Lockdown Art Stories: Judit Horváth Lóczi

Judit Horváth Lóczi interview

“Our democratic society needs its unique and diverse cultural and media landscape in this historical situation, which was unimaginable until recently,” said German culture minister Monika Grütters. “The creative courage of creative people can help to overcome the crisis. We should seize every opportunity to create good things for the future. That is why the following applies: artists are not only indispensable but also vital, especially now”.

These lines, coming from the German government in March 2020, confirm my thoughts about the role of artists, especially now. This is why I was asking contemporary artist Judit Horváth Lóczi a few questions about the current situation. I was curious about how she was doing, what she was thinking, under lockdown?

If you haven't already, sign up to the Budapest Weekly Newsletter to get updates about Budapest stories, such as this Judit Horváth Lóczi interview!

Judit Horvath Loczi interview

Day By Day

Judit Horváth Lóczi interview

- How can artists in Budapest now help society? How can artists, with their creative courage, point to a better future?

- To start with personal memory, I learned from my parents that love, knowledge, and enjoyment of works of art can help in difficult situations. It is a recognition that gives a sense of security even in the darkest period. This means that I fully agree with the German Minister. Indeed, consumption of art is not a physical necessity, but at the same time, the human soul needs spiritual nourishment even in such a problematic period, otherwise, it withers away. It is gratifying to see that there are countries - not so far away from us - where they understand this at the leadership level.

Even though Hungarian artists do not receive any help or support yet, the art scene is turbulent, and better and better initiatives are being taken. Just for the sake of example: there are online, free theatre performances, audiobooks, and guided tours available. There are works of fine art put up for auction (where revenue is used to support hospitals), or you might want to look for podcasts just launched. Many groups have formed in cyberspace, it is very good to see that this otherwise quite divisive scene comes together. And we support those working against the virus, each other, and also those who are open to artistic experiences. I guess and even see that there are many people on the recipient side welcoming this, and I trust that they will draw strength from these contents. In the words of art historian János Schneller: "Man defends himself with art."

- Do you get any extra inspiration from such a historic situation? Do you guys feel more motivated now? Does isolation change much in artistic work?

- Indeed, this is a situation so subversive around us that we have to react somehow. I remember the first week I froze, and then I started to work out the difficult thoughts and feelings.

For me, this has proven itself at other times; I do the creation with a therapeutic purpose and frequency, and it helps a lot.

Of course, an artist is often alone, locking herself in her apartment, her studio, her rehearsal room, creating. But for those with a family, this is not a viable option now. This is because caring for children comes first, which makes you busy almost all day. Now that space and time have narrowed, instead of the studio, I can only create at home on the dining table, near my family. So the works now shrink, and techniques get simplified. I started a series of quarantine, which consist of small (around 15x5cm) paper sections, recording my current, often not very positive thoughts. Every day I post a new piece on my Instagram and Facebook page. Although I started this series just to ease my soul, I get a lot of feedback that this helps others, to process, and to visualize their problems. And it's a fantastic feeling.

You Can Do That

You Can Do That

- How do you intend to (re)connect with your audience in these circumstances? What new tools and platforms you would think are going to help to achieve this?

- Because of the aforementioned series, I am much more actively involved in cyberspace than before. Like many others, I cling to the online community thread when I can no longer embrace my parents and friends. So at least I keep in touch with other art lovers through the platforms provided by the internet.

Interesting ideas come to mind at such times. I’ve already done guided tours, given an online interview in my studio. I also follow several gallery open calls where I can meet artists who are otherwise light years away from me (and not just in km). The parallel reality of the internet is very interesting: we can be close to someone who is far away, but at the same time, we cannot see a person close to us. By the way, I’m focusing on Instagram, Facebook, updating my website often.

- What you would think the single biggest change is going to be in the art world in Budapest once this crisis ends?

- I think, or rather hope, that the Hungarian art community has realized that it is not possible to stay afloat anymore with semi-functional websites in an international environment. Yes, you need to be present in the virtual space by offering fresh content on other platforms as well. I hope this good direction will not change at the end of this unusual situation.

However, I can't wait to go to exhibitions again. I’m sure I’ll appreciate every real minute spent with art better.

Running is my LSD

Running is my LSD

- Is there any “Lockdown” piece of art produced recently that you can share with the readers?

