Multi-Linear Subtlety: Gerhes Gábor at acb

Gerhes Gábor’s exhibition Sound of Song- God, Homeland, Enemy at acb Gallery presents a vast array of works in all media: painting, photography, sculpture, video.  However, rather than looking at the show as a collection of disparate works, I believe it should be viewed as an installation with both comic and sinister undertones.  While some of his past shows have left me scratching my head, the press release in English by the gallery have helped make visible many things which would certainly be lost in translation.  Opening just before the politically charged October 23rd weekend, Gerhes’s works overtly, and often subtly poke at the current state of Hungarian politics in relation to both the arts and the Hungarian national identity.   For instance, the press release points out,

The Series entitled Every Image is Enemy addresses the relationship between art and cultural politics.  Each piece of the series is a reconstruction of an abstract painting that appeared in the caricatures of Ludas Matyi (the official humour magazine of the Kádár Era), which aimed to mock the exhibitions of the day.  Abstraction was considered by cultural politics as the “Entarte Kunst” of the era, whose contemptibleness was periodically impressed upon the masses by the caricatures of this satirical seemingly (but not actually) opposition-oriented magazine.  Gerhes’ series focuses on the special and hidden mechanisms of constraining artistic freedom through the means of cultural politics.

The show has a nice rhythm, but coming from a country where political satirist Stephen Colbert holds rallies for thousands at the nation’s capital and artists such as Paul McCarthy exhibit sculptures of George Bush fucking pigs, sometimes I wish the volume was turned up just a bit.

Gerhes Gábor’s Sound of Song- God, Homeland, Enemy 2011 October 21 – November 18 at acb Gallery