János Baksa Soós Special Collection
Budapest Úri utca 54, Hungary 1014
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Name of collection
- János Baksa Soós Special Collection
Provenance and cultural activities
János Baksa Soós was one of the most well-known figures in subcultural circles at the turn of the 1960s and 1970s in Budapest. He utilized his hilarious social humour, which is based on situation comedy, as the singer of the Kex group. The band had a large fan club which consisted mostly of intellectuals. The secret service picked up on their activities, and the frontman soon became a person of interest.
His stage actions were based on improvisation, which resonated well in his milieu: in the documentary shot about the Kex group (A ship flown away in the wind, 1998) many people quote his stage improvisations word for word some thirty years later. He was not only entertaining during his performances. According to people’s recollections, he constantly transformed everyday situations into actions, creating contacts with those present under any circumstances.
He was a leader in his circles. His attitude as a medium gave an impression of liberty, and as one of his old friends put it, this was “an ethical freedom, an aspiration towards good”. However, the authorities interpreted his manifestations as audacity and seditious behaviour, so they monitored him and even chastised him on several occasions.
He left Hungary for West Germany in 1971. He studied art in Essen and in Düsseldorf, and he then settled in Berlin. In Berlin, he founded a school based on his understanding of Native American values (“come to know the environment, get in touch with it, be in a good relationship with”). He then got involved in samurai training (“verbal and physical life-defence”). Since then, he has published under the penname Prince January.
Interpreting art as a cosmic technology, he propagated a creative program based on his worldview, which he developed in the Native American school. He considers our time as the space-age, the art of which combines all knowledge and teaches mankind to be in harmony with all existing elements of the cosmos. He created an array of paintings, drawings, sculptures, jewels, poems, texts and musical compositions, specifying his social status as an artist-parson.
“We live in a changing era, the age of the homo sapien is over. I am not interested anymore in his disputes, they have gone to the Museum of Military History. The new worldview is a coherent system, its equal agents are the stars, our plant and beetle colleagues, our fellow-man… We have to notice that we operate the universe together, the basic tone of which is exhilaration.”A significant part of his oeuvre (paintings and sculptures) was purchased by the King St. Stephen Museum in 2012. Works made with the use of non-traditional technologies (manuscripts, music, slides) were made part of the Tamás Cseh Archive in 2016, a move initiated by András Cseh in cooperation with the family of János Baksa Soós. Processing, digitalization and publication of the materials has begun.
Description of content
Part of the oeuvre of János Baksa Soós (the small sculptures and the large paintings) were made part of the collection of the King St. Stephen Museum in 2012, and his copybooks, minidiscs, slides, tapes, videos have been held as a special collection in the Tamás Cseh Archive since 2016. Digital processing of the materials is ongoing, and an expanding compilation of his drawings, slides, texts and music is available at the internet page of the archive.
During his Berlin years, Prince January worked out a unique artistic program based on his worldview developed within his Native American school. This program finds expression in a wide variety of mediums, including music, painting, text, slides, jewellery, and sculpture. These formats constitute a coherent body of work dealing with aspects of the same themes, optimizing the methods for the cosmic existence of man.
He arranged his small size sculptures into constellations, and then he illuminated them and recorded these scenes on slides. He composed auratic music as accompaniment to the series of images created in this manner. He developed a special music language sung without concrete words, in which he aims to mirror the spirit of the elements (like water or the planet itself). These compositions were made using analogue means (acoustic guitar, gong, chime, singing, whistling). Hundreds of tapes and minidiscs are awaiting digitalization on the shelves of the archive.
His copybooks called Deck-diaries contain text-meditations (according to him, they come to more than 35,000 pages). They are playful shorter texts, accompanied by drawings, in sync with his conviction that art should be uplifting, colourful and pretty.In January’s opinion, the task of the artist is to enrich life and help produce a mind cleansing “magic matter” which integrates all forms of knowledge and which helps people appreciate all living beings as equal. “It became my personal objective to represent galaxies, animals, planets, minerals, suns, plants, and stars as individual, friendly creatures”.
- artifacts: 10-99
- graphics: 500-999
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 1000-
- music recordings: 100-499
- paintings: 10-99
- photos: 500-999
Stakeholder(s) of the collection
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- visits by appointments
Author(s) of this page
- Beöthy, Balázs
Zoltán, Trencsényi. "Január Herceg." NOL.hu. Last modified May 19, 2007. http://nol.hu/archivum/archiv-447064-254520.
Cseh, András, interview by Beöthy, Balázs, May 23, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection