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Nagas, Birds and Elephant
Traditional Dress from Mainland Southeast Asia
30 September 2016 – 20 Agust 2017

The new temporary exhibition at the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts, Budapest, the Nagas, Birds and Elephants, presents Southeast Asian textiles from a variety of viewpoints – geographical, chronological and anthropological. Through explanations of the ritual functions of textiles and the symbology in their patterns, and examples of the different types of textiles and traditional costumes worn in the region, the exhibition aims to inform visitors about the religious beliefs, customs and celebrations of the diverse peoples of mainland Southeast Asia.

The distinctively Southeast Asian form of artistic expression can be traced through the region’s textiles. This is the “mother tongue” of art, and one of its most important embodiments. By taking a closer look at Southeast Asian textiles, and finding out more about the different varieties, how they are used, and what the symbols mean, visitors can unlock part of the mystery of how people in this distant part of the world live and think.
The show consists of over 200 exhibits: in addition to some extremely valuable and rarely seen items from Hungary’s public collections (the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts and the Museum of Ethnography), the exhibition also features objects brought directly from the regions in question by private collectors and explorer-researchers.

 

Paying homage to the twenthy-eight Buddhas, 1850-1870
Paying homage to the twenthy-eight Buddhas, 1850-1870

 

 

Hmong skirt, Laos
Hmong skirt, Laos

 

 

Seated Buddha with the right in the gesture of touching the earth. Myanmar.
Seated Buddha with the right in the gesture of touching the earth. Myanmar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMAGING KOREA - Beyond the people land and time

Budapest Welcomes Korean Photographers’ Touring Exhibition
Date: 6th May – 28th August 2016
Venue: Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts

„Photography captures the present but it will soon be the past.
[…] Photos contribute to things changed, to a vanishing world.” KANG Woongu

The first Eastern European country to establish diplomatic relations with Korea, Hungary shares so much with Korean that it’s called ‘The East Asia of Europe’. The most impressive thing is that, as in Korea, they hang and dry chili peppers and garlic, essential ingredients in Korean cooking. Although the chili pepper is called paprika in Hungary, the sight of if surely reminds me of an autumn day typical of Korea. Hungary located in the east of Europe and Korea located in the east of Asia. It’s not a mere coincidence but a fortuitous meeting that these two countries, which light up the east end of their respective continents, are now taking the first steps together in the exhibit entitled which will tour six countries starting from the ‘Pearl of Danube’ Budapest, Hungary and continuing to Germany, Poland, Belgium, Kazakhstan, and Spain.

There is a saying that goes ‘Meeting one good person in a good place is like catching a star in the sky’. The meeting between KIM Jaehwan, Director of Korean Cultural Center in Budapest, Hungary and KWON Taegyun, a self-proclaimed nomad and photographer of very Korean sensibility was just such a meeting. They had the idea to present Korea to Europe using the attractive medium of documentary photography. In 2014, KWON Taegyun suggested earnestly that I bring to concept such an exhibition. However, at 60 years of age he passed from acute heart failure and the plans lay in a drawer quietly. Nevertheless, the idea wasn’t meant to be forgotten that easily. Director KIM Jaewhan, meeting with Korea’s eminent photographer KANG Woongu, again brought up the idea of a documentary photography exhibit and plans were drawn up by mid-2015. The exhibit plan was revitalized with the ambition to share with the people of Europe the works of KWON Taegyun, high-quality Korean photography, and images imbued with Korean sensibility. It all started with the seven representative Korean photographers KANG Woongu, KWON Taegyun, KIM Jungman, PARK Jongwoo, LEE Gapchul, CHO Daeyeon, and SEO Heunkang telling the story of Korea in .

Documentary photography is the aesthetic way of recording a moment for all time. presents works at the pinnacle of this ‘aesthetic of recording’ which has never been and may never again be shown to the world. This exhibit, presenting in one place 125 photographs of beautiful strength in documentation and artistry by seven photographers of distinct perspectives, readily expresses their lives lived within Korean tradition, culture, nature, and time. The time when Korean culture and tradition, based in agriculture, was at its height. The times when such culture gradually retreated. The people who had lived and are living in such times. In palaces, in temples, in historic sites, in the demilitarized zone and its reality of national division, and in everyday places, photographers represent powerful Beyond the People, Land and Time> is the lyrical language of images spanning Korea’s past, its roots, and its present which are both memories we would long for and which the world can relate to. The works of this exhibition were selected from the most representative works of seven photographers who have labored extensively to complete this project. Though only excerpts from assorted exhibitions, these images collectively form a broad spectrum and represent a polished exhibition showing a different side to Korea.

