Renewal of a retrospective exhibition in Sárospatak
What happens to items of an oeuvre donated to a public collection in the provinces? At best, they are used to stage an exhibition. At worst, they are shifted from one storeroom to another. Perhaps they feature as part of a permanent exhibition. But what would be the ideal way to make them known and to display them? Surely if existing concepts were occasionally reconsidered and the approach to collections were updated. One good example is a project at the Sárospatak Picture Gallery, where the highlight of 2016 was the renewal of its exhibition of János Andrássy Kurta’s works held by the Gallery. The institute The history of the Sáros– patak Picture Gallery dates back almost 50 years. Its works of art can be classified in five groups comprising mostly donated items. Its foundation is linked to the name of the singer Ferenc Béres. His collection was housed in the Rákóczi Castle. Béres’s gifts inspired other collectors and artists to follow suit. The gallery’s two other major sections are similarly based on donations, one comprising works of the painter József Domján, the other works by the sculptor Andrássy Kurta. The large increase in volume justified the creation of an independent institute for their display and thus the building of the former Roman Catholic Modern School became the home of the Sárospatak Picture Gallery. The other significant cornerstone of the gallery is the József Klinkó collection, comprising neo-avant-garde and conceptualist works of the 1970s. The oeuvre of János Andrássy Kurta Andrássy Kurta donated his entire oeuvre to Sárospatak in 1976. The majority of items are made mainly from limestone, bronze and plaster, but there are also numerous works of graphic art, as well as paintings. János Andrássy Kurta was born in 1911. More than 50 of his public statues are known. In 1981 he was made an honorary citizen of Sárospatak. Alongside the gallery, his works are looked after and archived by his son Bálint Andrási. The regenerated exhibition The reconceptualisation and installation of the exhibition of Andrássy Kurta’s oeuvre was based on the joint work of the municipality and the gallery. Sárospatak submitted a tender application to the Ágoston Kubinyi Project, which offers professional state support for museums. Development of the exhibition’s concept and a museum education project were entrusted to external trustees and the present writer. Coordination of the different viewpoints lasted for several months. The rehabilitation of hidden treasures in the collections of provincial museums and the promotion of their significance would be extremely useful for both the profession and the public. One example: in the rich collection of the Sárospatak Picture Gallery there is a work by Dóra Maurer, a related item of which entered the collection of the Tate Modern in 2015. The work in Sárospatak is not on display – at least for the time being.