Little Warsaw - Naming You
Since 1999, the two Budapest-based Hungarian artists András Gálik and Bálint Havas have realized joint art projects under the name Little Warsaw. In films, performances, and installations, they explore history and its interpretations, the collective consciousness and established visual languages and traditions. The analysis of society’s engagement with history is a crucial factor in their work; the role of the artist as a producer of images, objects, or situations that are embedded in, or illustrate, a (historical) context is up for debate, as is the reception of works of art as a dynamic process (one that is subject to changing sociopolitical realities).
One preferred strategy Little Warsaw use to generate (new) collective awareness of what has faded into obscurity or was never perceived in the first place is the re- or novel contextualization of monuments and artistic artifacts. The displacement or spatial—and hence contextual—transfer is one of their preferred methods whereas these temporary interventions always leave the physical integrity of the object untouched.
Their contribution to the Hungarian pavilion at the 2003 Venice Biennale was the temporary union of the famous Bust of Nefertiti at the Egyptian Museum, Berlin, and a bronze body the artists had manufactured in Budapest (The Body of Nefertiti, 2003). The historic and the contemporary sculpture were joined for no more than a few hours in a closed ceremony at the museum; in the exhibition, the artists presented the (headless) body along with a film documenting the artistic intervention at the heart of their project.
Isolation Exercise (2005), a remake of the eponymous performance the Hungarian artist Tamás Szentjóby created in 1972, and Spiel der Wandlungen (2010), a restage of a performance by Jochen Gerz from 1972 are examples of the reenactments and reconstructions of works of art in which Little Warsaw examine the reception of historic pieces in a contemporary context and the significance of the co-presence of artist and audience.
András Gálik (b. 1970) and Bálint Havas (b. 1971) live and work in Budapest.
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