Artpool Performance Archive
Artpool Art Research Center collects, archives, and makes available documents for researchers regarding marginalized art practices of Hungary in the 1970s and 1980s and contemporary international art tendencies. Topics in the archive include progressive, unofficial Hungarian art movements (such as underground art events, venues, groups, and samizdat publications between 1970 and 1990) and new tendencies in international art beginning in the 1960s.
In addition to functioning as a research center, Artpool considers itself an active archive. It organizes events in search of new forms of social activity, participates in the process in a formative way, and simultaneously documents and archives these process in order to promote the free flow of information.
Budapest, Szabolcs utca 33.
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Name of collection
- Artpool Performance Archive
Provenance and cultural activities
The Performance archive of Artpool Art Research Center consists of the documentation of happenings, action art, performance art, and experimental theater events. The core of the Performance collection concerns the documenting and art-organizing activity of György Galántai and the events in his Chapel Studio in Balatonboglár in the early 1970s. The performative events which took place in Balatonboglár are heavily researched today and often cited examples in the special literature on the topic.
In 1979, with the Artpool project, György Galántai and Júlia Klaniczay began the construction of an archive of avantgarde art. Galántai made and collected photographic and audio documents of illegal and semi-official art events, exhibitions, and lectures. From the perspective of the performative genres, the most important venues were the University Stage, FMK (The Young Artists’ Club), Bercsényi, Szkéné Theater, Kossuth Club, and the exhibition openings. Galántai documented the activities of Miklós Erdély, the INDIGO group, Tibor Hajas, Gyula Pauer, János Szirtes, László fe Lugossy, and the Xertox group, etc. Among foreign artists visiting Budapest and performing there, Anna Banana, Joan Jonas, and Min Tanaka are worthy of note. Galántai met them all in person and documented their activities.
In 1992, Artpool Art Research Center launched a research project on happenings, action art, and performance art (i.e. event-based art forms) based partly on the documents of László Beke and Annamária Szőke’s research. Beke and Szőke (both art historians) were officially commissioned to edit a book on performance art at the beginning of the 1980s. To this end, between 1983 and 1985 they circulated a questionnaire among the artists the key concept of which was artwork as performance. They collected materials on artistic practices in which the creation of the artwork itself or its reception had a performative aspect. The book was never published, but the artists’ responses and the documentation sent to the editors became part of the Performance database of Artpool (under the name “HAP,” which stands for happening, action art, and performance).
From the viewpoint of performance art, the year 1995 is of particular importance. In the series of thematic years at Artpool, 1995 was dedicated to the topic of performance art (after a period of intensive research on Fluxus and the work of Miklós Erdély). Artpool issued a request for artists to add to its database of performances. In the framework of this thematic year, several events were organized, for example lectures on the history and theory of the genre, performances by invited artists, and talks.This thematic year also made possible the enlargement of the performance section of Artpool’s library and the founding of a collection of performance videos. In connection with the latter, there were two ten-day-long festivals of performance videos entitled “Video expedition in the performance-world” at Újkapolcs Gallery in Kapolcs and later that same year at Artpool in Budapest (as part of the Budapest Autumn Festival).
Description of content
György Galántai and Júlia Klaniczay collected the documents of all events that were excluded from the official, state-supported culture and were avantgarde or experimental. In Artpool’s unique collection, alongside the happenings, action art, and performance art, the activities of several experimental theater groups and creators can also be studied. With the founding of the Artpool Art Research Center, the work of collecting and documenting art events continued after the change of the political system (and continues today).
The heart of the collection is a database consisting of Hungarian artists’ performances which were held in Hungary or abroad and performances by foreign artists in Hungary. (There are currently around 2,700 records in the database.) The researchable materials are invitation cards, photos, scripts, audio recordings, and videos. The thematic book collection consists of more than 500 books, several catalogues, and numerous articles. The collection is unique in Hungary, since there is hardly any material on this topic in other collections and libraries. Moreover, it is only at Artpool where special periodicals on the topic (e.g. Plateau, Inter/Art Actuel) can be studied. A bibliography (until 2003), a definition of terms, and a link to Artpool’s video channel on YouTube can be found on the homepage.
The Performance archive overlaps with the other sections of the archive, mainly the alternative music collection (e.g. Gergely Molnár’s lecture on David Bowie, the scenic actions at the concerts of Spions, János Szirtes’s performances at the concerts of Európa Kiadó, etc.) and the literary collection (e.g. the poetry performances of the live journals: Fölöspéldány, Lélegzet, activities of Endre Szkárosi and Katalin Ladik). Because of the nature of the documents, there is also some overlap with the photo, sound, and video collection.
