Are you sure you want to leave? Selection from the OSTRALE Biennale O21 in Budapest

Selection from the OSTRALE Biennale O21 “Breathturn”
Art Quarter Budapest / March 19- May 22, 2022

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A fresh selection from the material of the OSTRALE Biennale O21 contemporary art exhibition in Dresden will be presented from 19th of March till 22th of May in the exhibition spaces of art quarter budapest (aqb), ‘inhabiting’ the entire building complex.

The latest edition of OSTRALE grew out of a call for proposals accompanied by an international curatorial collaboration, focusing on the multifaceted dilemma of degrowth in the context of visual art. This large-scale exhibition took place during the summer and autumn of 2021 with the participation of more than 130 exhibiting artists. Its unconventional main venue was the Robotron-Kantine, an emblematic building evocative of the GDR era, located almost in the baroque centre of the city, which was temporarily rehabilitated for the Biennale. The collective title of the exhibition eventually agreed on by the curators was Atemwende/Breathturn, which thematised the works of art loosely arranged in sections with its poetic and almost inescapable topical undertones. The Croatian, Lithuanian and Hungarian curatorial cooperation and the (East) German location gave rise to an exciting interplay of art scenes and positions. A contemporary art event that has the word ‘East’ in its name obviously bears geopolitical significance, and definitively reflects, beyond the dilemmas of the present, on the post-communist historical experience of the former Eastern bloc and beyond.

This cooperation was made possible in the framework of the Flowing Connections project (co-financed by the Creative Europe program of the European Union), which apart from the curatorial cooperation between the partners from the four countries, also included the Artist in Residence program in Dresden in 2021, and will continue during the autumn of 2022 as well, with an exhibition from the same material of the OSTRALE Biennale O21 in Lithuania, in the 2022 European Capital of Culture Kaunas, and a seminar on postindustrial cultural heritage in Split, Croatia.

The exhibition at aqb is entitled “Are you sure you want to leave?” We are curious: what happens after the symbolic and actual breathturn? Phrasing an undefined and perhaps unanswerable dilemma, articulating or, if you like, overcoming uncertainty, the new title creates a common ground for the works. It refers to emigration, to symbolic quitting. The exhibition also includes works by a number of artists making their debut in Hungary, telling local and regional, personal and general tales of loud or quiet conflicts, of animals and people, of power and values – usually with ironic morals. In a polyphony of voices and with gravity, the exhibition shows the poetic and quotidian nature of artistic activity, the heroisation of work, but also the satirical mockery of this very heroism, whether it is a characteristic of recent or current managerial capitalism.

When the exhibition received its title, paraphrasing that of Petra MRŠA’s video, what has since become terrifying reality – namely that the shocking events of war are now part of everyday life in Ukraine – still seemed to be a remote possibility. The selection of artists from 15 countries features two Ukrainians. Nikita Kadan’s Gazelka is a flag made out of a metal sheet from truck perforated by shrapnel in the Donbass region, and as such, it is an embodiment of the idea of the revolt of things. Larion Lozovoy’s video (The Machine and the Garden) uses landscape shots from a series of propaganda movies about Soviet collectivisation to expose the seemingly innocent relationship between nature and the heroes of the films.

Both as an art institution focusing on international dialogue and as a community, aqb strongly condemns military aggression and the invasion of Ukraine. We stand in solidarity with those suffering in the war.


Selection from the OSTRALE Biennale O21 “Breathturn”

Opening: 19.03.2022 Saturday 6 PM

Opening speech: Zsolt Miklósvölgyi, Editor-in-Chief of Artportal Magazine

On view: 20.03.2022 – 22.05.2022

Venue: art quarter budapest, Nagytétényi út 48-50., 1222 Budapest, Hungary

Curator: Krisztián Kukla

Curatorial team of the OSTRALE Biennale O21:

Nataša Bodrožić, Ivana Meštrov, Patricija Gilytė, Krisztián Kukla

Exhibiting artists: Seçkin AYDIN, Viktor BRIM, János BRÜCKNER, Gaby BURCKHARDT, Daniel BURKHARDT, Nadja BUTTERNDORF, Mauro CUPPONE, Abdoul-Ganiou DERMANI, Tibor DIETERS, Alexei DMITRIEV, Anna FABRICIUS, Zsolt FERENCZY, Michael HEINDL, Yuki JUNGESBLUT, Nikita KADAN, Neža KNEZ, KOLXOZ, Glorija LIZDE, Larion LOZOVOY, Dean MAASSEN, studio ASYNCHROME, Petra MRŠA, Sali MULLER, Csaba NEMES, Andrea PALÁSTI, Predrag PAVIĆ, Ghenadie POPESCU, Marko RODICS, Farid RASULOV, Sandra ROSENSTIEL, Goran ŠKOFIĆ, Lana STOJIĆEVIĆ, Kamen STOYANOV, Attila SZABÓ, Hajnal SZOLGA, József SZOLNOKI, Stipan TADIĆ, Philipp VALENTA, Arturas VALIAUGA, Vangjush VELLAHU, Xueying WANG, Yinglin ZHOU

Video-installation, screenings: Ana HUŠMAN, Endre KORONCZI, Kamen STOYANOV

Sound installation: Sarvenaz MOSTOFEY

Performance: Marko Gutić MIŽIMAKOV


OSTRALE – Centre for Contemporary Art (Germany), Kaunas 2022 (Lithuania), slobodne veze/ loose associations (Croatia)

Opening hours:

Monday: closed | Tuesday: 14:00 – 18:00 | Wednesday: 14:00 – 18:00 | Thursday: 14:00 – 20:00

Friday: 14:00 – 18:00 | Saturday: 12:00 – 16:00 | Sunday: closed | The exhibition is free of charge.


Nikita Kadan: Gazelka (2015)
KOLXOZ Collective
KOLXOZ Collective
KOLXOZ Collective
Slobodne veze/ Loose Associations (Nataša Bodrožić, Ivana Meštrov)
At the KOMBINAT designed by the KOLXOZ Collective
Exhibition opening
Exhibition view
Exhibition view
Exhibition view
Exhibition view
Exhibition view
Exhibition view
Exhibition view
Exhibition view
Marko Gutić Mižimakov, performance at the opening
Artists and curators at AQB

Budapest Brand, Goethe Institut Budapest, Nemzeti Kulturális Alap, Österreichisches Kulturforum Budapest. The exhibition is part of the Flowing Connections cooperation project, co-funded by the Creative Europe program of the European Union.

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