Grandma Tells a Tale (poplar, acacia, 80x50x37 cm, 1975)
The point of departure of the sculptures of Géza Samu is often an abandoned object of rural origins, which he then reinterprets with sculptural means. Grandma Tells a Tale, a wooden sculpture, is also built around the form of a traditional piece of peasant furniture, a milking stool. This is then augmented with simple, playfully assembled carved forms, thus becoming anthropomorphic and evoking the figure of the grandmother in an emblematic way. The assembly of the elements, which are made out of different types of wood, rewrites the theme in a surprising way, moving away both from folk woodcarving traditions and sculptural conventions and elevating the composition into a dreamy state. The sculpture seems to be traditionalist and experimental at the same time.
Pop culture, mediation, gender roles, and the image of the self were the basic motifs of Péter Sarkadi’s art in the late 1970s. He analysed the image of the star in his compositions: on the one hand, he performatively personified the character (using makeup even in normal life situations), while on the other hand he photographed and then drew or painted them in a distancing, hyperrealist manner.
Rainbow belongs to the series of these works. In this composition, the black and white photograph is directly blown onto the canvas, together with its attributes (perforation, brand), emphasizing the mediating process. The protagonist’s jewellery shimmers, while his flowing makeup is counterpointed with the colorful painted rainbow motif over the eyes.
Performances were a common amusement at the Estonian Student Building Brigade (ESBB). This draft was written for a production in 1982 ending a meeting of groups. The title of the production was Eesti Pidu (Estonian Party), and the scenario hints, among other things, at the lack of groceries in Soviet Estonia, which paradoxically did not stop people giving lavish parties. This was made possible by having the right acquaintances, or by using other clever practices. These topics could not be discussed openly, but it was possible to express them during the working summers of the ESBB. Thus, this scenario is a good example of the societal free space which the ESBB offered students.
- Tartu Nooruse 3, Estonia 50411
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The documentary endeavours of the Budapest School (a tendency in Hungarian filmmaking speared in the seventies which was dominated by a sociological point of view) prevail in this documentary-feature film, which is a “development novel” about György Cséplő, an intelligent and ambitious Roma boy, whose attempt to break out of his miserable existence offers a sketch of the situation of the Roma population in Hungary in the 1970s.
The director shot his situational documentary by setting the scene but then not interfering in the sequence of events (as long as one does not consider the presence of a camera a manner of interference). Schiffer wanted to make the documentary lively and current in order to enable the viewer to participate emotionally.
One of the most interesting diagnoses of the film (which harmonizes with the research of the legendary sociologist István Kemény) is that the poorest, most vulnerable groups of society live and think in the same way, Roma and non-Roma alike, so the so-called Roma question can be approached from the perspective of social stratification, not as an issue of race.
Produced by BBS and Hunnia Studio in 1978.
Galin Malakchiev was born in the family of a cavalry royal officer from Ruse, a circumstance that caused the talented sculptor troubles after the imposing of the communist power. Galin Malakchiev worked as an oxygen-welder at the construction of the St. St. Cyril and Methodius National Library. While doing his military service as a labour service man, he began his studies in architecture. Allowed to enrol in the "N. Pavlovich" Higher Institute of Fine Arts, G. Malakchiev studied one year but repeated it in order to be in Lyubomir Dalchev's class. In 1961, he graduated in sculpture in Dalchev's class.
He created easel and monumental sculptures and established himself as a vanguard sculptor breaking the dogma of the ideological plastic arts typical of that time – heroes with clenched fists carrying flying flags.
In 1964, the sculpture "Harlequin" was part of the National Exhibition of Sculpture and Graphics by the name of "Circus Artist". The rejection of firmness, the hyperbolic elegancy, the delicacy of the figure and its unstable stability all aim at reflection. However, exactly because of this, the sculpture was not only disputed by art critics such as Dimitar Ostoich, Spas Gergov, Veneta Ivanova and Ivan Funev but the author was accused of "formalism", "decorative end in itself" and "subjectivism". The first independent exhibition of Galin Malakchiev was in 1966 but it was closed in just four days. The artist refused to compromise and chose the way of internal emigration.
Accused of "decadence", "abstractionism" and "imitation", Malakchiev left the capital and in 1973 settled together with his wife Tsvetana in the village of Batuliya, near the town of Svoge. There he created some of his most famous works of art but his restricted financial resources limited him to only small sculptures.
In 1982, Malakchiev had an independent exhibition in the building of the UBA. It won him the first prize in easel plastic arts in the name of Marko Markov.
After 1989, there were several exhibitions dedicated to Galin Malakchiev: in 2001 at the Rayko Aleksiev Gallery, in 2009 at the National Gallery and the last one in 2011 at the Sredets Gallery. None of them was accompanied by a study on his creative work. The sculpture "Harlequin", included in the exhibition "Forms of Resistance", is evaluated as "the first total artistic resistance against the socialist realism in sculpture, a revolt not only against its plastic stereotypes but against its nature – the attempt at replacing the divine. [...] The spiritual essence of this creature is completely different; it doesn't feed on Marxist ideology, on party slogans which give birth to cast-iron and granite heroes. Its origins should be found in the divine breath." (Iliev 2016: 141)
So far, there is no monograph published on Galin Malakchiev's work.
- Sofia, Bulgaria
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