Anxiety of the Roma Artist


23.04 - 16.05

Participating artists: Norbert Oláh

Supported by the Municipality of Budapest, co-financed by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, Goethe-Institut

Norbert Oláh builds a large brick wall in front of the former building of the Roma Parliament. The bricks have clearly legible words on them, representing concepts and perceptions that are ingrained and instilled into us. These comprise the wall of anxiety. The choice of venue is an open critique of power. The building was repossessed arbitrarily by the government, justifying this action with their promise of establishing the headquarters of a Roma cultural mega-institute in its place. The banner behind the wall bears the artist’s text titled “Anxiety of the Roma Artist”, in which he makes every effort to put into words in an objective and expressive manner, refraining from literary embellishments, the utter confusion felt by an artist, in this case, an artist of Roma roots. He struggles with a plethora of contradictions instilled in him by his own community, the society, the media, life as an artist, the art scene, politics, his school, and so on. The text is written in third person singular, indicating the artist’s desire for keeping distance and having a broader perspective. 

The installation is the emotional manifestation of this anxiety. The wall is the isolation, the inner limitations, the boundaries one so desires to jump or break through, and the authority, the measures deciding over and confining the individual. As a meme, the brick wall is present in public discourse, to some it means keeping out the danger, while to others it means confinement or ruthlessness. The bricks are minuscule elements that are worth nothing in themselves, but sticking together they are strong.


Norbert Oláh (Hatvan, 1990) is a painter, holder of the Béla Gruber Prize. In high school he studied animation in Eger; in 2010 he continued his studies in painting at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts. He lives in the 8thDistrict of Budapest, where he finds most of his subject matter. 

The installation can be visited at any time in compliance with the COVID-19 restrictions.