Mark Fridvalszki

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Opening speech by Patrick Urwyler
Solo show 9,81 at Art+Text Gallery, Budapest, 2017

I usually do not open exhibitions outside of Chimera-Project Gallery for artists who are in my program. Who would believe an art historian speaking with great enthusiasm about an artist that he represents in his own commercial gallery. Actually, I believe that it is good and crucial to show what you are standing for – thats what I try, so lets see.

As recently I am working on a publication for Fridvalszki, at the moment my focus on his work is quiet intense. That’s why I decided to take this chance and reflect about what I find striking in Fridvalszki’s work.
This intention goes very well along with the fact that Fridvalszki wants to uses this pop up exhibition at Art+Text Budapest to make a synthesis of his recent artistic practice. So, I see this exhibition as a kind of spatial time capsule, in which Fridvalszki synthesizes and records his most important ideas and interests seen in exhibitions from the past three years.

You might think now covering three years in one speech? Well I am pretty sure Mark would be more satisfied with 4,55 Billion years when dealing with his work. The geological concept of deep-time that confronts us with this unimaginable number of existence is crucial in Fridvalszki’s works. This unthinkable number shows also the complexity and infinite extension in time and space in his reference system, in which his works are embedded in. Just having a look at my opening-speech forerunners, it shows a diversity of disciplines, where curators, artists, art historian, philosophers, writers and poets and now even a gallerist enthusiastically engage with Fridvalszki’s position. Even only to sketch the totality of the artist’s reference system would go beyond the scope of this speech so in the following I better pick only one concept to elaborate. It is an important one, since I believe it is able to grasp the special atmosphere that surrounds his works and exhibitions.

This is the concept of ’Nostalgia’.

It is a nostalgia for – as Fridvalszki puts it – ’dumb, simple shapes’ and 'transparent principals of operations’. Simple mechanical machines versus high tech devices. Such as an old printing press versus the latest Adobe Photoshop software. It is a desire for a time when it was still possible to understand how a machine works. Fridvalszki’s understanding of nostalgia is not only based on this technical and formal characteristics but rather on the consequences on society that are implied. One simple example: nowadays having a mobile touchscreen phone at hand 24 hours, don’t we all sometimes dream of the good old times when the land-line telephone at home with its real physical buttons was the only option to be available? This example shows that immediately the nostalgia touches other concepts such as time, freedom and independence in todays world dominated and accelerated by apps and other gadgets.

Most of the works that we see here in this space speak about that reflective nostalgia. Of course the slide-projector is an obvious example but also the honestness of the collected raw materials or the simplicity and natural compositions of the panel paintings. The longing literally surrounds the whole exhibition, with the grey line representing a horizon and with that an important art historical motive of romanticism. Horizontal line was canceled. But we can replace it by the sound of the sea that fills the space, both elements appearing as a motive in romanticism, a motive of desire.
But don’t worry Fridvalszki is not a retrograde romantic fatalist. He constantly infiltrates his works with contradictions that are based on other concepts he is using. For example when we see an apparently analog produced paper collage the possibility is high that it was made with Photoshop. And on the other hand the mentioned honesty of the raw materials is strongly contrasted with the pseudo stone plates, that are made of gypsum. Pseudo is another reference Fridvalszki makes to the pseudo term shaped by Pauer Gyula.

You see, once you start with one reference you find yourself confronted with a system of it – a system that Fridvalszki consciously and carefully builds around his work. Like a collage itself the exhibitions and its elements are built as layers and overlapping informations. We are actively involved in recognising a new set of relationships between the information and ideas that Fridvalszki has structured for us. And the visual is never the only information we get, sound and text are building a strong background and complete the environment we stand in. And this brings me to the second part of my speech.

Fridvalszki asked me to mention Saint Leidal The 2nd. He is responsible for the soundscape of this exhibition. And lets do not forget Márió Z. Nemes, who’s text – as the sound – is an important foundation of this exhibition.
I strongly believe that such collaborations are crucial in todays artistic practice and Fridvalszki’s self-conception as an artist is build on collaboration and is a important part of his attitude. Transdisciplinarity might be the only answer to cope with the over-complexity we are facing in this world.

Fridvalszki professionalized this attitude by founding the publishing project, the collective and movement called Technologie und das Unheimliche (T+U), together with Márió Z. Nemes and Zsolt Miklosvölgyi. In constant collaboration with other people from other disciplines they edit and publish the T+U magazine. The fanzine acts as a kind of laboratory were discourse is not only negotiated but actively produced. One could say that T+U magazine is the collective’s manifest and – as they say – ”is not the end-product, but rather incarnation of continuous intellectual and artistic processes”.
For Fridvalszki this circle of young contemporaries and their output is an important source and inspiration. By this Fridvalszki as an artist is creating and cultivating his own discourse and network – which I think is fascinating. In the end this attitude makes the difference: it creates his unique position and his consistent artistic practice.

He constantly builds and refines his ideas, adapts, reshapes and recycles his artworks, so they start to overlap, influence and refer to each other. As a consequence discourse and artwork build the complex system I mentioned in the very beginning.
Fridvalszki takes his matters as an artists in his own hands! This attitude – I believe – is exemplary for an artist of the 21th century. All this would not have impact if this practice is not accompanied by international orientation, which is another critical attitude for an artist and is absolutely self-evident in his practice, that brought him to renowned institutions in abroad.

To sum it up: Mark Fridvalszki has a program, Mark Fridvalszki is the program.
Thank you.


© Mark Fridvalszki 2008 - 2021
Last Revision: 10 - 11 - 2017