Marge Monko Studies of Bourgeoisie -Tableaux1, 2005 C-print, 98 x 73cm Courtesy of Ani Molnár Gallery

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Ani Molnár Gallery is based in Budapest, Hungary. The gallery participates at internationally well-known art fairs in order to present Hungarian and Eastern-European art. We’ve talked to Annamaria Molnár – owner of Ani Molnár Gallery – about their program, their story and about their upcoming participation at this year’s edition of Artissima … 

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Your gallery was founded in 2008 in order to present Hungarian and Eastern-European art as part of non-profit public space exhibitions, shows in your gallery as well as art fairs – with priority to curatorial concepts. In which way has the presence of Eastern-European art on art fairs and in worldwide exhibitions changed since then? 

The international art scene has gone through major changes in the past 6 years; one important element is the proliferation of international art fairs. The presence of Eastern-European galleries at art fairs is increasing, still Eastern-European and especially Hungarian art is not yet visible enough internationally.  At Ani Molnár Gallery we do our best to represent and show a good selection of Hungarian artworks in the international art scene, together with some excellent artists from other CEE countries.//

Tell us more about the project ‚Park Gallery‘! What is it about? 

Park Gallery is a not-for-profit joint project of an upmarket shopping mall and my gallery. We exhibit contemporary art – mainly large scale site-specific installations – in a public space, which inspires the artists with its unusual dimensions. Artists invited to reflect on issues that are relevant for the audience of a mall, not just for art lovers. Therefore, the project enables artists to create progressive art and acts as a bridge between the wider public and contemporary art.//

How did you get involved with art initially? 

Although I studied economics and worked in the business sector for nearly a decade, I had the ambition to create a contemporary art project as early as in 1999. I also won scholarships in curating and organised successful non-profit exhibitions and contemporary art projects subsequently before starting my own gallery.

Marge Monko Studies of Bourgeoisie -Tableaux1, 2005 C-print, 98 x 73cm Courtesy of Ani Molnár Gallery

Marge Monko
Studies of Bourgeoisie -Tableaux1, 2005
C-print, 98 x 73cm
Courtesy of Ani Molnár Gallery

… and what was the driving force behind your decision to found a gallery?

I simply wanted to work on my own taking full responsibility for what I create. Also, by that time I had accumulated the necessary professional experience and sufficient financial assets to start a gallery.

Which artist was the biggest surprise for you within the last month and why?

One of the artists of the gallery, Szilárd Cseke, who is a painter, but since the beginning of his artistic career has been focusing on creating mobile objects as well, brought us a big surprise in terms of artistic creativity. He has combined his painting techniques with the unusual materials that he used for the objects and came up with artworks unique in their kind. His latest artworks contain silicone and agricultural foil. He pastes foil with broken, dried paint on silicone covered boards to achieve layered abstract paintings with scattered shapes. We will show these new works at The Armory Show next year.

This year you participated at five art fairs: ARCOmadrid, The Armory Show NY, Art Brussels, Viennafair, and now Artissima. Which are your criteria in choosing an art fair for your gallery? 

The fairs the gallery is attending this year are premium art fairs. Logically, my preference is to be present at major European art fairs, but we have also challenged ourselves by attending The Armory Show, New York in March as the first gallery from Hungary and we are going to participate in 2015 again. However, I also find it crucial to be active in the Eastern European art market, which is why I regularly take part in Viennafair.

The online market for art is growing fast: platforms like artprice and artnet are important tools for every gallery. What makes art fairs still irreplaceable for you?

Trust is a central concept in art business and to achieve that a collector trusts a gallery significantly depends on the relationship that the gallerist develops with customers through personal encounters. Art fairs and their accompanying events play a vital role in establishing a credible rapport also with art professionals.

Let’s compare …! What are the differences between curating a show for your gallery and for an art fair?

We always present curated booths at art fairs, which is challenging. Not just because art fair booths are smaller than the gallery space but also because we always have to select the artists and artworks carefully to stay coherent. The aim is to show as much of what the gallery has to offer as possible without compromising on the quality of how the artworks are presented.

Which artists will you present at Artissima this year?

An exceptional trio will be on show: Dénes Farkas and Marge Monko from Estonia and Péter Forgács from Hungary. Forgács and Monko are new artists of the gallery and it is exciting time for us to introduce them to the audience of the art fair. Forgács is a well-established media artist with international reputation (works and exhibitions e.g. in MoMa, Getty Museum, Pompidou, Bozar, 53rd Venice Biennale). Monko is an emerging artist who had a solo show in mumok early this year and participated at Manifesta 9 as well. Denes Farkas, who exhibited at the 55th Venice Biennale will be shown for the 3rd time at Artissima. The core of the curatorial concept of the project is to demonstrate a confrontation of public and private matters through personal space. The artworks examine how social issues, public concerns are reflected in details of private space and how they influence personal life.

Imagine yourself being the director of the Artissima – is there anything you would like to change or to invent?

I personally consider Artissima one of the best and most progressive fairs in Europe due to the high quality of art exhibited and the fantastic organisation of the fair itself. What may further enhance the values of the fair is a stronger presence of art collectors both Italian and international and increased chances for gallerists to meet them through different events during Artissima.

Thank you for your time!

 Interview by Sabrina Möller

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Ani Molnár Gallery

H-1088 Budapest
Bródy Sándor street 22. 1st floor
www.molnaranigaleria.hu

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