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MODEM Centre for Modern and Contemporary Arts

Non-profit organization
Hungarian Bath Life - a selection from the Völgyi - Skonda Collection
Laszlo Feher
Laszlo Feher
  The exhibition displaying a selection of Miklós Völgyi’s and Mária Skonda’s collection embraces the theme of the famous and traditional spas in Hungary. “With the choice of theme we consciously intend to fuse one of Hungary’s outstanding treasures, that is, its spa culture, with contemporary artistic values” (Miklós Völgyi, Mária Skonda). The contemporary artists invited by the collector couple dealt with the given subject matter in their own style and way of expression; their common point of departure, of course, was the spa scene.

Miklós Völgyi as a collector is in fact an “omnivore.” In his collection of over a thousand works of art we can find items by the classical artists of the late 20th century as well as the masters of the middle generation and the youngest, most promising artists.

The colorful and rich spa scene in Hungary is not a newly found source of inspiration for artists. 20th Century literature and fine art draw upon this topic on numerous occasions, dealing with this ambivalent, simultaneously sacred and profane world, rich in symbolic references on the one hand, and testing the boundaries of “good morals” on the other. Miklós Völgyi and Mária Skonda had the deliberate intention to expand their collection in a thematic direction. The twenty-five artists introduced at the exhibition all tackle the topic from a particular and unique angle, each emphasizing a different aspect or feature of spa culture. The viewers are provided with the evocation of the inexorable nostalgic atmosphere (János Kósa), with the absorbed, psychologizing spa experience (László Fehér), with the satirical manner of the culture critic (Tamás Galambos), with the essential eroticism of spas (Kriszta Nagy), and with indecent coquetry (Márta Kiss) or steamy mysticism (Claudia Tamási).

The exhibition shown in Debrecen’s MODEM lines up literary quotations parallel to the projects so that the visual and verbal forms of expression can simultaneously introduce the remarkably diverse and many-colored Hungarian spa culture to the audience.
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