« Urban Ornaments » at Urban Spree is a photographic group show with selected hungarian artists (Ruth Zuntz, Bence Bakai, Viktor Hodobay, Péter János Novák) who also have a regular practice in the urban arts as well as a roundtable discussion on public space and urban imaginaries organized by TACT (International Research on Art and the City) in co-operation with the Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies of the Humboldt University of Berlin.
An ornament – originating from the Latin “ornare” – signifies a material element that is added to a structural form through the process of adornment or decoration.
In contrast to this minimalistic definition, however, the concept of ornaments also became to encompass a much broader understanding: social and political considerations are now essential parts of ornaments. Identifying itself with this latest turn of the interpretation of the ornament, the exhibition uses Adolf Loos’ provocative text “Ornament and crime” (1908) as a starting point. The photographic works displayed at the exhibition not only aim to reflect, thus, the Loosian argument from a contemporary perspective, but also try to shed light on the various types of logic behind the aestheticization of urban space.
Roundtable Discussion // 17:00:
– Ayse Nur Erek (Department of History, Yeditepe University, Istanbul)
– Nicole Huber (University of Washington)
– Oleg Pachenkov (European University, Sankt Petersburg)
– Dr. Heike Oevermann (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Georg-Simmel-Zentrum für Metropolenforschung)
– Júlia Székely (CEU Budapest)
– Lilija Voronkova (CISR, Sankt Petersburg)
– Bence Bakai : “Since 2000 I am a street art enthusiast. Taking photos since I know myself. From 2008 on, I live in Berlin ».
– Viktor Hodobay : “Basically what I do is street photography. Most of my work is focusing on people and their relations to their artificial habitat, the way they use public space and how their appearance merges into and forms our urban environment.”
– Péter János Novák: The hungarian photographer-illustrator Péter János Novák is taking photos about urban landscapes since more than two decades. The presented black and white photos are shots from various european countries, taken with his pocket digital camera short barrelled, pancake lens.
– Ruth Zuntz: With her artistic work, Ruth aims to overcome boundaries and forge links between people and communities. Her photographs show the familiar features in strangers as well as the unknown in neighbors. In 1998, she co-founded Walkscreen and continues to work on international artistic collaborations. She has exhibited in China, Germany, Italy, Israel, Japan and Finland.
TACT / International Research on Art and the City is an international network that brings together research on art, artists and the city. Involving academics, artists, activists and students, it creates a platform for investigating urban imaginaries from the perspective of art and the city, artists and public space, and the urban interventionism of street art and grassroots activism.
Within TACT, the event is organized by:
Ayse Erek: Assistant Professor of Art History at Yeditepe University, Department of History in Istanbul. Post-doctoral research fellow at Georg-Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies of Humboldt University in Berlin (Oct 2012 – Jan. 2014). Her research focus is on the notion of urban imaginary of metropolitan cities in the context of political and cultural discourse, contemporary art and urban visual culture.
Eszter Gantner: PhD in History, currently Post-doctoral research fellow at the Institute for European Ethnology, Humboldt University of Berlin and post-doc fellow at the Herder-Institute (Marburg). She is member of the Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Research, Humboldt University of Berlin. Her research deals with urban history of Central and Eastern Europe, but also includes the issue of urban interventions and the transformation of urban public space, with a special focus on post-socialist cities.
Juli Székely: PhD student at the Central European University in Budapest at the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology. Her research focus is on the intersection of art and city, with a special interest in public art and memory in urban spaces. Right now she is working on her dissertation elaborating the memorial culture of Berlin and Budapest.