Art in an unexpected manner

Article published on July 16, 2009
community published
Article published on July 16, 2009
There is a new gallery opened in Budapest - Prater u. 28. I really recommend to check it out if you are interested in places in the making, which aim at bringing people together and producing trust in a very interesting way. The gallery is in the 8th district, which is known in Budapest as the Roma district. It is very centrally located, but many houses are in a poor condition.
Very different people live there: some are rather poor, but richer people move into the newly built houses as developers are discovering the area. Many students also live there, as it is affordable and interesting.

This is how the PRESENT gallery is presenting itself:

The PRESENT contemporary arts place at the heart of 8th district is opening its gates in the colourful, rapidly changing and developing ambient of the Práter street. As its environment, this small gallery is also amidst vast changes, transformations. The exhibition is free of charge. There is noone-and-no-reason to guard the works, the PRESENT is open! The works do not require protection because they can protect themselves. This is what we ask of the artists: what makes unstealable art unstealable? Unlike the establisged institutions with slow reaction time, PRESENT promotes the present, hence the free interactive flow of things and events. These features are much more important for us, than the elaborate planning of or the accurate execution of any given program. You just simply have to be present! PRESENT is as much a ground, as a workshop and a duvet: a place for creation and reception. A convergence point against yesterday and tomorrow. PRESENT to present present presence that is: served fresh, and free. Something originating from itself, not from the past, not from the future, it is enough to come to a halt, or to wake up. You have to be present, there are no other expectations. It unites our presences and makes them visible. We do this because we are not just materials and we do not only consume. The PRESENT is a safe haven for those crazy enough not to be satisfied with what has already happened and what will happen in the future but who want to seek out each other while their future-bending will becomes self-propelling. Those who have been put in the picture can break the frame! Now you are free to decide what contemporary art is. For us it is a presence-creating carpet: self-magnetizing, communal. Temporary website:

There is a cosy cafe nearby, which is run by a fascinating couple, an Italian-Egyptian man and a Hungarian woman, and David, who is managing the gallery, is hoping to have a permanent agreement with them that visitors can take the key for the gallery in the cafe (leaving their ID as a deposit), take a look at the gallery and return the key. This level of trust is rare in Hungary, and it is very important in this district, associated by the mainstream with crime and relative insecurity. David, whom I know quite well, also says that art was previously inaccessible for people in the neighbourhood. Now they can experience contemporary art in a very casual and liberating way.

The cafe is itself a very interesting space. It is partly inside, partly outside. Adriano, who manages the cafe, says they are planning something to make it suitable for winter time as well. If you go there, don't miss the chance to taste their "Sahara drink" - the amount of martini to be mixed into it is negotiable :) I was at a very good concert there on Monday.

Sad to leave Budapest, but it's inevitable.