art, and of new artistic tools and resources (Intermedia, Network, Internet, performance, installation, artists bookwork, sound poetry, etc.)
- The presentation of possible antecedents and links (actions, happenings, fluxus, mail art, experimental film, video, etc.)
- Organizing, and providing with the essential technological background, projects that might generate fresh ideas.
- Cooperating with other cultural and art institutions, initiating joint projects.

2. Education
- Lectures on the history of art, with special reference to the current research being done at Artpool; special classes for university students (by appointment).
- Cooperation with university faculties, including the practical training for university students.
- Publishing anthologies about current topics in art as educational aids.

3. Public documentation, archives, library, periodical collections, sound and video archives (reading room service)
- Regularly enlarging the collection by research and collecting.
Artpool also manages several unique private collections which are stored on its premises, and is responsible for making them available to the public.

4. Research
- Art research, covering the period from the end of the 1950s, is focused on discovering new sources, on preparing handbooks and research aids, and on initiating research in the less-known genres of contemporary art. Artpool supports research with scholarships, and with the translation into Hungarian of theoretical works and works of reference, and / or their publication.

The Artpool archive and library house primarily documents relating to the Hungarian avant-garde art movements of the 70s and 80s, as well as sources on the new international art trends of the past 30 years.

Special collections for research at Artpool are: Fluxus, performance, sound poetry, visual poetry, artists bookwork, mail art, artists stamps, artists postcards, artists periodicals, copy art, computer art, video art, the Hungarian non-authorized art of the 60s, 70s, and 80s (including alternative art scenes and groups, contemporary music, underground art magazines, etc.). A sound, a video, and a slide archive as well as access to internet are also available to researchers

Art events at Artpool from 1992 to 1995

1992 (approximately 25 exhibitions and programs)
- Presentations on the conceptual background of some as yet lesser-known art forms: Computer Stamp Images; The Slide as Medium; Architectural Visions; Fax and Electrographics; Fluxus Flags, an event of the Budapest Autumn Festival; etc.
- A historical overview of some of the most significant of the avant-garde exhibitions of the 70s: the Mirror exhibition in the Balatonboglr Chapel Studio in 1973; Texts, the first Hungarian visual poetry exhibition (likewise in 1973); the In the Spirit of Marcel Duchamp symposium held at Etvs University, Budapest in 1978 to commemorate Duchamps 100th birthday.

1993 (approximately 20 exhibitions and programs)
- On the Fluxus movement, in the form of one-man shows and group exhibitions, meetings, art events, and performances with the participation of well-known Fluxus artists such as Geoffrey Hendricks, Dick Higgins, George Maciunas, Jackson MacLow, Yoko Ono, Ben Vautier, Miklos Erdely, Tamas St. Auby, Endre Tot, etc.
- Lectures related to the exhibitions were given by art historians Laszlo Beke and Eva Korner, the German theoretician Rene Block, artist Gyorgy Galantai, et al.
- The presentation of new trends in art: Art Communication Projects of the 80s, Electronic Communication Happening between Budapest and Vienna through Fax and Video Phone, etc.

1994 (20 exhibitions, lectures, shows)
- Based on the results of research done on the Fluxus, exhibition of the works of some outstanding Hungarian artists of the 70s and 80s, with a special emphasis on Miklos Erdely, whose manuscripts, video, and sound documents had finally became available.
- In the course of a series of lectures entitled "onsszeszerelo delutanok" (Self-Assembling Afternoons), Miklos Erdelys friends, colleagues, and followers recalled their memories of him, discussed their former ideas and plans, and interpreted Erdelys contributions.
- During the Budapest Autumn Festival, a three-night Polyphonix Sound Poetry Festival a genre akin to Fluxus and performance with the participation of significant artists from outside Hungary: Bernard Heidsieck, Julien Blaine, Ernst Jandl, et al.

- Lectures, video presentations and discussions with the participation of the artists involved on the antecedents and history of performance. Lectures by Laszlo Beke, F. Laszlo Foldenyi, Peter Gyorgy, Endre Szkarosi, and others.
- A festival called Video-Expedition in the Performance-World, presenting the work of more than 300 performance artists from 20 countries.
- As part of the international Horizontal Radio project organized by Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria), several hours of Artpool Radio broadcast on 23 radio stations throughout the world.
- Artpool is creating a Home Page of information, documents and projects for access via the Internet.

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