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Dóra Maurer
SO SEHEN UND ANDERS SEHEN
29 01 22
15 05 22

Dóra Maurer (*1937, lives in Budapest) is considered a prominent figure on the Hungarian neo-avant-garde scene. She is one of the artists who has been taking progressive paths outside of Hungary’s official state cultural policies since the 1960s. Her work in the mediums of printmaking, photographs, film, performance art, and painting features a conceptual approach. Major aspects are perception, movement, displacement, and transformation. In the early years of the Federal Republic of Germany, abstract art was introduced as a political new beginning in that it represented ideals such as democracy, freedom, and open-mindedness. Accordingly, numerous collections in German museums are oriented toward this, including the one at the Kunsthalle Bielefeld, whose building was designed by the US-American architect Philip Johnson. While abstract art in the West was considered «free of ideologies» and instrumentalized as such, abstraction in countries such as Hungary, which was part of the Eastern bloc at the time, certainly had an «oppositional» connotation. Due to both the non-representational nature of her works as well as her contacts and travels in the West prior to 1989 (permitted thanks to her Hungarian-Austrian dual citizenship), Maurer occupies a special position within the Hungarian art world, which in those days was mainly dominated by Socialist Realism. In her experiments in photography and film in the 1970s, as well as in her abstract, geometric works based on a process of displacement, there are obvious parallels to Western European and US-American post-war art. In fact, however, her oeuvre is inconceivable without her experience of life under the official Hungarian system during the socialist period. The exhibition about Dóra Maurer will be combined with a presentation of Minimal and Conceptual Art from the Bielefeld collection by German and USAmerican artists of the 1960s and 1970s, and therefore also examines the different historical conditions that led to abstraction and its political burden on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Faced with a world that has long been globalized, as well as with the questioning of the artistic canon and the corresponding exhibition and
collection policies associated with it, the Kunsthalle Bielefeld would like to contribute alternative histories of abstract art through its presentation of Dóra Maurer’s work. The exhibition about Dóra Maurer contains around 60 works of art created over five decades. Maurer’s ability to assert herself in the male-dominated field of abstract art will also be considered, along with her attempts to expand what was then a politically restricted scope of action through experimental workshops in the 1970s. To this day, Dóra Maurer serves as a model for many younger artists in Hungary, owing to her work as a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest, a founding member and president of the Open Structures Art Society (OSAS), Budapest, and as an independent curator. Curators: Henrike Mund, Christina Végh Exhibition catalog: A companion catalogue in German and English will be published. The exhibition is supported by the Kunststiftung  NRW and the Kulturstiftung pro Bielefeld.