artist / participant


press release

Szabolcs KissPál. From Fake Mountains to Faith (Hungarian Trilogy)
23.11.2017 - 20.01.2018

From Fake Mountains to Faith (Hungarian Trilogy), examines the complex and shifting relationship between the quite recent authoritarian turn and development of "illiberal" Hungarian state policy and the political and cultural philosophy that operates as its ideological basis. Budapest-based Szabolcs KissPál’s project problematises the distinctions which have been drawn between various strains of political thought held by right-wing (Christian-) conservative political parties on the subject of this national question. And he demonstrates how the current re-emergence of irredentist symbolism and the discourse of "revisionist nationalism" and reconciliation holds a sustained and systematic place in politics. Through counter-fictionalisation (operating as the "potential to deconstruct the myth from within") as its methodology, the docu-fiction project presents an analysis of the formation of national mythologies, their persistence and changing role in both political and everyday representation. With an interest in the relation between ethnicity, nation formation, and nationalism, KissPál’s approach is corrective to past and present intellectual orthodoxies. It also addresses the main issues of national religion—that synchretic mix of elements from folk Christianity and Neopaganism—and their penetration into all aspects of everyday life.

From Fake Mountains to Faith (Hungarian Trilogy) is made up of two docu-fiction videos: Amorous Geography (2012) and The Rise of the Fallen Feather (2016), and an installation The Chasm Records (2016) that presents a fictitious museum setting. Within a larger historical and cultural framework, the work establishes interconnections between the three major elements of the state philosophy in question: the symbolism of the "ethnic landscape" and political geography; the romantic historiography of national myths of origin; and Turanism, a re-emerging form of political religion.

Szabolcs KissPál (1967) was born in Marosvásárhely, Romania, and is based in Budapest, Hungary. He works in various media, from photography and video, to installation, objects and public interventions. His main field of interest lies in the intersection between new media, visual arts, and social issues. He currently teaches at the University of Fine Arts Budapest, and he was a studio leader at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia from 2013–15.

KissPál’s works have been presented at the Venice Biennale, ISCP New York, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Seoul International Media Art Biennale, and are in the collections of the Ludwig Museum for Contemporary Art Budapest, the National Museum for Contemporary Art Bucharest, the Muzeum Współczesne Wrocław, and the Kaddist Art Foundation Paris. The artist developed a collaborative activist practice between 2012–2015, establishing and maintaining the NO MMA multilingual blog about Hungarian culture and politics. He is one of the founders of the protest group Free Artist.

The trilingual, English/Hungarian/ German publication From Fake Mountains to Faith (Hungarian Trilogy) by Szabolcs KissPál will be launched on January 12, 2018 at 5pm at Project Arts Centre with kind support of Goethe-Institut Irland.

This 256-page book is edited by Edit Molnár and Zoltán Kékesi and published by Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art, Oldenburg and Revolver Press, with the support of Edith-Russ-Haus, Goethe-Institut Budapest, and Cluj Napoca. Together with the analytical and critical essays, interviews, texts by Edit András, Zoltán Kékesi, and Szabolcs KissPál, and documents representing the project from several perspectives, the listing and description of the objects as “archaeological finds” of The Chasm Records constitutes the core of the book. The publication will be presented by Szabolcs KissPál and Edit Molnár, director Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art.

The presentation of the work in Dublin was organized by Lívia Páldi, Curator of Visual Arts at Project Arts Centre.

From Fake Mountains to Faith (Hungarian Trilogy) was produced with the help of the Grant for Media Art of the Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art Oldenburg and Stiftung Niedersachsen. The project has been presented at the Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art, Cluj-Napoca, Kostka Gallery – Meatfactory, Prague, and most recently at OFF-Biennale Budapest.

Project Arts Centre is supported by the Arts Council and Dublin City Council.