The exhibition Folded–Unfolded presents a specific genre of a particular era: abstract painting by Hungarian artists from the 1960s and the 1970s

Sungkok Art Museum – Seoul, 42 Gyeonghuigung-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
27 Aug 2022, 10:00 – 15 Oct 2022, 18:00

The exhibition Folded – Unfolded presents a specific genre of a particular era: abstract painting by Hungarian artists from the 1960s and the 1970s. The exhibition aims at helping the audience discover the characteristics of abstraction in this given historical and geographical context. We present the Hungarian artists and their works in Korea, a country with different traditions, however, with a similarly strong connection to the notion of abstraction. Furthermore, the exhibition will appear in a contemporary setting connected to Frieze Seoul 2022 and Kiaf (Korean International Art Fair) Seoul 2022. Immersing ourselves into the different interpretative frameworks and the characteristic utilisation of materials and motifs will facilitate the understanding of differences and similarities. The possibility to relate Hungarian artists’ works with the artistic practice of Korean creators and artists from a diverse, international background will help the viewer discern the uniqueness of Hungarian art and illuminate the characteristics of abstraction in the East.

The show draws upon works from the recently established, carefully curated collection of the Central Bank of Hungary (Magyar Nemzeti Bank, or MNB). In Folded – Unfolded, we are pleased to present an exclusive selection showcasing the pinnacle of Hungarian abstraction with the inclusion of widely-known, influential names and some newly re-discovered artists. The works of the selected painters give the viewer an overview of the historical and political background of the era and reveal the international networks of the artists. We present artists active in Budapest and Pécs in Hungary, but also artists, who had to leave the country due to political reasons, settling in France, Germany and other European countries following the Second World War or later, and inspired, informed or helped the “homestayers” in their developments.

The utilised materials and techniques reveal a wide range of choices. Paper, textile, tempera, enamel on metal or shaped canvas pieces widen the possibilities of abstraction besides the more classical, oil-on-canvas works. The colourfulness and experimental mind-set of Hungarian abstract artists working in these decades represents an attitude full of individual solutions, the qualities of which become valuable on the international platform of the exhibition. The title Folded – Unfolded alludes to the unknown and its discovery: to reveal a novelty, first we have to approach it openly and only then can we find the concealed layers of meaning.

The exhibition was organized by MNB Arts and Culture which handles the Central Bank of Hungary’s (Magyar Nemzeti Bank, MNB) collection of contemporary art.


Kinga Hamvai


Zsolt Petrányi, Sungah Serena Choo