Fresh Meat: Friss 2012 at KogArt

The group show Friss 2012 empáthia/manipuláció at KogArt is the 9th installation of the annual show that combines the work of graduating Hungarian students with that of other European art students.  This year the exhibition included work of 7 artists from the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste in Zurich.

The curators Szabó Noémi and Mészáros Zsolt state in the program,

As always, our goal was to provide our audience with ways to approach and understand those issues, methods and trends that interest the youngest generation of artists. The two key notions that provided our criteria of selection, empathy and manipulation, are manifestly there in contemporary art. It is with the help of this pair of concepts that this exhibition explores the complex relations of providing assistance vs. exerting pressure, of understanding, vs. making a conquest, of the other. We wanted to see the function of the empathetic (sympathetic, understanding, tolerant) and the manipulative (controlling, manoeuvring) attitude in the concrete works of young artists, as well as in their individual relations to the whole of art and our globalized world. Conspicuously, the works selected also reflect the international trends and current interests of contemporary art, while each tries to add its own local or personal layers of meaning. We, the organizers also carried out an experiment, and the results were surprising even for us. To name but one: no one seems to be innocent.

I do think that there is however a danger when artists, especially young artists, walk the line between manipulation and empathy.  Manipulated empathy can easily be interpreted as apathy.  I also think that there is also a danger in dealing with universal imagery and iconography as it is very difficult to make this “friss” or fresh; it often ends up as banality.

This is also an issue I have with the Budapest art scene in general as the young artists graduate from the academy every year and are quickly embraced and flaunted by the art industry looking for fresh meat.  Is there a point when overexposure causes an artist to lose their freshness?  I greatly enjoyed Melkovics Tamás’s wonderful sculpture at the Academy show less than half a kilometer away down Andrássy roughly a month ago.  The same can be said for Tranker Kata’s lovely tree installations seen at Viltin in early August.  However, being given a second helping so soon after the original viewing made them seem a little stale.  Is this manipulated freshness?

Friss 2012 empáthia/manipuláció 2012 August 25 – October 14 at KogArt


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