Bukta Imre

bukta_imre-1Gunshot, then window crashing. A surprising show at an exhibition. Below the glass ceiling of the Műcsarnok, the number one exhibition venue of Budapest, a replica of a typical country house, standard in the sixties. I walk around the tiny house for the third time. On one side, behind the curtain, an old woman is peeking out. At her neighbour, glass clattering: the window was broken by a stone thrown. Turning the corner, at the window of a conceited fancy blue wall a man waves his mobile phone. Opposite him a gunshot. Scenes of the „Another Hungary” exhibition. I am just setting forth when the creator of the „house” appears, a humble man of gray beard, bringing a pot of red fresh geranium. He carefully places it to the old woman’s window, changing the withered one.

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We waited a year after the exhibition of his life work to visit him at Mezőszemere. The autumn sowing turns green at huge lands, the rich soil is browning dark. At the Main Street unplastered houses, two rows of brick and a layer of adobe. We meet the postman at the deserted street, dog runs behind her. „Do you see the brown fences? A thatched house. You can find him there.”

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There is no row of ready-painted pictures. All items are packed. Only one painting is on the wall. We are just afraid of not seeing the familiar green-rusty-ocher colours with the flaming red. „This is still unfinished. I am painting a series of the icons of my grandmother.”

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„I just finished a video installation, so I put away any others. The Vörösmarthy Theater of Székesfehérvár will put on a stage-play, titled ‘Master Class’. It is an imaginary conversation: on the eve of the Day of Music, Stalin and Zhdanov, his culture politician are talking and drinking with Prokofyev and Shostakowitch. Next day both young composer will be sentenced to death.

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The director, György Cserhalmi visited my exhibition and he decided to ask me to design the sets. I really enjoyed it. I asked some of the villagers to take part in this work. Helping kindly on the recording, they will poke their heads from behind the ’prison bars’ ”.

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He is preparing an exhibition of „The master and his apprentice”. He shows some engravings. „It is a mistake to think that just anyone can be an artist after graduating. When I was 18, I made linocuts, and at age 22 I already had exhibitions. Besides the pictures of my student I will present my early works. In this drawing you can see the start of the abstraction. It needs a restoration, it is torn, I tore it. I have no idea, why.

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That time I started to deal with the ’land art’. They did not rely my long hair and my beard. My poor mother had heard a lot about me, but only until one day, when the ’Heves megyei hírlap’, the county newspaper reported my exhibition. For then, I was forgiven. Yeah, if he is an artist, it’s OK.”

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„In the eighties I worked at a screen-printing workshop in Budapest. We pressed T-shirts and labels for jeans. Punk was trendy that time. We kept ourselves and we had enough time to do art. These screen prints and lithographs were made that time.”

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„The change of the political regime did not mean anything to me.” After two decades, for personal reasons, he moved back home to his village, where everything has changed. The agriculture, ensuring the village’s livelihood before, wasted away. A new look of the earth appeared: apathy, strange gossips, weird plants, clear-cut groves… a land of mysteries’.

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Attractive countryside? It is hard to believe. There must be a reason, why an artists’ colony was developing around him, an artistic-intellectual workshop. Artists moved to his next-door, apparently with different motivation. They work as they used to, they have mature style. They are independent artists, respecting the freedom of thoughts; they are defending the environment and their norms together, making the invisible visible.





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