- I’ve mentioned before the series of quarantine I am working on during the curfew period. Every day I post a new piece of art, which I usually create the night before when my family is asleep already. Creating something every day helps a lot, and I also do sports, without which I would have lost the way.

There is another project in which I have been an active participant from the beginning. I have worked hard to make (fine) art one of our cornerstones. This is Béla Bartók Boulevard, behind which our civic association stands. Now I feel like the quarantine has brought out the best in the team. The members work together in a never-before-seen collaboration, to be at least virtually visible in the absence of physical presence. Among other things, we will be introducing introductory videos about each member and organizing a virtual festival in May. Therefore it is worth paying attention to our pages.

- Is there any way for art lovers to support your work, and how?

- Now it is very important that those to whom art gives energy support the artists somehow. There are many ways to do this; they can send a positive message, buy a piece of art, anything like that. I am happy for every encouraging word people have for me. It makes my day when someone writes to me, and people take this step now much sooner than usual. This is a very good direction! Although this is not why I have started it, I’m happy that my supporters are buying from my quarantine series. Anyone able can support artists this way too, helping them not to give up.

Maternal Instincts - Worry

Maternal Instincts - Worry

The art of Judit Horvath Loczi is full of playfulness and preciseness at the same time. Her toolbar is well-diversified. She is familiar with the depths of abstract painting and assemblages (like art- boxes and books). Besides the classical materials, she likes to discover and use extreme substances. In her artwork, she explores the colored reflections of light and shadow. As an inspiration, she is always using a life situation or personal story which she abstracts and visualizes with basic geometrical forms. That is how she processes the events of her life, releases herself from tensions, and reminds herself of the happy moments. Every artwork is like a page from a diary of hers.

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Lockdown Art Stories: KristofLab

Kristóf Szabó KristofLab interview

“Our democratic society needs its unique and diverse cultural and media landscape in this historical situation, which was unimaginable until recently,” said German culture minister Monika Grütters. “The creative courage of creative people can help to overcome the crisis. We should seize every opportunity to create good things for the future. That is why the following applies: artists are not only indispensable but also vital, especially now”.

These lines, coming from the German government in March 2020, confirm my thoughts about the role of artists, especially now. This is why I was asking painter, media artist, and VJ performer Kristóf Szabó at KristofLab a few questions about the current situation. I was curious about how he was doing, what he was thinking, under lockdown?

If you haven't already, sign up to the Budapest Weekly Newsletter to get updates about Budapest stories!

KristofLab

KRISTOFLAB

Kristóf Szabó KristofLab interview

- How can artists in Budapest now help society? How can artists, with their creative courage, point to a better future?

- The first thing that comes to mind is that like all my peers, the world has closed itself to me from one moment to the next. There are no exhibitions, performances, concerts. We have to get up from this situation and look for new ways, and this position can be an incentive in itself. From another point of view, appearances in the online space – like exhibitions and concerts - can bring back some of the liveliness we have lost. This can move people out of everyday life, which makes it easier to endure the situation. But as soon as we get back to normal life, I think everyone will crave culture like a mouthful of bread. Our first thing will be to go to concerts, exhibitions, and social events. The energy that is stuck in the artists will break out, and everyone will understand how much art can give people. Until then, courage, the will to live, and persistence can encourage our fellow human beings that this is just a situation that will pass, and something else must come after it.

- Do you get any extra inspiration from such a historic situation? Do you guys feel more motivated now? Does isolation change much in artistic work?

- Looking at my situation, many of my sources of income - theaters, and clubs - have disappeared. Talking to my friends, however, this is different for everyone. Some have been upset recently, but most of us are positive. I feel a flare-up, togetherness. Now we encourage and help each other, a little window has opened overlooking a new street, and it fills the creative people with curiosity. I embarked on a series of paintings that contrast the recently bustling urban spaces with the current emptiness. I also got involved in making an installation inspired by the situation. I do all this at home or online though; I won’t go to the studio. At first, it was difficult to switch to this method, but now the calmness and retreat have borne fruit. I am living in my productive era, which will bring many positive changes in my life.

Kristof Szabo Painter

KRISTOFLAB

- How do you intend to (re)connect with your audience in these circumstances? What new tools and platforms you would think are going to help to achieve this?

