On Violence

Budapest Gallery

1036 Budapest, Lajos utca 158.

12 May – 30 July 2023

Exhibiting artists:

Kateryna Aliinyk, Artists’ Campaign to Repeal the Eighth Amendment – Mia Mullarkey, Rachel Fallon, Olia Fedorova, Jelena Jureša, Elektra KB, Hristina Ivanoska, Anikó Loránt (1977-2020), Milica Tomić, Dominika Trapp, Selma Selman, Anna Zvyagintseva


Lívia Páldi

art historian, Budapest History Museum – Kiscelli Museum – Municipal Gallery

Exhibition design:

Katarina Šević


Coordinator of social relations:

Diána Darabos


11 May 2023 (Thursday), 6 pm

Opening speech

Rita Antoni

women’s rights activist

Guided tour with the artists and curator (in English):

11 May 2023 (Thursday), 4 pm

Program in the Bem Cinema:

12 May 2023, (Friday) 4 pm

Screening and artist talk (in English)

Jelena Juresa: Aphasia

In January 2020, following the decision of the General Assembly of Budapest, the project “Memory of rape in wartimes: Women as victims of sexual violence was launched with the ultimate goal to create a worthy memorial in the Hungarian capital. The memorial is scheduled to be inaugurated in 2024. Since the project launch, the themes of war violence, public commemoration and memorials as well as their broader context have been presented in several events, a mock-up exhibition, a lecture series, and a publication, fostering social and professional dialogue and debate.

Since World War II, there have been numerous waves of sexual violence in global and local conflicts, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing military aggression have recently brought the brutality of war (sexual) crimes, traumatic losses, vulnerability and environmental destruction alarmingly close, while also demonstrating the power of broad social solidarity.
The urgency of offering a nuanced examination of the complex phenomenon and operation of violence is due not only to the violence experienced in a rising number of military conflict zones, but also to the inequalities in patriarchal power structures, discrimination against LGBTQI+ people, struggles for bodily autonomy, equality and reproductive health, and the rise of domestic violence.

Exposure to violence and aggression is systemic. The health, justice and (family) law systems of the partiarchal state, which subordinate and degrade women, fundamental deficiencies of the legal system, and male-centric national and memory politics are all responsible for the perpetuation of (often state-sponsored) bias against women, the schemata of violence in public consciousness, and practices of victim-blaming.

The international group exhibition at the Budapest Gallery presents experiences of violence, scripts of social behavior, and visual and political themes of violence from women’s and queer perspectives.
Works with a more abstract approach to the complex patterns of states and trap situations of abuse, fear-mongering and anxiety are juxtaposed with diary-like works recording visceral reactions to the situation in Ukraine and to pervasive violence.
Several artists deal with the enduring traumas of the region’s recent past, the Yugoslav wars.
The political-ideological manipulation of collective memory, ethnically based violence, and collective responsibility are examined in this investigative, partly archive-based research within wider contexts and relations. These include artistic representations of Polish, Irish and South American social movements and body politics activism that rewrite the strategies of solidarity and agency.

The accompanying and educational programs developed in cooperation with artists, NGOs and human rights activists, such as discussions, talks, guided tours and workshops, seek to engage different generations and people of various social backgrounds.

The title of the exhibition may recall an essay published by political philosopher Hannah Arendt on the relationship between war, politics, violence and power in 1969. Although her essay expresses several ideas that are applicable to the present, this exhibition explores the possibilities of political action and political community along different lines.

Photos: Tamás Juhász G.