“I am who I am. I can’t be anything else: so why should I be afraid to discover who I am?”
2023. Nov. 11. - 2024. Feb. 11.
The title of the exhibition comes from the Sándor Tar’s diary. The statement suggests a confidence of self-identity. If we continue reading the entries, we can see that day by day he becomes more and more uncertain about who he is and whether this “I” should be acknowledged in front of others. Sándor Tar’s whole life contradicts this confidence and strength. Indeed, his life suggests that his destiny was determined more by chance than by conscious choice.
Sándor Tar’s figure is particularly fascinating, because his individual life reveals the social patterns of his time. Through his person we gain insight into the workings of the Kádár regime’s network of agents, as well as into the world of the workers and literary intellectuals of the time.
The works in the exhibition relate to an episode of Sándor Tar’s fate and life. Yet they are a sample of the typical situations and attitudes of Hungary in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Thanks to the works of the authors, which reflect on a particular moment in the writer’s life, but allow for a variety of interpretations.
Although the exhibition is organised under the auspices of MODEM, the venue is a 19th floor apartment in the city’s iconic tower block, for which there are two reasons. One is that Tar found a ‘home’ in a similar type of apartment after his twenty-eighth sublet. The other is that the building is one of the scenes of Tar’s crime novel The Grey Pigeon. Rising above the city, the janitor of the tower block witnesses strange events that can only be observed from here.
The exhibition features five contemporary artists whose works reflect on Tar’s life. The works of art are linked together by texts from Sándor Tar to form a spatial experience. The process began in spring 2023 with a workshop in which literary historians and artists discussed Tar’s life and work and the questions these raised.
Gábor Gerhes / Emese Kádár / Ilona Németh / Lenke Szilágyi / Balázs Máté Tóth
Tamás Don / Dr. Lajos Lakner