- My online activity is more now. We recently made a performance in our living room on an online broadcast of a Czech gallery. We did this with Emese Kovács and Attila Szász, under the auspices of the Hoygadayax formation, which made its debut at the closing event of our exhibition with Balázs Csizik. And now we are just preparing for a similar one, Babicska will be the host, but the event will take place in the living room again. Other initiatives have also been launched, with one of my work posted on the 1111 virtual gallery. Now Budapest Art Week has also been postponed, so I presented my studio in the form of an interview. As for now, I can get my work to the audience through similar channels only. This is why we have recently come up with the idea of creating a special outdoor venue with Ziggurat Project, a contemporary dance-centric interdisciplinary company. We have already submitted several applications in Hungary as well as abroad for this. And once normal life returns, we will be able to start location-specific performances with renewed vigor.

- What you would think the single biggest change is going to be in the art world in Budapest once this crisis ends?

- I expect some kind of segregation. Some components become stronger, and others fade. The international art life will recover later, the smaller sectors will intensify, which may bring us, Eastern European artists more attention. Budapest can also be better included in the European art cycle. The big international fairs are much more affected by this situation and thus more attention can be paid to the artists of our country. New forms will emerge, attitudes will be more experimental, traditional forms that have worked so far will be reviewed and new ones will come up to the surface shortly. It will definitely be an exciting period for sure.

Kristof Szabo Artist Paintings

KRISTOFLAB

- Is there any “Lockdown” piece of art produced recently that you can share with the readers?

- The series of paintings mentioned at the beginning, which started when we visited Madrid with the Budapest Art Mentor at the ARCO Madrid fair, before the epidemic became serious. And a week later, school closures began in Hungary. Not long after, a friend of mine living in Madrid sent photos of the vacated city, and I took pictures of one of the buildings even during my stay. That’s how the idea came to paint in empty and in bustling versions. Since then, I’ve been asking for photos from my other friends as well. Vienna has now been completed, and the next one will be Warsaw. And another series is in the pipeline too: I have asked artists to collaborate by sending me photos of vacant urban places for rework. I add image errors and glitches reminiscent of corrupted JPG files. I am referring to the impact of man on nature. For example, the spread of the epidemic stems from globalization. Traffic between distant countries has stopped in a matter of moments, and factories stopped working too, no wonder it drastically reduced air pollution. We can also look at man as an error, and perhaps this situation awakens humanity because it cannot continue its way of life with impunity.

- Is there any way for art lovers to support your work, and how?

- The biggest support if the audience follows me on my social media platforms and gets the news of my work in as many places as possible. And when life comes back, we can meet at exhibitions and performances with the Ziggurat Project, to talk about art and other interesting topics. If anyone is interested in my work, they can email me and even look around the studio.

Kristoflab Budapest

KRISTOFLAB

Kristóf Szabó – KristofLab was born in 1988 in Győr. He is a visual and media artist. He graduated from the University of Fine Arts, as a graphic designer (2012) and as an art teacher (2013). He won an Erasmus scholarship in 2011 to study in Dresden (Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden). Kristóf is a member of the MAMŰ and Hungarian Artist’s Book Association and the Ziggurat Project, which groups are experimenting with various co-artistic collaborations. He is fond of working with dancers or representatives of other branches of art. He took part in several solo and group exhibitions in Hungary and abroad. More recently he is experimenting with the relationship between painting and new media art.

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Lockdown Art Stories: Budapest Art Factory

Budapest Art Factory interview

“Our democratic society needs its unique and diverse cultural and media landscape in this historical situation, which was unimaginable until recently,” said German culture minister Monika Grütters. “The creative courage of creative people can help to overcome the crisis. We should seize every opportunity to create good things for the future. That is why the following applies: artists are not only indispensable but also vital, especially now”.

These lines, coming from the German government in March 2020, confirm my thoughts about the role of artists, especially now. This is why I was asking artists at Budapest Art Factory a few questions about the current situation. I was curious about how they are doing, what they are thinking, under lockdown?

If you haven't already, sign up to the Budapest Weekly Newsletter to get updates about Budapest stories!

Budapest Art Factory

BUDAPEST ART FACTORY

- How can artists in Budapest now help society? How can artists, with their creative courage, point to a better future?

