It is the undisguised aim of contemporary art museums to engage the present. This is true not only in regard to their fundamental task of collecting works, but also in terms of their functionality. Collecting and exhibiting institutions must provide opportunities that are in line with todays expectations for the presentation of art, and for other kinds of experiences and services that art museums have begun to offer. New strategies are constantly being developed to engage visitors with the latest mediation techniques and by using the language and terminology of the current moment.
The Ludwig Museum
in Budapest is no exception. The museum's intent is to be an authentically pluralistic institution, by providing a framework for both the artwork and its perception. And, like other contemporary art spaces, the museum takes current artistic practice as a starting point as we ask and answer:
What makes an artwork relevant? What do new artistic approaches mean in a museum? How should a museum relate to, or embrace, a presentation practice that makes room for the artwork and its context, as well as for the sensibility of our time?
The exhibition is organized around the past twenty-five years of research from the Boston-based BarabásiLab, whose work focuses on the search for mostly unseen connections behind various phenomena. By revealing and analyzing repetitive patterns, Barabásis work demonstrates the true interconnectedness of all things, from nature and society to culture and art.
The exhibition provides an overview of ongoing research processes and analyses at the BarabásiLab, among them the display of The Art Network, which depicts relationships between artists and institutions, and the timely topic of how the Covid-19 pandemic impacts human communication. Ultimately, Hidden Patterns is about bringing the spirit of network thinking closer to the world of art and to a broader, interested audience.
Barabásis visualizations are in many respects already present in the potential tool kit of contemporary art. They are harbingers of an opportunity and a potential it would be foolish for us to ignore.
Albert-László Barabási is part of a great tradition of Hungarian art and science. In Hidden Patterns, we see the convergence of science and art, which is so typical of the best part of European culture. If we have a closer look at the field of art, we realize that the scientifically based art movements such as Constructivism, Bauhaus, and De Stijl are all enriched by the pivotal contributions of Hungarian artists. (Peter Weibel)
An English-language catalogue is available published by Hatje Cantz.
After Budapest, the exhibition will be on view in ZKM Zentrum für Kunst und Medien Karlsruhe from 27 February until 8 of August 2021.
Curator: József Készman, Head of Collection and Exhibition Department, Ludwig Museum