Balázs Kicsiny: No News from NowHere

Ars Nova

The summer exhibition of Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova stars  Hungarian artist Balázs Kicsiny. No News from NowHere is his first extensive solo exhibition in Finland and the Nordic countries, taking up both of the museum’s exhibit floors.

Each week during this spring, we will release new videos that will throw light on the themes of the exhibition and present the artist behind the visually arresting artworks. You can choose the video you wish to view from the playlist.

Kicsiny is known foremost for his powerful and visually arresting installations, full of enigmatic symbols and parables. The works often feature life-sized, human figures whose faces are hidden. Kicsiny's works resemble performances that have been frozen in time, creating impossible and unsolvable riddles that are open to various interpretations. The viewer steps into the middle of an ongoing narrative and must deduce what has happened before the “here and now” and what will happen afterwards.

Balázs Kicsiny (b. 1958 Salgótarján, Hungary) has studied painting and mural arts at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts. In 2008 he qualified as a Doctor of Liberal Arts and currently holds the position of lecturer at the doctoral program of the academy. He has had an active career since the early 1980s and at the turn of the millennium spent several years working in the United Kingdom. Kicsiny has held solo and group exhibitions in many cities in Europe and USA. In 2005 he represented Hungary at the Venice Biennial. Kicsiny’s works can be found in many significant art collections, both public and private, in the artist's homeland and elsewhere in Europe.

The exhibition in Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova, No News from NowHere, encompasses Kicsiny’s key works from 1998 till 2014. Several installations and video works will be on display in addition to paintings.

Powerful Iconography

Balázs Kicsiny: Sweet Home, 2005. Installation. Collection: Servais. Photo: Tihanyi-Bakos Photo Studio. Multiple layers of meaning, powerful symbolism in both iconography and the materials used, and uncompromising, polished execution are all characteristic of Balázs Kicsiny's works. The protagonists of the works often represent archetypal professions that relate to the classical elements. Priests, sailors, miners, divers and firemen, among others, are present in the installations. Kicsiny creates meaning through different symbolic instruments, such as anchors, helmets, chains, clock dials and Jacob’s staffs. He reveals the hidden symbolic potential that resides in everyday objects and so makes us see familiar things in new light.

Kicsiny´s characters are startlingly real, only faceless and anonymous. They represent nobody in particular and yet everyone at the same time. The artist wishes to draw attention to action instead of the individual.

Kicsiny´s characters are startlingly real, only faceless and anonymous. They represent nobody in particular and yet everyone at the same time. The artist wishes to draw attention to action instead of the individual.

The Many Layers of Time

Balázs Kicsiny: Winterreise, 2005. Installation. Collection: Janus Pannonius Museum. Photo: Tihanyi-Bakos Photo Studio.Captured moments are central in Kicsiny’s installations. His characters are simultaneously frozen still and in motion. In some works this paradox becomes literal, as in the installation Winterreise (2005) that depicts two priests skiing in different directions using the same skis, which makes forward motion impossible. The figures seem lost, isolated and their journey endless. In their hands they hold Jacob's staffs, navigational instruments used in the 17th century. The work alludes to the continuous search for one's place in life.

The title of the exhibition resembles an absurd riddle, just as the works themselves, giving rise to many associations. No News from NowHere is both a play on words and a reference to the questions concerning time and space – a central theme in the artist's oeuvre. With a slight spelling change the artist turns the word nowhere into an allusion to presence and a precise moment and place, where the words “no news” refer to contemporary media's continual hunger for sensational news.

Site-Specific Total Work of Art

Balázs Kicsiny: Temporary Resurrection, 2010. Installation. Photo: Balázs Kicsiny.The exhibition, taking up both floors of the museum, will be a carefully planned total work of art. The narrative will be carried by lamps adorned with Roman numerals, hung in every exhibition hall. The Rettig Palace that functions as the museum building has been very inspirational for Kicsiny. This has been central to the preparation of the exhibition, as exhibition spaces play an exceptionally important role for him. He has often chosen very particular spaces, loaded with meaning, for his works. For example, in 2002 Kicsiny created the work Work in Progress for the Winchester Cathedral in the United Kingdom.

Balázs Kicsiny visited Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova in December 2013. The interview filmed in the museum sheds light on the themes of the upcoming exhibition and introduces the artist behind the puzzles. During the spring, we will publish differently themed videos on our website.

More information about the artist:

Balázs Kicsiny: Sweet Home, 2005. Installaatio. Kokoelma Servais, Bryssel, Belgia. Kuva: Tihanyi-Bakos Photo Studio.
Balázs Kicsiny: Anthem, 2013. Installaatio kolmessa osassa. Kuva: Balázs Kicsiny.
Balázs Kicsiny: Temporary Resurrection, 2010. Installaatio. Kuva: Balázs Kicsiny.
Balázs Kicsiny: Winterreise, 2005. Installaatio. Janus Pannonius museon kokoelma, Pécs, Unkari. Kuva: Tihanyi-Bakos Photo Studio.
Balázs Kicsiny: Pump Room, 2005 Antal-Lusztig Collection, MODEM Centre for Modern and Contemporary Arts, Debrecen, Hungary Kuva/Photo: Tihanyi-Bakos Fotostudio
Näkymä Balázs Kicsinyn teoksesta Tilapäinen ylösnousemus. Kuva Selina Kiiskinen, Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova, 2014.
Balázs Kicsinyn teos Tilapäinen ylösnousemus ulottuu myös ulos näyttelytilasta. Kuva Silja Lehtonen, Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova.
Balázs Kicsiny: Yksityiskohta teoksesta Aikaa tappamassa, 2012, installaatio/ tilateos. Kuva: Balázs Kicsiny