Tony Lavazza’s Sulphurous Pyramid Home

Exhibition of Chloé Macary-Carney

Budapest Gallery

1036 Budapest, Lajos utca 158. (1st floor)

10 August – 18 September 2022

Curator of the exhibition:

Júlia Hermann

Opening:

9 August 2022 (Tuesday) 6 pm

Music performance:

hum – Bence Barta and Esteban de la Torre

Chloé Macary-Carney started her research on the ritual sites and practices of New Age communities (which combine various philosophies and religious customs) in Hungary, which forms the basis of the exhibition, as a participant in Budapest Gallery’s 2021 artist exchange programme. Her preconceptions about these communities – that they were inclusive and safe – turned out to be wrong already at the beginning of the research. Which is why Macary-Carney set as the exhibition’s goal to establish just such a space, open to everybody, where visitors are encouraged to create and share communal experiences.

In her research, Macary-Carney explored the many faces, geographical and historical dimensions, and political links of Hungarian New Age communities and witchcraft, while simultaneously trying to unravel the myths surrounding these communities. She went on to produce a book, now on display, of her observations and the interviews conducted while she was in Budapest, that acts, thanks to detailed descriptions and a personal tone, as a narrative companion to the works. She also studied, in addition to the New Age movement that originated in the US of the 60s and 70s, historical witchcraft and Hungarian superstitions and customs associated with it – which resulted in the exhibition’s simplified Luca Chair and in pictures of places commemorating the Szeged witch trial (1728).

The exhibition space is transformed into the sulphurous pyramid home of the eponymous Tony Lavazza, a fictional witchcraft scholar and alter ego of the artist. The situation we find ourselves in is intimate and informal, as are the materials, wood and paper, the techniques, careful and sensitive, and the diary-like research summary. This intimacy invites visitors to investigate, alongside with the fictional scholar, the foundations of witch communities, and through this, community mechanisms in general. Although the once strict code of rules of witch communities – that existed in perpetual opposition to the powers that be, were radically anti-patriarchal, and viewed intragroup safety as both a means and an end – has since been eased, the importance of a sense of belonging and community rituals have stayed the same with modern witchcraft and the New Age movement, which shows some similarities to the former.

Pictures documenting and illustrating the research are indicated by colours; visitors, however, are invited, in fact called on, by the artist to use both the space and the objects at their will for personal rituals, in the form of reading, conversing, and eating.

Chloé Macary-Carney (1994, New York) lives and works in Paris.

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