29.09- 29.10

Somewhere in Europe

Venue: Galeria Centralis, Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives
1051 Budapest, Arany János u. 32.

In the framework of the program series What’s Left?, the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives organizes the exhibition Somewhere in Europe that, following the central theme of the OFF-Biennale, will focus on the utopistic community of Gaudiopolis.

Gaudiopolis or ‘The City of Joy’ was a Children’s Republic, founded in the postwar years in Budapest by Lutheran Pastor Gábor Sztehlo. In the aftermath of WW2, hundreds of children had to face the trauma of losing their parents or homes to the war. Gaudiopolis provided not only shelter to these children, but a place where they could become “independent, self-conscious, practically trained and theoretically qualified citizens striving for a better self-understanding and self-criticism”. A realized utopia, it functioned in the spirit of hope, trust, compassion, generosity, responsibility, perseverance, courage, and care until its nationalization by the Communist regime in 1950. The story of the Children’s Republic was immortalized in the film Somewhere in Europe (1948, dir. Géza Radványi), in which many of the children of the community also took part as actors.

While the short period between 1945 and 1949 was plagued by traumas and a deep sense of crisis and chaos, it was ripe with possibilities as well: various models of democracy were still in play amidst the ongoing social and political changes that would eventually lead to the power of totalitarian regimes in the Eastern part of the continent. Gaudiopolis was one of the many smaller communities in Hungary that set out to build a better world on the ruins of the previous one. The exhibition will present the history of Gaudiopolis along with similar initiatives that most often were born out of the courage, perseverance and enthusiasm of private individuals (or smaller groups) who were driven by their beliefs in a just and equal society. Individuals who tried to reform the political discourse, the cultural life and the education of their country, and who even though most of the times considered themselves as leftist, were later pursued and persecuted by the Communist regime.

The research and exhibition project includes both archival materials and works of contemporary art reflecting on the ideas and realities of a Children’s Republic, but will also explore the period of the 2nd Republic of Hungary.

The exhibition is a cooperation of Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives and OFF-Biennale Association.

The main cooperation partner of this year's OFF Biennale is GfZK – Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig. The cooperation project is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation.

partners: Gabor Sztehlo Foundation for the Support of Children and Youth; Lutheran Museum, Budapest; Lutheran Archives, Budapest; Hungarian Pedagogical Society, Raoul Wallenberg Association

special thanks to 
all the children and teachers from Cseppkő Children’s Home and “Fészek” Waldorf School, Solymár
and Andor Andrási, András Beck, Miklós Czenthe, Péter Csörgő, Ferenc Fábri, András Ferkai, Zsófia Frazon, Bálint Füzéki, Bernadett Grászli, Jenő Hadházy, Andrea Holzherr, Zsuzsanna Kádár, Dr. István Kenyeres, Botond Kertész, Zsuzsa László, Zoltán Lévai, Éva Makai, Zsuzsanna Merényi, Anna Mérei, Zita Nagy, Júlia Orbán, Ørskov Frederik, Gyula Pataki, Tibor Sándor, Szabolcs Szirony, Miklós Tamási, László Trencsényi, Luisa Von Richthofen

Participating artists: Architecture Uncomfortable Workshop; Binelde Hyrcan; Dávid Mikulán

Participating curators: Katalin Székely

curator assistant: Csaba Gál
research: Katalin Dobó, Csaba Gál, Enikő Gyureskó, Judit Hegedüs, Anna Mazanik, András Mink, Zsolt K. Horváth, Katalin Székely, Péter Szokolai, Örs Tari, Zsuzsa Zádori

opening hours: Tuesday–Sunday: 10 am – 6 pm

Related programs:

Guardian Angels - A conference dedicated to the memory of Gábor Sztehlo and the Guardian Angels helping him - 03.10 2:00 am
Guided tour with Júlia Király at the exhibitions Somewhere in Europe and Rebels - 28.10 2:00 am
Somewhere in Europe, opening event - 29.09 2:00 am
Guided tour for students - Somewhere in Europe, Gaudiopolis - 09.10 2:00 am
Curatorial guided tour in the exhibition "Somewhere in Europe" - 29.10 2:00 am
"The Old Doctor of Warsaw for the children" - 25.10 2:00 am