There will be Café Budapest Contemporary Art Festival next year too!
The Café Budapest, organised between 11-20 October, offered such high-standard, unique and one-off programs that would have been a shame to miss. The programs were carefully selected by the organisers. The selection was not only for the biggest fans of contemporary arts, the organisers hoped it would please those as well who have encountered it for the first time now. Besides the places that normally serve as the locations of the events, like the Trafó – The House of Contemporary Arts, the National Theatre, Bárka Theatre, the Hungarian National Gallery, streets, squares, cafés, cult pubs also hosted certain events as well. It was hard not to bump into some of the programs of the festival around the city in the middle of October. The capital’s autumnal festival was organised for 22nd time this year. The event that aims to introduce the contemporary and progressive segment of art was opened by the Hungarian National Gallery’s Change of Steps exhibition and the event closed at the same place on 20th October with the performance of the PR-Evolution Dance Company and a slam poetry night.
Programs. The festival that offered 77 programs altogether could be visited in the most diverse art centres. According to the summary of the organisers, thousands of people were interested in the event. Although the festival abounded with performance shows that were free to watch, slam poetry recitals, street dance and circus improvisations, for most of the pre-advertised programs the visitors had to buy tickets. The world premiere of Demencia, directed by Kornél Mundruczó and with Kata Wéber in the role of the protagonist was welcomed with huge success as well as the Master and Margarita, the joint play of the Radu Stanca National Theatre of Nagyszeben and the Maladype Theatre of Budapest that premiered in the National Theatre. A lot of people wanted to see the Monodrama Festival as well that was hosted by the Bárka Theatre, but there was a lot of interest in the Night of Contemporary Galleries, too. The slam poetry nights organised in cafe houses of Budapest during the ten day had mostly full houses as well.
Reflection – it was not sterile. Wherever I went, whatever I saw, I liked it. Even though not everybody understands contemporary art, nobody can go past it without having certain reactions to it. I felt like that too. But we do not necessarily need to understand and analyse everything either. Sometimes it’s enough to just feel it. In my opinion, during the setting up of the exhibition of this year, just like in previous years, it was important for the organisers to give an opportunity for the young and significant artists present in the cultural life of Hungary as well as for the progressive foreign pieces of art to introduce themselves – and this is good. The performances given by contemporary art companies that did not fall into any identifiable genre gave a youthful vigour and a taste of experimentation to the festival. It does not matter if, upon seeing or hearing something, we feel surprised, repulsed or we feel like laughing – or all of them at the same time. Art can be like this too. The Café Budapest chose from the newest pieces of contemporary classics, Jazz, contemporary dances and theatre. There were no restrictions. For 10 days, contemporary culture came as close to the people of Budapest as possible.
Written by Veronika Szőnyi
Translated by Judit Molnár