The works of KANG Woogu are the selection from ‘Luck or Destiny’. When the winds of industrialization started to blow in Korea in 1970, KANG Woongu captured the day-to-day life in Korea’s countryside. Photos taken of the present which have since become the past, KANG’s photos capturing even the shining aura of daily life share with the world the Korean sensibilities of a bygone era. A self-proclaimed nomad, KWON Taegyun wandered the corners of Korea in the 1980s and encapsulated within his neat frame the lives and spirit of our parents, siblings, and friends in the spaces of their lives. LEE Gapchul takes the sources of the inner lives of Korean and depicts them in grainy textures, tilted frames, and scattered focus with a spontaneous unconscious apart from rationality. KIM Jungman rediscovers the beauty of Korea, a mysterious land flowing continuously with rich tradition and the colors of four seasons over its 5,000 years of history. PARK Jongwoo gives a reportage, even in the world’s only divided country of Korea, of the reality and landscape faced at the demilitarized zone cleaving the waist of the Korean peninsula. CHO Daeyeon looks at the prolonged breathing of the monks who reside in the temples in the southern regions where Buddhism first spread into Korea and expresses his accumulated impressions on Buddhism. SEO Heunkang finds his photographic subjects in the palaces, royal tombs, and historic sites, things most imbued with the traces of Korean history. He expresses as his own the visual elements under the best times and lighting which best reveal the shapes of graceful yet powerful color.

This exhibit is all the more precious and valuable for containing images of Korea that European observers are seeing for the first time, armed with the vestiges, deep lyricism, and intensity of the people, land, and time of Korea as permeated over the ages and captured from the 1970s to the present by these seven photographers of different artistic bent. Embedded with history, embedded with culture, embedded with people, this exhibit contemplates Korean traditions, culture, and change over time and presents the images of Korea, sometimes powerfully, sometimes warmly. Hungary, Germany, Poland, Belgium, Kazakhstan, Spain, and Korea, seven countries with varying cultures through will witness the images and sensibilities of Korea in a cultural exchange and thus form a special connection as if ‘catching a star from the sky’.

 

Paying homage to the twenthy-eight Buddhas, 1850-1870
Paying homage to the twenthy-eight Buddhas, 1850-1870

 

Hmong skirt, Laos
Hmong skirt, Laos

 

Seated Buddha with the right in the gesture of touching the earth. Myanmar.
Seated Buddha with the right in the gesture of touching the earth. Myanmar.

 


Geishas by the Danube

The influence of Japanese culture on Hungarian art
Castle Garden Bazaar, Palace of Guards (1013 Budapest, 2 Ybl Miklós tér)
16 December, 2016 – 12 March, 2017

The Kovács Gábor Art Foundation and the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts present the first exhibition in Hungary that looks at the influence of Japanese culture on Hungarian art, with a selection of artworks from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The Museum of Applied Arts – Hungarian National Gallery and the Museum of Applied Arts are cooperating partners of the exhibition.

Japan’s self-chosen isolation, which had lasted for two centuries, ended in 1853 with the arrival of Commodore Matthew C. Perry’s squadron. With several of the island country’s ports opened for international trade, from the early 1850s Japanese artworks started to be exported to Europe on a large scale, and the first Western collections of Japanese art came into being.
The keen interest in Japan that marked the Western countries and Hungary from the middle of the 19th century, was called, along with the works of art that were inspired by Japanese art, “Japonism.” The period’s fashionable ceramics were decorated with Japanese figures and motifs, the stages featured Madame Butterflies, and no gentlewoman’s wardrobe would have been complete without a kimono. “Geisha” was one of the first Japanese words to enter the Hungarian language, which is why it appears in the title of this exhibition of Japonism in Hungary.
Japonism is one of the most exciting examples of intercultural influences. It was a case of embracing a foreign culture, rejuvenating thereby traditional or outdated forms and outlooks.
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Oszkár Tarján (Huber): Oendant with wave motif, ca. 1910, Museum of Applied Arts
Oszkár Tarján (Huber): Oendant with wave motif, ca. 1910, Museum of Applied Arts
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Utagawa Kunisada: Woman with mirror, 1843-1847
Utagawa Kunisada: Woman with mirror, 1843-1847
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Bertalan Székely: Japanese woman, 1871, Hungarian National Gallery
Bertalan Székely: Japanese woman, 1871, Hungarian National Gallery
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Oszkár Tarján (Huber): Oendant with wave motif, ca. 1910, Museum of Applied Arts
Oszkár Tarján (Huber): Oendant with wave motif, ca. 1910, Museum of Applied Arts

“In Search of Prince Genji - Japan in Words and Images”
26 November 2015 – 17 April 2016

In Search of Prince Genji - Japan in Words and Images is the next show in a series of exhibitions presenting traditional Asian art from the collection of the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts alongside Hungarian contemporary artworks. Its focal point is the aesthetic ideal of traditional Japanese art and its reception in Europe.

