BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Chimera-Project — Budapest, Hungary

Post-contemporary interest in aesthetics while eagerly re-constructing and defining traditions

Installation view of the Geza Perneczky exhibition
Installation view of the Geza Perneczky exhibition

Budapest; a city that's revered for its architectural beauty, cheap drinks, and obsession with paprika. However there is more to this city than your typical tourist attractions, with the international art scene recently demonstrating a growing interest in introducing and reinterpreting Hungarian Neo-Avantgarde art into the contemporary art market.

Installation view of Chimera Project. Photo: Géza Talabér
Installation view of Chimera Project. Photo: Géza Talabér
Installation view from the Adrian Kupcsik exhibition
Installation view from the Adrian Kupcsik exhibition

Founded by Patrick Urwyler and Bogi Mittich in 2008, Chimera-Project is a program gallery space located in the center of Budapest. Chimera-Project heavily supports the growing internationalization of the city, as well as the gallery program being based on thematic exhibitions that are often curated by guest directors from abroad. Their artists are all “intellectually convincing”, and tend to have a post-contemporary interest in aesthetics while eagerly re-constructing and defining traditions. Their profiles range from Hungarian neo-avantgardists, like Géza Perneczk, to recent, conceptually grounded artists such as Gábor Koós, Adrián Kupcsik, and Áron Kútvölgyi-Szabó.

The small amount of artists on the galleries roster is a conscious decision, allowing for the directors to be closely involved in each of the artists’ individual career needs. Chimera-Project's clientele is cosmopolitan and includes art enthusiasts living in Hungary as well as visitors to the city. They pride themselves on their walk-in buyers, and the internationalization of the city that comes with a more global set of patrons. The country's socialist heritage is still strongly on display within the art scene—a small local art market, institutional structural holes, and a relatively young commercial field. Coming from Switzerland, founder Patrick Urwyler believes Hungary's most striking structural problem “is the fact that contemporary art is not embedded in a stable and healthy institutional environment like it is in Germany or Austria, where a diversified network of Kunstvereine, private art institutions, and foundations proudly exist”. As a result of this situation, Hungary is still seen as a somewhat undiscovered territory with a lot of potential.

Installation view from the Adrian Kupcsik exhibition
Installation view from the Adrian Kupcsik exhibition
Installation view from the Gabor Koos exhibition
Installation view from the Gabor Koos exhibition

In addition to the international art scene’s interest in Hungarian art, another growing factor in the countries contemporary art scene is the unfortunate yet expanding right-wing influence within the government and its explicit political agenda that has had a significant impact on the artistic ecosystem. Hungary's autonomous art production is facing a great challenge, yet at the same time it’s rising up and showcasing a never-before-seen power for survival in the face of this threat.

Urwyler and Mittich are of the proud belief that “we have a Central and Eastern European mindset, which is why we continue to initiate projects in the CEE. We plan to establish a superstructure for awards in the region, which will create a larger awareness for the awards themselves, as well as CEE talents”. Over the next year they plan to launch an artist and curatorial residency, which will help further institutionalize their international exchanges.

Installation view from the Stano Masar exhibition
Installation view from the Stano Masar exhibition
Installation view from the Gabor Koos exhibition
Installation view from the Gabor Koos exhibition

by Liv Fleischhacker

Liv Fleischhacker is a freelance writer based in Berlin. Her favorite topics include art, design and food.

All images courtesy Chimera-Project, Budapest

More Information on Chimera-Project

Galleries (40)

Futura Art Gallery — Pietrasanta, Italy

A gallery that unites established and emerging artists

Gianni Manhattan - Vienna, Austria

Young, International and Critically Astute

Misako & Rosen — Tokyo, Japan

Redefining the Conversation Around Aesthetics

Tiwani Contemporary – London, Great Britain

The London Gallery Promoting African Self-definition

Frutta Gallery — Rome, Italy

Understanding Tradition Without Hesitating to Break It

Contemporary Fine Arts – Berlin, Germany

From West to East and Back Again: a Berlin Institution That’s Made Its Mark

Bo Bjerggaard – Copenhagen, Denmark

Showcasing Figurative Painting With a Side of Communal Spirit

Pierre-Yves Caër Gallery – Paris, France

The Parisian gallery creating a home for Japanese artists in the European art market.

Blindspot Gallery — Hong Kong, China

Throwing a Spotlight on Local Artists

Vane – Newcastle upon Tyne, Great Britain

The Not-for-profit Space Offering Context And Critique In Newcastle

H’art Gallery — Bucharest, Romania

One of Bucharest’s Oldest Private-Run Galleries

LambdaLambda Lambda – Pristina, Kosovo

Mastering the Language in the Kosovan Capital

Deák Erika Galéria – Budapest, Hungary

Beyond Budapest’s Baths

The Breeder Gallery – Athens, Greece

Breeding New Forms in Athens

Tim Van Laere Gallery – Antwerp, Belgium

An autonomous gallery representing both upcoming and well-established artists

Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler – Berlin, Germany

One of the most cutting-edge galleries in Berlin

Galerie Fons Welters – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

A Doorway to Amsterdam’s Contemporary Art

Bosse & Baum – London, United Kingdom

Ambitious perspectives in Peckham

TM51 – Oslo, Norway

Three Galleries in One – Oslo’s Most Accessible Space

mfc-michèle didier – Paris, France

A Space that Reflects the Artistic Discipline

V1 Gallery – Copenhagen, Denmark

Challenging the Boundaries of Art

Upstream Gallery – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Tackling the Shift Between the Analog and Digital in a Post Internet World

Galerie Forsblom – Helsinki, Finland

Bringing international contemporary art to the Finnish capital

The Journal Gallery – New York, USA

Saving New York from Becoming a Sale-Focused Gallery Wasteland

Peres Projects – Berlin, Germany

Bridging the Gap Between Los Angeles and Berlin

Galeria OMR – Mexico City

Mexico City’s advocate for modern artistic tendencies and international contemporary art

LOYAL – Stockholm, Sweden

A Gallery that Pushes the Dialogue Around Young and International Art in Sweden’s Capital

La New Gallery — Madrid, Spain

Celebrating contemporary art in all its multi-faceted forms

Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery – Sydney, Australia

Her uncanny ability to recognize unique Pacific Rim talent

Take Ninagawa Gallery – Tokyo, Japan

Promoting emerging Japanese artists within a cross-generational, international framework

RaebervonStenglin – Zurich, Switzerland

It is much more about concepts, long conversations and long-term commitment

Galerie Emanuel Layr – Vienna, Austria

Finding the right chord among the various artists

Platform China – Beijing/Hongkong, China

This shows how much prejudgment there still is

Fluxia – Milan, Italy

Strive to discover new approaches in contemporary art

Gaudel de Stampa – Paris, France

“Discreet” seems to be the perfect adjective

NON – Istanbul, Turkey

The dawn of an era of collaboration

Vermelho – São Paulo, Brazil

There were no galleries open to a new generation of artists working in a nontraditional way

Eleven Rivington – New York, USA

Newfound talent and rediscovers international artists for a new audience

Ibid. – London, Great Britain

Rather than listing names