Opening the Cage at "Hungría 74": Hungarian Artists in Argentina and Their Critical Take on the Dematerialization of Art Objects
Acta Academia Artium Vilnensis
Keywords:Centro de Arte y Communicación (CAYC), Hungría 74, Conceptual Art, cybernetics, systems art, dematerialisation, political oppression
In 1974, the exhibition Hungría 74 presented 24 artists from Hungary at the Centro de Arte y Communicación (CAYC) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. By the time, artists from both countries suffered political repressions of the dictatorships ruling their countries. Hungría 74 thus was one of the few occasions to interchange ideas. However, the artists from Hungary and Argentina did not first and foremost agree on their political stance. Rather, they were both preoccupied with the dematerialization of art objects. Among Western artist dematerialization was perceived as a rebellious act against the commodification of art objects on the market; it was also embraced as a positive effect of media societies facilitating participation of marginalized groups. However, Argentinian and Hungarian artists transformed the idea to their own means. Experiencing political oppressions, they understood that the loss of material presence was not merely positive. By contrast, it was connected to disappearance, forced exiles or invisible political surveillance. The works of Dóra Maurer, Tamás Hencze, István Haraszty, György Jovánovics presented at Hungría 74 reflect these different notions of dematerialization and offer a critical perspective on the broader political consequences of dematerializations in media societies developing worldwide since the 1970s.