Among the publications on the topic, the earliest ones are the reports of AL (Artpool Letter) on performances and experimental theater performances. After the change of the system, Artpool published books and booklets concerning the topic of performance art and experimental theater (see the list in the “Publications” section).The video collection consists of approximately 400 digitalized video cassettes, some of which document several performances. The videos of the performance archive contain cultural news from 1989–1990, documentations of performance festivals (AnnArt, Polyphonix, Small Hungarian Performance Festivals at Szentendre, Expanzió, gatherings organised by Magyar Műhely journal, Transart Communiction festivals), recordings of performances (which were given to the collection by artists or exchanged with the archive of Műcsarnok), “live” (literary) journals (Új Hölgyfutár Revue from the 1990s, Akkezdet Phiai in 2008), video interviews with artists, portraitures (eg. Katalin Ladik), digitalized films (e.g. the first Hungarian happening The Lunch. In memoriam of Batu Khan originally filmed on S8).
- memorabilia (posters, flyers, stamps, etc.): 100-499
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 1000-
- video recordings (including oral history recordings): 500-999
- voice recordings (including oral history recordings): 100-499
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
Budapest, Frankel Leó út 68/b.
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- AL (Actual / Alternative / Artpool Letter), 1983-1985. Samizdat journal
- Klaniczay, Júlia. The Mukhina Project, 2018. Book
- Kántor, István (Monty Cantsin). Ámen!: Filliou séance, 2 June 1998, Artpool P60. Performance
- Lebel, Jean-Jacques. Hommage a Robert Filliou, 4 April, 1998, Artpool P60. Performance
- visits by appointments
Galántai György – Klaniczay Júlia (eds.): Galántai - Lifeworks 1968-1993, Artpool – Enciklopédia Kiadó, Budapest, 1996, B/5, 320 pages, offset, 1500 numbered copies, copies 1-300 are collector copies signed and individualized by the artist.
Galántai, György – Klaniczay, Júlia (eds.). ARTPOOL – The Experimental Art Archive of East-Central Europe. History of an active archive for producing, networking, curating, and researching art since 1970, Artpool, Budapest, 2013, 535 p. http://www.artpool.hu/2013/Artpool_book_en.html
Kaprow, Allan: Assemblage, environmentek & happeningek [Assemblage, Environments & Happenings], edited by and afterword: Annamária Szőke, Artpool booklets, Artpool, Budapest, 1996, 42 p.
Kaprow, Allan: Assemblage, environmentek & happeningek [Assemblage, Environments & Happenings], Artpool — Balassi Kiadó — BAE Tartóshullám, Budapest, 1998, 75 p.
Klaniczay Júlia (ed..): A Muhina projekt. Létértelmezések Galántai György életművében/ The Mukhina Project. Interpretations of Being in György Galántai's oeuvre, Vintage Galéria, Budapest, 2018, 146 p.
Klaniczay Júlia – Sasvári Edit (eds.). Törvénytelen avantgárd. Galántai György balatonboglári kápolnaműterme [Illegal Avantgarde, Chapel Studio of György Galántai in Balatonboglár], Artpool-Balassi, Budapest, 2003, A4, 459 p. online publication: http://www.artpool.hu/books/pdf/torvenytelen_avantgard.pdf
Klaniczay, Júlia – Szőke, Annamária (eds.): FLUXUS. Interjúk, szövegek, események-esetek [FLUXUS: Interviews, texts, events], Artpool–Ludwig Múzeum, Budapest, 2008, 350 p.
Maciunas, George: Írások, diagramok [Writings, Diagrams], Artpool booklets, Artpool, Budapest, 1998, 24 p.
Szkárosi, Endre (eds.): Hangköltészet [Sound Poetry], Artpool booklets, Artpool, Budapest, 1994, 42 p.
Szőke Annamária (ed.): Performance-művészet [Performance Art], Artpool-Balassi, Budapest, 2000Video-Expedition in the Performance-World, Artpool, Budapest, 1995 (A4, offset, 32 pages, English– Hungarian). Catalog of the performance-video festivals organized by Artpool and summary of the Year of Performance including description of, and information on, the videos, photographs, brief introductory notes by some experts of the topic, with index. Edited by Júlia Klaniczay, designed by György Galántai
Author(s) of this page
- Schuller, Gabriella
- Bryzgel, Amy: Performance Art in Eastern Europe since 1960, Manchester UP, Manchester, 2016
- Cseh-Varga, Katalin: The Hungarian Avant-Garde in Late Socialism: Art of the Second Public Sphere, I. B. Tauris, London, 2018.
- Cseh-Varga, Katalin – Czirak, Adam (eds.): Performance Art in the Second Public Sphere. Event-Based Art in Late Socialist Europe, Routledge, London, 2018Kemp-Welch, Klara: Antipolitics in Central European Art. I. B. Tauris, London, 2014