press release

Pawel Althamer, Gerard Byrne, István Csákány, Marine Hugonnier, Tamás Kaszás, Ádám Kokesch, Chris Marker, Anna Molska, Deimantas Narkevicius, Panamarenko, Daniel Roth, Saso Sedlacek, Jane and Louise Wilson

Curated by Hajnalka Somogyi Project management: Hajnalka Somogyi and Thomas Trummer (Siemens Stiftung)

The exhibition of the works by international contemporary artists deals with the European and North-American culture of the 1945–1989 period, in order to present how the atmosphere of the Cold War era with its scientific facts, ideologies or apocalyptic visions has become a deep and inspiring source of artistic creativity and contemporary culture.

Through works by international contemporary artists, the exhibition considers the European and North-American culture of the 1945-1989 period from a specific viewpoint. Darkened by anxiety and competition, the utopia of the Cold War period were often fueled by scientific achievements and technological developments, be it about cities for future societies, the infocommunication revolution, or the arms and space race. Exact scientific facts and precise, inanimate machines, filtered through fantasy, artistic creativity, social tensions and political ideologies or phobias, turned into peculiar, in cases optimistic, in others threatening or even apocalyptic visions of late modernity. As a result of the political changes and incredible technological advancement of the last two decades, nowadays this myth does not seem to fade; to the contrary, it has become a deep, fertile soil for contemporary culture.

The videos, drawings and installations in this exhibition conjure up this period and its culture: scientific theories, visions of the future, obscure stories. The artists shot in once secret and by now closed-down sites, in a nuclear rocket launch base or a cosmonaut training center; designed robots and vehicles for the future themselves; re-created scientific experiments or re-staged prophecies by famous SF writers. However their authors got inspired though, these works propel one not that much to rove into the past but to reflect on the presence of this chapter of Euro-Atlantic history and culture today: why it is still important if it is at all; and why it is so fascinating, even if sometimes it seems obsolete, disheartening, or foolishly naïve.

The exhibition is a collaboration of Ludwig Museum Budapest and Siemens Stiftung.

The Science of Imagination
Curator: Hajnalka Somogyi

Artists: Pawel Althamer, Gerard Byrne, Istvan Csakany, Marine Hugonnier, Tamas Kaszas, Adam Kokesch, Chris Marker, Anna Molska, Deimantas Narkevicius, Panamarenko, Daniel Roth, Saso Sedlacek, Jane & Louise Wilson