In the first six months of 2011 Hungary chaired the Council of the European Union, and in the summer of that year the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts is to mount a major exhibition of contemporary sculpture on the Hungarian capital's City Park Lake.

The museum and the art committee it has set up decided to invite more than twenty sculptors from EU member countries, including Hungary, to display their works on the lake where previously, at the turn of the millennium, a similar exhibition was staged with the participation of twenty-two Hungarian artists. Director of the Kiscelli Museum, Péter Fitz, art historian and curator of the exhibition Krisztina Jerger, and independent curator Alexander Tolnay began making preparations for the exhibition in the summer of 2008. They contacted the artists and together they started shaping ideas on creating new works and adapting existing ones for display on water. Alongside exhibiting universal art treasures of the past, the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts has always attached great importance to being open to contemporary art.

Artonlake Map
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The planned exhibition will be another important stage in attaining this goal. The site of the exhibition is unique in Europe. throughout the summer the 20,000 square metre artificial lake situated in the heart of Budapest - in City Park (Városliget) - attracts those wishing to walk or rest near the water or take a boat out rowing. The area has also assumed a symbolic importance as it was a major site for the millennial celebrations of Hungarian statehood over a century ago, where, through the buildings erected and the spaces created, the nation formulated its concept of the past one thousand years for itself and for the world. In 2011 artists who live and work in various European countries are planning new works for this site, and in this way the exhibition becomes both a Hungarian and a European production.

All the artists welcomed the invitation to take part. Since the spring of 2009, several of them have travelled to Budapest and visited this part of the city. By the opening of the exhibition the lake-bed and its surroundings will have been completely renewed and there is a tender out for the design of new rowing boats.

For this exhibition the Museum of Fine Arts will leave its premises and open up towards the widest public with its wish to convey contemporary art and make it understood and enjoyed in the open air. Without walls or fences, the show can be seen from the bridge over the lake and from the paths around it. But the best way to view the exhibits will be from rowing-boats available every day from ten in the morning till ten at night. This special exhibition has come into being as a result of wide-ranging cooperation and support in the face of the financial and economic difficulties of the past two years.

Apart from the Department for Culture, Budapest City Council, Zugló District Council and several Hungarian and European companies have provided financial backing.

Bird, by Magdalena Abakanowicz, 2011
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Dr. Alexander TOLNAY

Dr. Alexander Tolnay was born in Budapest, and from 1966 to 1973 he studied art and theatre history at the University of Vienna. From 1983 to 1991 he was director of the galleries of the city of Esslingen where in 1988 he was given the Esslingen Art Award for his pioneering work in the field of Eastern European art. A year later he founded the International Photo Triennale, one of the most significant photography events in Germany. From 1991 to 1994 he worked as assistant director responsible for exhibitions at the Institute for Foreign Relations in Stuttgart.

In 1995 he received another award, the Order of Merit Pro Arte Hungarica. In the same year he became director of the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein where he remained till 2008. Since then he has been working as a freelance curator and art consultant. Tolnay often writes for contemporary art publications.

JERGER Krisztina

She is the curator of numerous retrospective and thematic exhibitions both in Hungary and abroad, such as the exhibitions of Nicolas Schöffer, Vera Székely, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Ilona Keserü, Dóra Mauer, János Megyik, Imre Bak, Gábor Záborszky, Péter Korniss and "History of Placards" in London, "Frissen festve - the First Exhibition of New Sensibility" in Budapest, and various contemporary art exhibitions in Washington, Warsaw and Helsinki.

Jerger is guest designer to several museums. She was invited to organize the opening exhibition of the Holocaust Memorial Centre, and for years now has worked regularly for the Museum of Fine Arts. The highly successful "Heritage of the Holy Land" was also realized under her organization. Krisztina Jerger gave several lectures at the Hungarian University of Applied Arts on the role visuals play in the staging of exhibitions of contemporary fine art. Between 2006 and 2010 she worked for the Hungarian Cultural Institute in Warsaw.

FITZ Péter

Péter Fizt worked as editor for Hungarian Television between 1975 and 1995. Several dozen films on the subject of fine arts and portrait films are linked to his name. Between 1979 and 1984 he was the manager of the Savaria Museum's textile collection in Szombathely. He has been the director of the Municipal Picture Gallery (Kiscelli Museum) since 1994, where he has organized several hundreds of Hungarian and international exhibitions in one of Europe's most exciting exhibition venues, all of them challenging and of great importance for the artists' life works. He edited the fine arts journal Balkon from 1993 until 1994. Between 1993 and 2001 Fitz was the editor-in-chief of the three volumes of the Hungarian contemporary arts encyclopaedia. In 2005 he was curator of the Hungarian pavilion of the Fifty-first Venice Biennale.

Péter Fitz is the chairman of the jury of the Hungarian Universitas Programme, the most significant project of contemporary fine art of the past decades.