Referred to as the world’s first novel, Genji monogatari (The Tale of Genji) is considered as one of the most important literary works of the world. Written in the early eleventh century by Murasaki, a lady-in-waiting at the Japanese royal court in the Heian period, the book recounts the adventures of a fictional character, the shining Prince Genji, in 54 chapters. The attribute ‘shining’ or ‘radiant’ (in Japanese: “Hikaru”) is an allusion to the refined intellect, taste and demeanour of prince Genji as well as to his other-worldly beauty. Despite being a fictional piece, it records in detail the customs of the Japanese royal court as well as the culture and etiquette of the Heian period. Although Genji monogatari was written for the entertainment of the court circle of Lady Murasaki, the author’s sophisticated ability of observation and meticulous description made the novel one of the main chronicles of medieval Japan. Thanks to the repeated modernisation of the Japanese text, the tale of the shining prince remained alive in contemporary Japanese culture, in a way that can only be matched to the Bible or ancient Greek myths in Europe.

The perfect beauty of Prince Genji and that of his world represents traditional Japanese aesthetic ideals. Ever since the novel’s appearance, its various scenes have been widely depicted in paintings, woodcuts, lacquer works, ceramics,, and other art forms (photography, theatre) have also used it as a precious source. The collection of the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts preserves many artefacts, ranging from the late seventeenth century until today, that retell the story of Genji in either a narrative or symbolical way. Creating a balance between image and text, the current exhibition aims to show the novel’s uninterrupted presence in Japanese culture, while also displaying Hungarian artworks in order to illustrate its inspirational role in world literature and fine arts.

Our exhibition wishes to present The Tale of Genji on several levels. It provides information about Lady Murasaki, the novel’s author, as well as about the structure of the text, the main events and the characters of the story. The importance of Genji pictures in Japanese visual arts are illustrated by narrative (yamato-e), symbolic, and parodistic (mitate) depictions. Games linked to the Genji monogatari (and how they were payed) in early modern Japan are shown through various artefacts. By walking through the halls visitors will learn about the artist of the highly valuable Genji album in the museum’s collection, about the structure of Japanese poems, or waka, and an entire set of Genji karuta (a 108 piece card deck) from the early nineteenth-century can also be seen.

The closing section of the exhibition is a double homage: the atmosphere of the old imperial capital, Kyoto, will be conjured up in words by László Krasznahorkai and in photographic images by Zoltán Gaál. Image and text are linked as closely in the presentation of the Hungarian works as they were in the earliest Genji manuscripts.

The exhibition is accompanied by a Hungarian and English catalogue including essays by several authors and rich in reproductions. Besides the studies on literary, photographic and art history, the volume contains a summary of the monumental novel (some 1,500 pages) about prince Genji. Each chapter of the story is illustrated by the corresponding picture of the Genji album of the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts, thus publishing the work in its completeness.

You can download Incense Album, A Visitor’s Guide to the Exhibition here.

Feltételezhetően Szumijosi Gukei vagy köre: A budapesti Gendzsi-album 9. lapja. Papír, arany, tus, festék 1670 körül
Feltételezhetően Szumijosi Gukei vagy köre: A budapesti Gendzsi-album 9. lapja. Papír, arany, tus, festék 1670 körül

A Ranrjó-ó nevű bugaku figura. Textil, gobelintechnika (cuzure-nisiki) 1900 körül
A Ranrjó-ó nevű bugaku figura. Textil, gobelintechnika (cuzure-nisiki) 1900 körül


Gaál Zoltán: Cím nélkül. Lyukkamerával készült analóg fénykép 2013, Kiotó
Gaál Zoltán: Cím nélkül. Lyukkamerával készült analóg fénykép 2013, Kiotó

Háromrekeszes inró kai-avasze kagylómotívummal. Fa, lakk (urusi, maki-e), textil, rozmáragyar, agancs 18. század vége – 19. század eleje
Háromrekeszes inró kai-avasze kagylómotívummal. Fa, lakk (urusi, maki-e), textil, rozmáragyar, agancs 18. század vége – 19. század eleje






















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