Opening: February 11, 2015. 15.00
The exhibition will be on view: February 11, 2015- March 6, 2015.
Tibor Balogh was born in Fehérgyarmat, Hungary in 1975. He is the first Roma artist to have graduated from the Hungarian University of Fine Arts.
Testifying to a full mastery of his art, Balogh’s diploma piece – a series of copper etchings– blends his childhood memories with scenes from a different chapter in his life: it shows fragments of the 8th district of the capital, which has the highest percentage of Roma population in the city, and which gave home to Balogh during his University years. The most significant piece of this series is the Dance of the Old Roma Woman with the Angel, which was featured in several publications.
After graduation, his first important appearance was in Műcsarnok’s exhibition, the Hidden Holocaust, in 2004. This was in fact the first occasion that Roma artists in Hungary entered the official sphere of contemporary art. Balogh created an installation for the apse of the building, and left his work untitled. The cold piles of bricks and the Romani songs of the Holocaust, which hover like a prayer over the installation, provoke a great number of associations, and Balogh did not wish to block or channel the flow of ideas that the spectacle was to generate. Two bed-sized piles of bricks form the core of the installation. The distance between them is the same as that of the beds at the Tiszadob children’s home, where the artist lived as a child. The two piles suggest beds in a deserted nursery, ones that will never be warm again, what with their material and the everlasting absence of the sleepers. Bricks, which were once used to build chimneys, and which thus symbolize the death of thousands of Roma, now form graves. Installed in the apse, the work is made complete with the Holocaust songs painted on the wall, whose pain and bitterness add to the ideas communicated.
Balogh created yet another provocative work for the Holocaust exhibition, a booth with the dimensions of 1 x 1 x 2.3 m. Illuminated by a bare light bulb, the walls of the booth were plastered with shocking documents, articles and photos referencing the Holocaust of the Roma and their ongoing discrimination. Stepping inside, it was impossible to ignore the evidence of their harrowing fate, no matter where one turned. Outside the booth, there were small test tubes with instructions pasted on the wall. Viewers could take a test tube inside the booth for an unlimited amount of time, collect their tears in the test tube and sign their name if they wanted to. The test tube was to be passed on to a small table through an opening, whence the artists took it, and hung it up around the booth, among the other “raindrops.” A hundred people took part in the action that preceded the exhibition, and the event was reminiscent of a Roma wake. This installation ensured the artist a spot at the First Roma Pavilion of the 52nd Venice Contemporary Art Biennale. Balogh was the graphic artist of the Amaro Drom Roma Magazine from 2007 until the closing down of the Amaro Drom Paper in 2010. In 2010 his billboard design entitled Hungipsy received 1st Prize at the Arc Poster Contest.
In April, 2013, after several years of working in remote isolation from the public, Tibor Balogh exhibited his large colourful canvasses for the International Roma Day. His paintings carry the same virtuosity that his graphics radiate, and at the same time suggest that the true visions of the artist unfold in the colourful and visionary ambience of oil painting. His canvasses combine elements of his personal memories, photo details, portraits and depictions of Roma figures with his naturalistic observations of the rural and urban environment. The exhibition entitled Balogh/Amaro/Line presents these secretly created and hidden paintings, together with the most outstanding graphics designed by the artist for the cover of Amaro Drom Magazine.
Köszönet/Special thanks to: Magyarországi Roma Parlament, Dr. Pánczél Márta, Zsigó Jenő, Friss Kata.
Image: Tibor Balogh: Budapest I. /2011, oil, canvass, 140x120 cm
Támogató/Sponsors: International Visegrad Fund