- Márta: I bet if someone buys a painting from me, I will transfer the full purchase price to the Hannabi team, who are producing masks at the moment.
- Florek: Artists are normal people like anybody else, so, first of all, they should follow general recommendations from experts. Those artists with interesting content can possibly attract people in the online world. And they can regularly feed their followers with good new works or entertainment.

- Do you get any extra inspiration from such a historic situation? Do you guys feel more motivated now? Does isolation change much in artistic work?

- Márta: All the hustle and bustle have stopped, so the studio is quieter. Most of our artists stay now at home. Only three of us go to work, although we have nine studios. The phone does not ring, there is no need to organise anything. Pretty much everything has been postponed. This gives me more time to paint, but I can't tell you how long it takes for me to enjoy it. But I have a great fear of the economic crisis that could seal the coming years, our lives. I look forward to the miracle that will alleviate that fear.
- Florek: My choice of topics is not affected by the current situation. Somehow I spend the same time and energy for my art production as before, and even more. Of course, as an urban Plein air painter my choice of locations will become more and more limited.

Budapest Art Factory

BUDAPEST ART FACTORY

- How do you intend to (re)connect with your audience in these circumstances? What new tools and platforms you would think are going to help to achieve this?

- Márta: We try to be a regular presence on Instagram, Facebook, look back over the past few years, and show life in the studio.
- Florek: Luckily, I have been using social media (Instagram, Facebook, my website) for some time now. So the only task is to keep the level of activity up. We don't need new platforms, hopefully, this crisis will be over soon.

- What you would think the single biggest change is going to be in the art world in Budapest once this crisis ends?

- Márta: Huge crisis, hungry artists, Armageddon. It all depends on how long the current situation is. I'd rather be pessimist now.
- Florek: I do not expect any big change once things have gone back to normal.

Budapest Art Factory

BUDAPEST ART FACTORY

- Is there any “Lockdown” piece of art produced recently that you can share with the readers?

- Márta: Of course, there is new work and readers can see them below in my bio.
- Florek: Yes, I painted some parked trucks near our studios (see below in my bio) because the situation pushed me to explore my immediate surroundings more. Normally, I would not see the beauty in such simple things around me.

- Is there any way for art lovers to support your work, and how?

- Márta: We have two publishing studios in Budapest Art Factory, so we are waiting for two enthusiastic artist colleges to join the Art Factory team. Until the end of this crisis, we are offering half-price studios. It would save our situation. At 600 m2 there is a good distance from everyone, making it a safe place to be.
- Florek: Have you ever dreamt about owning a Ford Mustang? Forget about it. A good art piece on your wall can bring you the same joy, plus it is a good investment.

Budapest Art Factory

BUDAPEST ART FACTORY

Márta Kucsora (1979, Szeged) completed her studies at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts and then at Montclair State University in the USA. Her works have been featured in both domestic and international exhibitions. These include Blue: Matter, Mood and Melancholy at the 21 Century Museum in America, Time for Painting at the National Gallery, and Traditional Techniques at the Kunsthalle. Her works are represented by Kálmán Makláry Fine Arts and have been exhibited at renowned art fairs. For example, at Art Paris, Masterpiece London, and BRAFA in Brussels. Márta Kucsora's abstract techniques are related to the works of modern artists of the 20th century, who themselves pushed the boundaries of traditional painting. These include Simon Hantai, Helen Frankenthaler, Judit Reigl, and Francois Fiedler.

Marta Kucsora 2020
marta kucsora Budapest Art Factory

Juraj Florek is 100% urban Plein-air painter, his idealism motivates him to reinterpret Plein-air painting and adapt it to the current post-industrial landscape. He is not shy away from the difficult environment, the selection of locations of dysfunctional “Stalker environments” of industrial architecture, or the seemingly unobtrusive corners of the present-day city. He is a painter seeking their unadorned truth. At the same time his painting represents the honest „celebration of everyday life". This explores the author's social environment and his joy of life in the city.

Juraj Florek Company yard, 60x40cm, oil on canvas
Juraj Florek Dozsa_Gyorgy_metro_80x60cm, oil on canvas
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19 Virtual Exhibitions in Budapest

Virtual Exhibitions Budapest

Museums and other places will not accept visitors during the state of emergency due to Coronavirus. This is why I have brought to you nineteen places that you can visit online. Explore some of the best Hungarian exhibits in Budapest - from your home.

