Collectively Carried Out

Tamás Péli: Birth


08.06 - 26.09

BTM - Budapest History Museum

Participating artists: Tamás Péli

Participating curators: Anna Lujza Szász; Eszter György; Teri Szűcs

Invited experts: Árpád Bak, Gábor Bernáth, Mária Bogdán, Marina Csikós, Ágnes Daróczi, Boglárka Fedorkó, Tímea Junghaus, Éva Kalla, Kálmán Káli-Horváth, Éva Kovács, Edit Kőszegi, István Gábor Molnár, Tímea Petrik, Jenő André Raatzsch, Emese Révész, Melinda Rézműves, Enikő Róka, Nikolett Suha, Péter Szuhay

Installation: Tamás Kaszás 

Graphic design: Krisztián Kristóf 

Sponsors: Co-financed by the European Union’s Creative Europe Programme, Budapest Municipality, Goethe-Institut Budapest

Partner: BTM - Budapest History Museum

Titled Birth, Tamás Péli’s enormous piece is a work of art of unparalleled significance in many respects. Painted on fibreboard, the panel painting of nearly 41 square metres was completed in 1983 by Tamás Péli with the contribution of his disciples – including István Szentandrássy. Birth was made on the Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County Council’s commission and it was installed on the wall of the refectory of the children’s home in the Andrássy mansion of Tiszadob, also known as the City of Children. When the mansion was reconstructed into a hotel in 2011, the panneau was removed and hauled in four pieces to the András Jósa Museum in Nyíregyháza. It was stored in the museum’s corridor, covered – safe, but unseen. 

Realized as a collaboration between OFF-Biennale and the Budapest History Museum, the purpose of the exhibition Collectively Carried Out is more than rendering the painting visible: the goal is to introduce the painting into the collective public space – generated by discussions and interpretations. 

Tamás Péli’s Birth-panneau arranges the figures of several interwoven big narratives into a single composition. The centre of the piece is an imaginary-dreamed Roma creation myth, surrounded on the one hand by episodes recounted through symbolic figures of Hungarian Roma history, and on the other hand by figures of a new genesis – the emerging Hungarian Roma intelligentsia. In this triple birth, a people, a historical narrative, and through its creators, a culture is brought to life, and the point of intersection, the manifestation of this triple genesis is Péli’s gigantic piece.   

Another goal of the collectively carried out act is to initiate a dialogue about the final placement of the work – which has been tucked away in storage since 2011 – in a space where not only the painting can regain its visibility and visitability, worthily of its art-historical value, but also the historical / civil rights narrative it embodies, and of which it is one of the fundamental and founding pieces.

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