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Exhibitions

I S T V Á N C S Á K Á N Y


D O U B L E P L U S G O O D


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The current exhibition of István Csákány in TRAPÉZ deals with the confrontation of dystopias with the present, a topic that the artist started to work on with his former exhibition in Trafó Gallery entitled Diorama. The title of this exhibition might seem positive, but only until we realize that it is a word from Orwell's “Newspeak” from the novel 1984. “Newspeak” is an artificial propaganda language used as a tool by the dictatorial system to oppress and remodel people, as well as to prohibit free thinking. The exhibition Doubleplusgood – similarly to the book – brings up a fiction, based on people threatened and monitored by the system, creating a context and a space for this dystopia.


Orwell's negative utopia doesn't only mean the restriction of thoughts, but in terms of the bounded space, it means the reduction of territory and the building of new walls.


The exhibition of Csákány transforms the gallery space into a complex installation. The exaggerated curtain-like light wall brutally slices up and resizes the space, forcing the viewer into a strongly restricted spatial situation. In front of the dominant light wall we see a woodcut, the artist's self-portrait, displayed similarly to emperors' or dictators' portraits. On his head a seemingly bizarre device, responsible for more receptive senses, more specifically for a better hearing, while referring to the impact of certain devices that are forced on us and demand our full attention. The picture reflects on the role that the artist plays in society and the expectations he has to face: instead of the observer, surveillance is the main topic.


Museum for Rats and People is an object built around a locked up rat. With everyday things placed inside the iron structure, it seems like an open rat cage or lair filled with toys. The objects – such as the big rat wheel – would provide a space for playing and moving around for the rat (if it was set free). The title of the work, as well as the objects inside it, refer to the museum display cases seen in the Surrealist movie of Chris Marker and Alain Resnais, entitled “Les Statues Meurent Aussi”. How much the meaning of an object changes when being decontextualized and locked into a display case / museum? Is there anything that would remain from the original meaning?


The Derkovits and AICA Award winner István Csákány (1978, Sfântu Gheorghe) became one of the best known Hungarian contemporary artists below the age of 40 after exhibiting his large-scale installation – entitled Ghost Keeping – in 2012 at the dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel. He has his works in several international collections, such as the Dutch Bonnefantenmuseum or the MUDAM in Luxembourg. However he graduated as a painter at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts at the class of Dóra Maurer, experimental sculpture and hand-built installation appear mostly in his meticulously made and also massive artworks, among many other different mediums.