press release

Opening: Friday, July 4, 2008, 7 p.m.


In his work, Miklós Erhardt explores artistic potential in terms of socio-political and economic issues. Using interventionist and documentary methods he creates social situations that become the point of origin for further observations. His projects are often developed in collaboration with other artists, most notably within the context of Big Hope, an artist group which he co-founded in 1998 ( In his participatory projects he engages with individual perception on the part of specific groups of economic and political reality as well as with the lack of representation of underprivileged people such as the homeless, migrants or inhabitants of run-down districts. The particular situation in Hungary as a post-socialist country subject to a radical period of readjustment since 1989 is dealt with in like manner, as are the effects of globalisation on the labour market and diverse local communities.

The video documentation HAVANNA (2006) and the installation FOOTNOTE TO BARE LIFE—26 CARDBOARD BOXES THAT CONTAIN (ARGUABLY) ALL MY STUFF TO DATE (2008) form the central focus of the exhibition TEMPORARY SETTINGS in the Secession. Both works deal thematically with differing aspects of mobility, social status and socio-political parameters as well as with state-controlled surveillance of public space and of private voyeurism.

HAVANNA was originally conceived by Miklós Erhardt as a social research project and developed during the process into a series of immediate reflections on the potential and validity of artistic interventions in sensitive social settings. Havanna is a housing complex from the 1970s on the periphery of Budapest, about which numerous negative as well as racist myths proliferate: it is considered to be a dangerous ghetto inhabited by the social underclass where drug trafficking and prostitution flourish. Erhardt rented and renovated one of the several empty local shops for a couple of months. In this way he could integrate himself into the local community and was able to counter the abounding clichés about Havanna with a more differentiated image in his documentation.

Whereas it is scarcely possible for the inhabitants of Havanna to move out on account of their poverty, the work FOOTNOTE TO BARE LIFE—26 CARDBOARD BOXES THAT CONTAIN (ARGUABLY) ALL MY STUFF TO DATE exhibited in the Secession showcase highlights the theme—amongst other things—of mobility currently demanded by the labour market. At the same time it can be read as a playful manipulation of a kind of »existential minimalism«. Both works are placed in relation to one another in an installational presentation especially created for the Secession.

A catalogue accompanies the exhibition with texts by Edit Molnár and Hajnalka Somogyi.

MIKLÓS ERHARDT, born 1966 in Budapest, lives and works in Budapest.

SOLO EXHIBITIONS(Selection): 2007 Béni soit qui bon y pense, Studio Protocoll, Cluj Napoca (with Miklós Mécs and Judit Fischer); The Social Engine – Exploring Flexibility, Stúdió Galéria, Budapest (with the artist group Reinigungsgesellschaft); 2006 With or Without Me, Galerija SKC, Belgrade; 2004 The Society of the Spectacle, Liget Galéria, Budapest; 2002 Manafest, Műcsarnok-Kunsthalle, Budapest (with Tibor Várnagy); 1999 L.A.B, Stúdió Galéria, Budapest.

GROUP SHOWS (Selection): 2008 Revolution I Love You. 1968 in Art, Politics and Philosophy CACT - Thessalonica Centre for Contemporary Art, Thessalonica; 2007 The Other City, Romanian Cultural Institute, New York; On the Outside, ACC Gallery, Weimar; »Arrivals</hungary«,>

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Miklos Erhardt
Grafisches Kabinett and Vitrine (Undergroundpassage Karlsplatz)