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Virtual exhibitions Budapest

museum of fine arts budapest exhibitionMuseum of Fine Arts

View baroque, renaissance, early Netherlandish collections and more.

[icon name="info" class="" unprefixed_class=""] Permanent online collection

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Műcsarnok - Kunsthalle

More than sixty ehibitions are accessible online from video installations to paintings.

[icon name="info" class="" unprefixed_class=""] Permanent online collection

[button fa="fa-info" style="primary" href="http://mucsarnok.hu/kunsthalle/virtual_tour.php" target="_blank"]VIEW EXHIBITION[/button]


Hungarian National Gallery

Learn more about Hungarian painter Pál Szinyei Merse, view canvas and oil paints, modern art items and more.

[icon name="info" class="" unprefixed_class=""] Permanent online collection

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Liszt Academy of Music

View the sacred hall of Music within its environment.

[icon name="info" class="" unprefixed_class=""] Permanent online exhibits

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Budapest OperaHungarian State Opera

One of the greatest centres of integrated arts in the world, The Opera House is the symbol of Hungarian classical music culture.

[icon name="info" class="" unprefixed_class=""] Permanent online exhibits

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Semmelweis University

Take a virtual tour in the Rector’s Salon, the Senate Hall, the Semmelweis Salon, the Hall and the stairwell leading to the first floor.

[icon name="info" class="" unprefixed_class=""] Virtual Tour

[button fa="fa-info" style="primary" href="http://semmelweis.hu/english/2018/06/virtual-tour-in-the-central-administrative-building" target="_blank"]TAKE VIRTUAL TOUR[/button]


Budapest History Museum - Kiscell

Explore the 18th-21st century history of Budapest and of its inhabitants.

[icon name="info" class="" unprefixed_class=""] Permanent online exhibits

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Müpa Budapest

Learn about the unique features of the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, about the workings of its acoustics and about special technical solutions for the Festival Theatre.

[icon name="info" class="" unprefixed_class=""] Virtual Reality Experience

[button fa="fa-info" style="primary" href="https://m.mupa.hu/en/events/hall-to-hall/virtual-reality-experience" target="_blank"]LEARN MORE[/button]


Stations of Metro 4

Virtual walk between the stations of metro line 4, starting from Kelenföld Metro Station.

[icon name="info" class="" unprefixed_class=""] Metro Stations

[button fa="fa-info" style="primary" href="http://virtualis-seta.hu/budapest/metro4data" target="_blank"]VIEW STATIONS[/button]


museum applied arts BudapestMuseum of Applied Arts

Founded in 1872, the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest is one of the oldest museums of art and design in Europe. Explore Art Nouveau, clay, rock, vase and more items.

[icon name="info" class="" unprefixed_class=""] Permanent online exhibits

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Holocaust Memorial Center

View photographs and documents from World War II.

[icon name="info" class="" unprefixed_class=""] Permanent online exhibits

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Hungarian National Museum

Explore historical relics of the Carpathian Basin and Hungary from prehistoric times to the present.

[icon name="info" class="" unprefixed_class=""] Permanent online exhibits

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Hungarian National Digital Archive

Probably the widest virtual exhibition in Hungary with more than six hundred thousand (!) records.

[icon name="info" class="" unprefixed_class=""] Digitized cultural contents

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National Széchényi Library

Destruction of the Stalin Statue in 1956, Revolution in Budapest, the famous Corvin Lane and more.

[icon name="info" class="" unprefixed_class=""] Permanent online exhibits

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Pesti Vigadó

Located on the Danube Embankment in the heart of the city, Pesti Vigadó functions as a centre of Gesamtkunstwerk. Learn about this magnificent building through a virtual tour.

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National Archives of Hungary

Learn about Hungarian written cultural heritage.

[icon name="info" class="" unprefixed_class=""] Permanent online exhibits

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The Museum and Library of Hungarian Agriculture

Explore the Museum's spaces and exhibitions as part of a virtual tour.

[icon name="info" class="" unprefixed_class=""] Virtual Tour

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Petőfi Literary Museum

The Museum has become an institution with nationwide authority in the field of Hungarian literary museology.

[icon name="info" class="" unprefixed_class=""] Permanent online exhibits

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Open Society Archives

This online exhibition is from one of the world's largest archives of Cold War, Radio Free Europe, samizdat and human rights materials.

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