press release

Travelling without moving is a joint venture by three independent exhibition spaces that takes place within the context of the European cultural programme ‘Hungary at the sea’. The collaboration between the curators of Amsterdam-based W139 and Studio Galeria and Trafo, both based in Budapest, has resulted in a multi-layered thematic exhibition, which will be presented at these three spaces in the period December 2004 - January 2005.

In the novel Death in Venice, Thomas Mann describes how on a rainy spring afternoon the main character Gustav von Aschenbach runs into an stranger – inconspicuous, but rucksacked and carrying a walking stick – whose presence overwhelms him with a feeling of restlessness. Upon seeing the man, Von Aschenbach is confronted with a feeling of ‘Fernweh’, an irrepressible urge to travel.

Nowadays many artists are confronted with another form of the necessity to travel. It has little in common with the inner urge that Von Aschenbach refers to, but everything to do with the practical requirements of exhibiting at various locations across the globe. Flying from here to there, these artists carry their studios in their heads, adapting to different settings and contexts with each new exhibition they participate in. As their stays abroad are often brief and functional, they are often prevented from experiencing a new setting to the full.

Furthermore, Edward Said has made us aware of the fact that how we experience a foreign reality is mainly determined by our subjective modes of perception, by our – often unconscious – prejudices.

The artists participating in ‘Travelling without moving’ were asked to realize a site-specific work while taking account of the aforementioned limitations. In their work they respond to specific characteristics of the location where they exhibit, with the full understanding that they are unlikely to fathom what makes this particular place unique - both the physical space and its socio-historical context.

Artist Tamas Kaszas, one of the participants in the show, formulated it as follows: "Very often, when you are invited to produce a work in a context you are not familiar with, you end up repeating and reproducing the ideas and stereotypes you wanted to avoid, because you simply do not get access to the culture you have been placed in, you do not know how to crack and decipher the codes."

The exhibitions in W139, Trafo en Studio Galeria are joined by a common theme, as well as being literally ‘united’ by an intervention by artist Gabriel Lester.


Travelling without Moving

mit Rosa Barba, Erick Beltran, Attila Csörgo, Sagi Groner, Tibor Gyenis, Hermelinde Hergenhahn, Hendrik-Jan Hunneman, Tamas Kaszas, Jan Kempenaers, Szabolcs Kisspal, Little Warsaw (Andras Galik, Balint Havas), Adam Kokesh, Gabriel Lester, Attila Menesi, Thomas Mohr, Elske Neus, Janos Sugar, Raymond Taudin Chabot, Gyula Varnai, Anne de Vries, Edwin Zwakman

W139 Amsterdam
TRAFO House, Budapest
Studio Gallery, Budapest