2019 – Material

In the 2017 edition of the Debrecen Artist in Residence, which focused on the Designed Artwork, we asked: what is the relationship between planning and creation, design and fine art? The response of some of the artists testified that design, rational, problem-solving planning is extremely attractive in everyday object culture and the visual arts; at the same time, some saw autonomous artistic work as an antidote to the all-embracing practice of design. When announcing the 2018 DNM, we crammed two concepts that are complex in themselves into a word combination that doesn’t exist: Designresistance. We intended that, through condensation, these concepts would relate to each other even more intensively and thereby radicalize the process of thought that had begun a year earlier. We started from resistance to design, with the basic question of how fine art resists design.

In 2019 we posed the question: what kind of material is the material of art? Conceptual? Emotional? Corporeal? Dense? Complex? Tangible? How do artists perceive the material of their work? Is it a starting point or a necessary vehicle? 

A quarter of a century ago, art historian Gábor Andrási described the phenomenon, also characteristic of Hungarian art, of it once again being important to realize artworks and to return to materialistic works of art in addition to preserving their conceptual nature, as “sensual conceptualism.” Nowadays, thanks to the overwhelming presence of technical images in the digital and virtual worlds, both in everyday life and in the arts, it seems as though we are witnessing an even more marked return. It is as though the past materiality of the works of art becomes even more important, as if that attribute is a token of their authenticity. For the digital generation, this is a very exciting rediscovery, bringing to the forefront analog/manual devices that had disappeared in the sinkhole of history for just a few decades. But has the relationship to the rediscovered analog and material changed for the digital generation of contemporary artists? Do those who have lived through the digital shift have a similar attitude towards it to those of the pre-digital age?

Members of DAIR 2019

Nikolett Balázs / Mária Berhidi / Loránd Bögös / Máté Dobokay / Judit Gallai / Pál Gerber / Henrik Martin / Sára Richter / Tamás Szentirmai / János Szirtes / József Tasnádi / János Vági

Artistic directors

Lajos Csontó / Attila Horányi / Szabolcs Süli-Zakar

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