It is more than fifteen years since the British Council mounted a major exhibition of contemporary art in Hungary. Micro/Macro has been selected especially for Mucsarnok and will not tour after its ten week showing there. Kunsthalle Mucsarnok in central Budapest has over 2500 sq. metres of exhibition space. The galleries date to the early 1900s, and provide some of the most impressive and imposing galleries spaces to be found anywhere in Central Europe.
Micro/Macro presents more than a hundred works by twenty-one artists who have risen to prominence in the past ten years. The vast and lofty spaces of the galleries have made it possible to show a substantial group of works by each artist, as well as very large-scale new works by Mark Wallinger, Douglas Gordon and Mike Nelson. In addition to issues of scale, the title of the exhibition also denotes questions of focus: from the microcosmic view of the autobiographical work of Tracey Emin, to the macroscopic vision which characterises the work of Keith Tyson. The exhibition also includes the work of artists, such as Paul Noble and Chad McCail, who have invented highly complex imaginary worlds as a means of critiquing contemporary society. Micro/Macro brings together for the first time eighteen of the twenty- five drawings Michael Landy made for his highly politicised project Scrapheap Services of 1995-6.
Nine of the artists travelled to Budapest to install their work. Mike Nelson has recreated and expanded a work originally made in a disused church in London in 1999; Anya Gallaccio has produced a new work especially for the exhibition, part of an ongoing series of works involving apple trees; Keith Tyson’s Random Tangler work was played out in the galleries of Mucsarnok over the course of the ten days preceding the opening, and the resulting works reflect not only the place, by their use of local materials, but also the tense historical moment. Roderick Buchanan and David Burrows gave very well received lectures on the two nights preceding the opening of the exhibition.
The exhibition is a collaboration between the British Council and the Kunsthalle Mucsarnok (National Gallery of Contemporary Art), Budapest. It has been jointly selected by Dr Julia Fabenyi, Director of the Muscsarnok and Caroline Douglas, Exhibition Curator in Visual Arts, British Council. The Kunsthalle Mucsarnok has published a substantial catalogue to coincide with the exhibition, with a text by the British critic Alex Farquharson, as well as full colour reproductions of the works exhibited and biographical and bibliographical information about each artist.