‘a kiss, a hat, a stamp’, Blood Mountain Foundation, Budapest –2010
BMF is a non-profit arts organisation committed to generating fresh discourse about contemporary culture and current affairs. Based in Budapest (Hungary), it seeks inspiration from the city’s rich history and diverse cultural heritage and provides opportunities for exchange between local and international art practitioners and the broader community through curatorial and educational programmes, artists’ residencies and special projects. The Artist-in-Residence Programme offers up to four emerging to mid-career international artists the opportunity to live and work in Budapest for four-to-eight week periods each year. They are encouraged to engage with all facets of the city and to develop new work inspired by these experiences.
Sourcing materials from a local artisan workshop, flea markets and antique dealerships, Hernández’s practice pays tribute to Budapest’s tradition of independent creative outlets and quality second-hand goods. The processes of finding, assembling, creating and re-appropriating are key motifs in his practice: by focussing on fragments (rather than whole objects) and edges (instead of obvious surface areas), Hernández’s found objects take on new forms and sentiment in their new-found setting.
The exhibition comprises two sculptures, two wall paintings, a collage and a room installation in collaboration with Valéria Fazekas, a key member of Hungary’s diminishing artisan community. By positioning Fazekas’ unique headwear on a patina-ed bookshelf juxtaposed with press images of industry, collective sports and new architecture of the bygone Soviet era, Hernández’s poignant comment about the city’s past and present is striking. The understated exhibition design also lends relevance to the Foundation’s location on a former Ottoman era battleground and to the setting, which was once known as a Habsurg era family estate.
As noted by Jade Niklai, Director of BMF:
“Hernández’s deep insight and understated touch bring tremendous thought and emotion to unravelling the beauty of Budapest even for those who have known and lived in it for a lifetime. BMF is privileged and grateful to launch its residency programme with the participation of such a seminal artist.”
Since January 2010, BMF’s Education Programme has provided opportunities for six to twelve year-olds to engage with contemporary art. During Hernández’s residency, a workshop for 16 to 18 year-old International Baccalaureate students at the British International School in Budapest will further expand the programme.
“If the Danube runs faster, glory and sadness will also do. Tom Sloan [BMF Trustee] showed me the Budapest that we want to remember and we won’t forget, Jade Niklai introduced me to the mysterious hats of Valéria Fazekas and now, after three weeks of a very intimate research through Budapest’s antique and furniture dealers, empty streets and wonderfully arranged storage rooms, Blood Mountain Foundation is opening “a kiss, a hat, a stamp”.