Balázs Kicsiny, Winterreise (2005). Polyester cast, cassock, shoes, gloves, skis, trolley bus collector, imitation wooden cross staff, electric line, light bulb and fencing mask. Janus Pannonius Museum Collection, Pécs, Hungary. Photograph: Tihanyi-Bakos Fotóstúdió.
Mildred Lane Kemper Museum of Art
One Brookings Drive
Balázs Kicsiny: Killing Time
January 27-April 16, 2012
Based in Budapest, Kicsiny is among Hungary’s most highly regarded contemporary artists, known for large-scale sculptural installations, or “frozen performances,” that draw equally on the languages of theater, philosophy and the visual arts.
Kicsiny’s practice involves multiple media, including sculpture, film, performance and painting. He is perhaps best known for his haunting and sometimes absurdist installations, which explore dichotomies of time and space, motion and stillness, history and modernity.
For example, Pump Room, one of five loosely connected works created for the Hungarian pavillion at the 2005 Venice Biennale, depicts 12 kneeling figures drinking from chalices while paradoxically wearing heavy 19th-century diving helmets (a sly allusion to Venice, “the city of water”). A related piece, Winterreise (Winter Journey), consists of two mannequins clad in cassocks and fencing masks, their heads replaced with light bulbs, navigating past one another with skis and antique cross staffs.
Born in Salgótarján in 1958, Kicsiny attended the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied painting and mural arts and now lectures. In addition to the Venice Biennale, his work has been featured in four exhibitions at the Hungarian National Gallery, in the 2005 Baltic Biennale, and in solo shows in New York, London and throughout Europe.
Kicsiny’s work is included in numerous public collections, including the Hungarian National Gallery, the Budapest Cultural Ministry and the Ludwig Museum — Museum of Contemporary Art in Budapest. Other honors include Hungary’s Munkácsy Award and Eötvös Scholarship as well as grants from the Art Council of England.
Installation artist Balázs Kicsiny is the 2011-12 Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Visiting Artist in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.
As the Freund Visiting Artist, Kicsiny worked with faculty and students in the Sam Fox School last spring while preparing for his upcoming exhibition at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.
Balázs Kicsiny: Killing Time is curated by Robert Gero, lecturer in the Sam Fox School’s College & Graduate School of Art.