LITTLE WARSAW

About the Art of Little Warsaw

Through films, installations, and a wide variety of media, the Hungarian artist duo Little Warsaw addresses historical memory and confronts personal encounters with social experience. At the same time, they examine the role of the artist not only as a producer of images, objects or situations but also as an agent of the context he/she is embedded in. Thus, through their manifold investigations, the artwork itself is also presented as a subject of political, sociological and ideological changes.
One of their best known works is the project The Body of Nerfertiti, presented at the Venice Biennial in 2003, in which they made a bronze body to complete the famous limestone bust of Nefertiti. The act opened up an extremely rich field of associations, including the question concerning the use of the centuries-old iconic art object in contemporary art and the possibilities it offers for intercultural communication, while at the same teasing out the property relations of the artistic heritage of the past.
It is also the artistic heritage – that of post-war Hungary – that they investigate in many of their projects. They elevate public monuments from their environment that have been condemned to amnesia, and use archival footage to place them in a new narrative, as it was the case with their project Instauratio where a Hungarian small-town public monument from the sixties was relocated to Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2004). However, it is not only the official culture of the communist regime that they revaluate in a contemporary context but also the more hidden history of the non-official art scene. By deconstructing myths and reconstructing contexts, they attempt to restore the missing pieces to the puzzle of Hungarian neo-avant-garde art (e.g. Game of Changes, 2009).
Little Warsaw, in the meantime, was also conceived as an evolving project in itself. Hence, in recent years, the personal perspective came more and more into the foreground. In their latest works, their very own micro histories, family legends intermingle with greater political events and social changes. In this manner, the radical gestures of interventions of their previous works are often complemented with a more poetic way of expression, that of literature. At their solo exhibition at Secession Vienna in 2014, they presented a group of works centered around a collectively written roman-fragment, Naming You.