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Situated on the beautiful River Danube, Budapest is already a well-established cultural hotspot, home to a plethora of architectural treasures, museums, entertainment venues and popular coffee houses. It is also one of the best cities in which to encounter the latest trends in Hungarian and Central Eastern European art. These are ten of the best contemporary art galleries to be found in Budapest.
One of the best places in Budapest to buy photography, Vintage Galéria displays both modern and contemporary works by local artists. Highlights from their contemporary collection include the visual trickery created by Pál Szacsva Y through superimposing images onto each other, and Dezső Szabó’s bold depictions of man-made and natural events. A healthy presence of humour is apparent in many of the photographs, like the playful landscape art of Tibor Gyenis, or the eccentric black and white portraits by Gábor Gerhes. Vintage Galéria also represents artists who experiment with new media, such as Gábor Ősz, who has worked with inkjet and digital prints. Of additional interest are several books on modern and contemporary photography published by the gallery.
Vintage Galéria, 1052 Budapest, Magyar utca 26, Hungary, +36 1 337 0584
One of Budapest’s more established contemporary art galleries, Deák Erika Galéria has been operating in the city since 1998. It primarily represents painters who produce works to suit a variety of tastes. Their painting styles range from striking op art by the likes of József Bullás to realistically detailed bird’s eye views by Levente Baranyai. Prominent national and international artists have exhibited their work here, such as Spaniard Antoni Muntadas, whose mixed media projects focus on socio-political topics, like the relationship between public and private space.
Deák Erika Galéria, 1061 Budapest, Mozsár utca 1, Hungary, +36 1 201 3740
Founded in 2002 by András Böröcz and László Böröcz, 2B Galéria was initially located in Budapest’s District 3, before moving to District 9 in 2006. The gallery’s multi-disciplinary exhibitions cover a broad subject range, encouraging intellectual thought and debate. Past shows have included an exploration of audiovisual perception for blind and partially sighted audiences and a display of works created by the relations of Hungarian artist Béla Fekete Nagy (1904-1983). The brain and nervous system was the theme of a recent Kardos Botond (1949-2010) showing, interested in the secrets of the brain scientists were still trying to understand. The artist, known simply as BOTOND, had tackled this subject matter with medically themed paintings and charcoal drawings, as well as surgical-looking sculptures sewn from laminated polyethylene.
2B Galéria, Dist. 9, 1092 Budapest, Ráday utca 47, Hungary, +36 20 993 9361
Swiss art historian and curator Patrick Urwyler and Hungarian sociologist Bogi Mittich founded Chimera-Project as a mechanism for international exchange. Having worked in several art institutions in Bern, Berlin and Budapest, they opened this Hungarian space as an exciting showcase for their mission. Urwyler and Mittich encourage international collaboration through introducing global artists in their Budapest gallery and conversely organising shows for Hungarians abroad. One such collaboration has been with Bratislava-based SODA Gallery for the exhibition Skydivers, Brides & Wheels (2014), featuring works by the prominent artists Viktor Frešo, Lucia Tallová and Milan Vagač. Chimera-Project promotes a diverse range of talents, such as Gábor Koós, who documents places through bold black and white ink prints, and Zsófia Keresztes, who enriches her life-like sculptures with a crafty sense of humour.
Stúdió Galéria is the permanent exhibition space for Budapest’s Studio of Young Artists Association (SYAA). It promotes current, progressive projects and gives artistic newcomers an opportunity to organise their first solo shows. Stúdió Galéria is well known as the location for the first significant exhibitions in the careers of many of today’s elite Hungarian contemporary artists. Since 1991 the gallery and SYAA have been organising the Gallery by Night series of exhibitions. For this event Stúdió Galéria opens at night for several days, presenting fresh shows each evening by SYAA members and guests from their exchange programmes. A further way in which the gallery attracts a wider audience is through its programme of lectures, discussions and performances, which tackle subjects like the Eurozone financial crisis, or present new works by emerging artists.
Stúdió Galéria, 1077 Budapest, Rottenbiller u. 35, Hungary, +36 1 342 5380
Founded in 2003, acb Galéria showcases progressive contemporary art in Hungary and abroad. It provides a platform for innovative mid-career and emerging artists who work in both traditional and new media. One such artist is Hungarian Róbert Batykó, who has already won several awards in spite of his young age for his paintings in a street art style. Batykó’s past exhibitions for the gallery have featured unwanted and discarded objects as the focal points in his montage compositions, brought to life by a clever use of light. Group shows also play an important role at acb Galéria, which are often guest-curated around themes such as artists’ relationships with digital technologies in Hungarian art of the 1990s.
acb Galéria, 1068 Budapest, Király utca 76, Hungary, +36 1 413 7608
Since opening in 2006, Kisterem has received both national and international recognition for its cutting-edge contribution to Budapest’s art scene. It hosts inspiring, and sometimes unusual, exhibitions like Ádám Albert’s 2014 installation exploring the history of aluminium in Hungary. The gallery represents local artists who work in a variety of media, from Kamilla Szíj’s intricately beautiful pencil and ink drawings to Tamás Kaszás’ multi-textured models, made out of everyday materials. Kisterem has participated in several major art fairs over the years, including Art Rotterdam, LISTE Basel, Viennafair, Art Cologne, FIAC Paris and Frieze London.
Kisterem, 1053 Budapest, Képíró utca 5, Hungary, +36 1 267 0522