Ludwig Museum exhibits works by The Bosch+Bosch Group of Subotica
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Ludwig Museum exhibits works by The Bosch+Bosch Group of Subotica
Installation view. Photo: Balázs GLÓDI © Ludwig Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art, Archives.

BUDAPEST.- The Bosch+Bosch Group of Subotica (1969–1976) was one of those artistic collectives that sprung up across Europe and elsewhere in the world in the 1960s. Most of these were active in music, but quite a few engaged in the visual arts. We now look back on the group on the occasion of its being founded 50 years ago, as the second such collective in Yugoslavia.

There was no firm, unified and clearly laid out principle behind the establishment of the Bosch+Bosch Group; rather, it was a manifestation of a generation’s desire to reconsider the concept of art. As early as 1970, some of the group members already broke with such means of expression that were associated with the traditional understanding of art, and began to explore a territory that seemed exciting on account of its unfamiliarity—a field they called, for want of a better term, new art. For the group, “new” meant a general turn, a rejection of routine and tradition, the provincial stereotypes and values of their surroundings.

Visitors to the Budapest Ludwig Museum can get to know a historical material intriguingly rich in terms of its language and genres, running a wide gamut from artistic interventions in urban and natural environments, through land art, Arte Povera, project art, written and visual poetry, text-based and conceptual art, semiotics, artist’s strip cartoons, sound poetry, behavioural art, action art, performance art, and mail art, to artist’s books.

The Bosch+Bosch Group was active in Subotica, a city on the Hungarian border, occupying a special geopolitical position in Yugoslavia. The group’s character owed much to the cultural identity and bilingualism of the town, which had links with certain cells of Hungary’s progressive art in the 1960s and 1970s. The collective passed on the international values of the early Hungarian avant-garde to the South Slav region, and communicated the latter’s contemporary endeavours to the art scene of Hungary.

Bosch+Bosch was, effectively, a voice for the individual efforts of a few artists, attempting to institutionalize such neo-avant-garde ideologies in the given cultural and artistic milieu that stemmed from the modernist tradition of the 20th century. Two of its member, Katalin Ladik and Bálint Szombathy, went on to become significant artists.

With 500 exhibits, this display seeks to offer a comprehensive overview of the neo-avant-garde movement in Vojvodina, together with a look at similar endeavours in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as local precedents. This is the first time a retrospective has demonstrated the entire range of the group’s extremely complex output.

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