JÁNOS SUGÁR

born in Budapest, 1958
lives and works in Budapest

The oeuvre of János Sugár includes works ranging form complex installations to video, to sculpture, concept art, photo and drawing. His characteristic language of forms include abstract spatial and graphic constructions and symbols. His social and political sensitiveness is far from moralising, at the same time, it is one that reveals the true essence of phenomena ironically and analyses it systematically.
Already in the 1980s, Sugár was one of the most influential young artists. He was a member of the Indigó Group, led by Miklós Erdély, and then one of the leaders of the Béla Balázs film studio. After the political transition in Eastern Europe, he was one of the founders of the Intermedia Department of the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts, in 1992, he participated in Documenta IX – so far the last Hungarian artist at Documenta.
His interests are manifested in a vast field stretching between two poles: One is analysis and intervention reflecting on the current environment and context, such as in his Mute series he cuts up and transforms excerpts from TV programmes, placing the dialogies into a new context. In his public space installation Elnézést (Sorry), he intervenes in the visual world of streets by placing pseudo traffic signs with a fictitious text. He has made serious efforts to get the authorities to approve the casting an old graffiti in bronze. On one occasion, he turned the facade of the Műcsarnok (Kunsthalle) upside down on a gigantic banner. He has recently been sued for a graffiti.
At the other pole are his almost abstract installations: using basic materials, he constructs almost virtual spaces out of glass sheets, (Az irreverzibilitás elefántja a jelen porcelánboltjában – The Elephant of Irreversibility in the China Shop of the Present / Műcsarnok – Kunsthalle, Budapest), from fibreboard and wires (A fizika bútorzata – The Furniture of Physics), and his pralinée moulds are recurring elements in his art for a long time.
His installation entitled Kairos vs Expeditus is based on everyday objects, a chair and a ladder, and he makes them symbolic with a simple gesture, covering them with black velvet. Two videos shown on small displays on the chair and the ladder lend another dimension to the work: Kairos, standing for the right moment, is represented on the chair by a camera showing a gate at the Frankfurt airport. Expeditus, signifying activity, shows the artist fighting a coil of cable the size of a man in a hotel room. Like fibre board or empty pralinée moulds in other works, the cable is an element of Sugár’s abstract language of forms.
His most widely known video, the Typewriter of the Illiterate, consists of images cut from newspapers and magazines, with a Kalashnikov submachine-gun on each of them. The images are morphed into one another around the submachine-gun. The images add up to media analysis with a direct emotional effect.

Zsolt Kozma

EXHIBITIONS

BIOGRAPHY

EDUCATION

1980 – 1986

Magyar Képzőművészeti Egyetem, Budapest

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2024

film_video_stills, Kisterem, Budapest

2023

Horizontal Underground, Kisterem, Budapest

2019

Story from the Year Zero_Print Works. 1986–90, aqb Project Space, Budapest

2018

One must think about the fire, Kisterem, Budapest

2017

œuvre, tranzit.hu, Budapest

2014

(monuments), Kisterem, Budapest

2013

Holy Shit, Müszi, Budapest

2012

Fire in the Museum, Museum Kiscell, Budapest

2011

The Situation, Videospace, Budapest

2009

Power Is Invisible Until You Provoke It, B5, Targu Mures, Romania
Fortinbras in Year Zero, Vintage Gallery, Budapest

2007

Kairos vs Expeditus, Ladaproject, Berlin
mute, Videospace, Budapest

2006

OE, FKSE Studio Gallery, Budapest

2005

Typewriter of the Illiterate, Annely Juda Fine Arts, London

2003

Check Your Six, Knoll Gallery, Budapest

2002

Convergent Series, Café Europe, Centro di Arte Contemporanea, Rome
Attention Recycling, Galerija Balen, Slavonskij Brod, Croatia

2000

General Reminder, Art Media Center, TV Gallery, Moscow, with Yuri Leiderman

1999

Calligraphy Powerplant, Galleria Spicchi dell`Est, Rome
Context Trap, Artpool, Budapest

1998

Do You Know My Method? QQ Galeria, Cracow, Poland

1997

Galerie Knoll, Vienna

1996

Studio Gallery, Budapest

1993

Galerie Knoll, Vienna

1992

Knoll Gallery, Budapest

1991

Újlak, Tűzoltó 72, Budapest

1990

Budapest Gallery, Budapest

1989

Salone Villa Romana, Firenze

1988

Institut Francais, Budapest
REM Galerie, Vienna
Studio Of Young Artists, Budapest

1987

Lágymányosi Közösségi Ház, Budapest
Liget Gallery, Budapest

1986

Studio Gallery, Budapest

1985

Fényes Adolf Terem, Budapest

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2024

Technocool. New Trends in Hungarian Art in the Nineties (1989–2001), Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

2021

Sketch, Kisterem, Budapest

2020

Finally We Can Learn Something, Kincsem Palace (organised by Kisterem), Budapest
The Dead Web, Ludwig Múzeum – Kortárs Művészeti Múzeum, Budapest

2019

The Dead Web, Ludwig Múzeum – Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest
Listing VIII., Kisterem
The Influencing Machine, Nicodim Gallery, Bucharest
Drinkers of Quintessences, Casino Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Iparterv 50+, Ludwig Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest

2018

Drinkers of Quintessences, Darling Foundry, Montreal

2017

“SaveAs…”–WhatWillRemainofNewMediaArt?,LudwigMuseum– Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest
Listing, Kisterem, Budapest

2016

Accumulator, Budapest Gallery, Budapest
Listing, Kisterem, Budapest
Progressive Intentions, Isztambuli Magyar Intézet, Isztambul
Up Memory Lane (Part II) RAMfoundation, Rotterdam

