CEE Monthly / Hungary / Places

Interview with Ágnes Tallér – the new head of the Association of Hungarian Contemporary Art Galleries

An interview with Ágnes Tallér (INDA Gallery), the recently elected president of the Association of Hungarian Contemporary Art Galleries about the association’s new ambitions and its Gallery Weekend Budapest initiative, which is held this weekend.

Agnes Taller

With your newly elected presidency with Károly Szalóky (Várfok Gallery) and Krisztina Dián (VILTIN Gallery) can we expect major changes in the work of the association?    

Ágnes Tallér: Nothing will change fundamentally outside of the working method. From now on the presidency is going to work in a board like manner, so we will share the task and each of us will be responsible for different key areas.

What will you keep from your predecessor’s ambitions, and in what areas would you like to create more room?

Ágnes Tallér: The previous period was about making the association acknowledged as it had been inactive for a very long period of time. The previous presidency under Annamária Molnár was mostly focused on this and succeeded in doing so. We had long been a member of FEAGA, for example, but in a dormant manner. Along with a more active involvement in it, other international networks were also enlivened in the previous period. The new presidency focuses on helping more and more Hungarian artists to exhibit internationally and to start the integration process again. We also aim to further strengthen our already well-funded prestige, and we hope that we will make an impact with our presence and form opinion in the domestic scene. Additionally, we would like to further promote the importance of the participation of for-profit galleries at international fairs and create possibilities for artist or gallery exchanges and the like.

Ákos Birkás @ Knoll Gallery

Ákos Birkás The Prisoner, 2005, oil on canvas, 130×140 cm courtesy: Knoll Gallery Budapest/Vienna

 A major issue remains to be solved, which is that of the VAT…

Ágnes Tallér: Yes, we still have here the highest VAT in Europe for the purchase of contemporary art:  27%. In order to enliven the market and improve the conditions for artists as well we would like to have it reduced to 5% as it is now applied for books. Another great achievement would be to restore the previous practice where the purchase of artworks was deductible from taxes.

How do you finance your activities?

Ágnes Tallér: From our own resources and from national or international funds.

Currently you are contacting all the important players in the Hungarian contemporary art scene;  many of them are also new in their positions. Where do see points of collaboration? 

Ágnes Tallér: All of the players in the Hungarian art scene acknowledge the high profile work done in for-profit galleries; they regard the association as a partner and appreciate our professional performance. The institutional side follows and acknowledges all our results and the participations at prestige fairs. There are several possibilities for cooperation between us and the Friends of the Ludwig Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art and with the Museum of Fine Arts. We also have an important partnership with ERSTE BANK, and there are many other possibilities to come. 

Attila Kovács , Multipel 1, 1968 (1969), (c) courtesy: VILTIN Galéria

Attila Kovács , Multipel 1, 1968 (1969), (c) courtesy: VILTIN Galéria

Where do you personally see the strengths and weaknesses of the Hungarian contemporary art scene?

Ágnes Tallér: We will do our utmost to be a more active and visible member of our local scene. As mentioned, we are committed to making Hungarian contemporary art become better known and appreciated on international level. Details of the related program are under way.

Are you planning to continue the Budapest Contemporary visitor program started by the previous presidency? 

Ágnes Tallér: We have not made a decision yet. It used to be state funded and currently there is no source for it, but I would not exclude the possibility.

A brand new initiave is right around the corner, the first Gallery Weekend Budapest kicks off this weekend…

Ágnes Tallér: And we are looking forward to it as we expect GWB to be an event with truly international standards. We are glad we can make it happen now as the idea had been circulating among the gallerists in Budapest for many years, but the time has just come now to realize it. The organizer is a recently founded non-profit initiative, the Creative Platform Contemporary Art led by Gábor Rieder, who had the original idea and is now the chief organizer of the event with our professional partnership. GWB’s aim is to stimulate the local market and public and to raise international awareness. The Hungarian local market needs international attention, so a special VIP program for international collectors and experts has been organized with curator talks and many studio visits with great masters (Ákos Birkás, Imre Bak, etc.), established mid-generation artists (Little Warsaw, István Csákány, etc.), and a few emerging young talents.

Which galleries are participating and who are the exhibiting artists?

Ágnes Tallér: The members of the association: acb, Deák Erika, Faur Zsófi, Kisterem, INDA, Knoll, Körmendi, MissionArt, Molnár Ani, NextArt, TRAPÉZ, Várfok, VILTIN, and Vintage. Besides the 14 for-profit galleries we have two independent art spaces: Higgs Field and Trafó Gallery. The artist list is very stimulating and high-caliber, just to name a few: a solo project dedicated to GWB by Ákos Birkás; Attila Kovács who built a unique universe of geometry, based in Cologne and Budapest; from the mid-generation there are István Csákány (participant of dOCUMENTA (13)), Szilárd Cseke, or Balázs Kicsiny; and among the young artists Tamás Kaszás (participant of the last Sydney Biennale) or the youngest exhibitor, Ádám Ulbert. So hopefully Budapest will get full attention this  weekend.

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Since January 2014 Ágnes Tallér has been the president of the Association of Hungarian Contemporary Art Galleries. Ágnes Tallér is an economist and studied arts management as well.  She opened  INDA Gallery in 2006.  Before that she worked in the business  and finance sector . INDA Gallery’ s mission  is to run a  high quality program and frequently participate at international art fairs.

The Association  of Hungarian Contemporary Art Galleries is a non-profit membership organization of the nation’s leading galleries in contemporary fine arts. Renewed in 2010 the Association’s primary objective is to further develop the recognition and prosperity of the Hungarian contemporary art market. Its member galleries are engaged in promoting a wider appreciation of contemporary art and a broader recognition of Hungarian artists. . It became a member of the FEAGA (Federation of European Art Galleries Association) i n2012. In 2012 they launched the international visitors program “Budapest Contemporary”.

Gallery Weekend Budapest   is held between 13-14 September 2014.

Map of the participating galleries.

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