2015

Art Has No Alternative, tranzit.sk, Bratislava
Identity and The Self, RAMfoundation, Rotterdam
Siliconevalse: Hungarian Reality, The Brno House of Arts, Brno

2014

Turning Points, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest
LUDWIG 25. The contemporary collection, Ludwig Museum, Budapest
Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module, New Museum, New York
Gramatik of Fear, Bucharest International Biennial for Contemporary Art

2013

2nd Edition of the Biennial Project D-0 ARK Underground, Konjic, Croatia

2012

Video Vortex, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Croatia

2011

The Lucifer Effect, DOX Center for Contemporary Art, Prague
Nehéz ipar, ICA-D, Dunaújváros

2010

Re-Designing the East, Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, Germany

2009

3rd Quadrilateral Biennial, Museum Of Modern And Contemporary Art, Rijeka

2008

All that Cinema, Selection from the video collection of the Ludwig Museum, Budapest
Koncept, koncepció, szemelvények, Vasarely Múzeum, Budapest

2007

The Projections Project, Budapest episode, Kunsthalle, Budapest

2006

Lost and Found, Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden

2005

Traffic Exit Biennial II., Exit Art, New York

2003

Gravitation, International Public Art Exhibition, Ludwig Museum, Budapest

2002

Without Emergency Exit, Centro Multimedia of Mexico DF,

2001

Werk 01, Bildhauersymposion, Heidenheim, Germany

2000

L'Autre Moitié de l'Europe, Jeu de Paume, Paris
Cooperativ, Stadthaus, Ulm, Germany

1999

Aspects/Positions, 50 Years Art From Middle Europe, 20er Haus, Vienna
Kunst der neunziger Jahre in Ungarn, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, 1999

1997

Súlytalan, Ludwig Múzeum – Kortárs Művészeti Múzeum, Budapest

1996

Manifesta 1, Rotterdam, Netherlands
The Butterfly Effect, International Media Art Exhibition, Kunsthalle, Budapest
Schwere-los, Oberösterreichisches Landesgalerie, Linz
Gallery by Slide, Liget Galéria, Budapest

1995

Ostranenie 95, Dessau, Germany

1994

Négy muskétás, Gallery by Night, Stúdió Galéria, Budapest

1993

OSTranenie, Dessau

1992

Documenta IX, Kassel, Germany
Revisions: Contemporary Hungarian Art, Experimental Art Foundation,
Adelaide Museum of Art, Adelaide

1991

Trigon, 8x2 aus 7, Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz
21. International Biennale, São Paolo
Sub Voce, Műcsarnok, Budapest
Oszcilláció, Šiesta Bašta, Komarno; Műcsarnok, Budapest
Europa Unknown, Palac Sztuki, Krakkó
Europaische Werkstatt, Recklinghausen

1990

Triumph the Uninhabitable, Charlottenborg, Koppenhága, Műcsarnok, Budapest
8. Nemzetközi Kisplasztikai Biennálé (fődíj), Műcsarnok, Budapest

1989

Más-kép: experimentális fotográfia az elmúlt két évtizedben Magyarországon, Ernst Múzeum, Budapest
Junge Künstler DDR-UVR: Malerie, Grafik, Plastik, Ernst Múzeum, Budapest
Kék acél, Budapest Galéria, Budapest

1988

Ázsiai-Európai Művészeti Biennálé, Kemal Atatürk Centre, Ankara
5. heidelbergi Grafikai Biennálé, Heidelberg

1980

1980-1986 - Tizennyolc kiállítás és akció az INDIGÓ csoporttal

Videos

Publications

SELECTED PRESS

Tanárok a Képzőművészeti Egyetemen IX. – Sugár János, ARCHÍVUM, Artmagazin 2006/4. 60-65 o., Orosz Márton
KOZMA GY.: Muszáj néha mentegetőzni, Élet és Irodalom, 1988. március 18.
KOZMA GY.: Talán, Élet és Irodalom, 1989. június 9.
GYÖRGY P.: A baloldali kritika, Hiány, 1990/7.
BORA G.: Konceptus és Kontextus, Belvedere, 1990/6-7.
HEGYI L.: Tér-Objekt-Installáció, Art, 1991
KURDY FEHÉR J.: Az ki tervét felfedi, Magyar Narancs, 1992/29.
TOPOR T.: Beszélgetés, Művészet, 1993/5.
BARDI T.: A senki földjén voltunk, Beszélő, 1993. október 26.
IVACS Á.-KURDY FEHÉR J.: Egy csomag vasdrót, néhány vessző, farostlemez, egy pici gipsz és néhány cukorkás doboz, Gondolat-Jel, 1995/5.
MIHANCSIK ZS.: Kötelező fecsegés, Beszélő, 1997/10.
LOVINK, G.: Intermedia: The Dirty Digital Bauhaus Convergence, 1998
SNODGRASS, S.: Report from Budapest, Art in America, 1998/10.
HORNYIK S.: A láthatatlan művészet kontextusai, Új Művészet, 1999/8
Interview in: Geert Lovink, Uncanny Networks – In Dialogue with the Virtual Intelligentia, MIT Press, 2002
MARIA MARCOS: Kontextus-légypapír, Exindex, 2003 
TARCZALI ANDREA: Figyelemcsapda, Balkon, 2003/4 
BEATA HOCK, in: frakcija, No. 33/34
HAJDU ISTVÁN, beszélgetés I., Balkon 2005/május 
HAJDU ISTVÁN, beszélgetés II., Balkon 2005/június
OROSZ MÁRTON: A fejünkre eső tégla, Artmagazin, 2006/4