Marijan Molnar was born in Reka near Koprivnica on November 10, 1951. He graduated with a major in painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1976. For four years, he was an associate in the Master Workshops of painters Ljubo Ivančić and Nikola Reiser, and also collaborated with the artists gathered around the Podroom Gallery and Extended Media Gallery in Zagreb. He participated in about 100 group exhibitions and about 40 solo exhibitions, carried out a number of actions and performances, most notably "For the Democratization of Art," " Burning Paper on Snow," "Three Square on the Earth," "Memory on Three of Square," and "Do you like it...?"
Art historians and museum scholars emphasize that Molnar was one of the pioneers of conceptual art in Zagreb in the 1970s. Although initially relying on painting as a medium, very early he began to practice art based on the experiences of the "New Artistic Practice". Igor Loinjak states that since the beginning of his career, Molnar has shown a broad range of interests, and followed world trends and approached art from the processual point of view. He differs from other conceptual and post-conceptual colleagues by his pronounced socially based activism, which is particularly reflected in the "For the Democratization of Art" cycle, where Molnar, using the language and methods of the socialist ideology such as state symbols (the five-pointed star), pointed out the link between art and the broader social context of that time." (˝Izložbom ‘O prvom i drugom’ Marijana Molnara otvorena nova sezona u Galeriji Kazamat˝. Osijek031.com, September 26, 2016. http://www.osijek031.com/osijek.php?topic_id=64086)
He established intense cooperation with the artists gathered in the Podroom Gallery in Zagreb in the period from 1977 until 1983, where he was involved in many events and exhibitions. He was also involved in the activities of the Extended Media Gallery in Zagreb, where he staged a solo exhibition in 1981. Besides his subversive artistic work "For the Democratization of Art," he was not involved in any direct opposition to the socialist regime.
Today, Molnar continues his work through the PLEH artist collective, founded in 2007. Apart from Molnar, the group includes Kata Mijatović, Vlatko Vincek and Zoran Pavelić. PLEH wants to revitalize and actualize the meaning of Molnar's slogan "For the Democratization of Art," which it has done through exhibitions in Koprivnica in 2008, Subotica in 2009, Sarajevo in 2010 and in Ljubljana in 2014. (Jasmin Duraković. ˝Korak za demokratizaciju umjetnosti!˝ Depo Portal, June 26, 2010. http://depo.ba/clanak/10097/korak-za-demokratizaciju-umjetnosti#17)
- Zagreb, Croatia
Gergely Molnár is a founding member and frontman of the short-lived cultic band Spions. This was one of the bands that started the new wave in Hungary in 1977 and was a source of inspiration for an entire generation of alternative musicians. Besides music, he worked on movies, experimental theatre productions, and literature. His diverse interests naturally sprang from each other, and of course had a strong influence on one another.
Molnár first appeared in the first half of the 1970s at the artist György Galántai’s chapel exhibition venue in Balatonboglár. At this time, his ambitions were primarily literary: he was a member of various underground literary salons, writing essays and poems, and he was part of a number of anthology initiatives. As his writings became more and more theatrical, he naturally turned towards theatre: he participated in the work of the Kassák Studio, the Kovács István Studio, and started the Donauer Vedio Familie with László Najmányi and Kati Örsi, a direct prelude for Spions. Between 1975 and 77, he gave a number of lectures about movies and rock culture at the film club of the Ganz-MÁVAG House of Culture, as well as in the Kossuth Club and the Club of Young Artists (Fiatal Művészek Klubka, FMK). Among others, Lou Reed and David Bowie was a favourite subject of these lectures. The latter also served as an inspiration for short stories, essays, and even screenplays. His interest in films went even further: besides the critiques and analyzes, he made a number of video films with László Najmányi at the time. But Molnár also wrote and edited a “one-person diary journal”. The monthly journal with only a few a copies contained studies, photographs, poems and private documents of his.
In 1977, from this community, the band Spions was formed by Gergely Molnár, Péter Hegedűs, György Kurtág jr., and with the contribution of László Najmányi. This also meant the start of the Hungarian art-punk and new wave. Despite the relatively scant repertoire and the fact that they only had a total of three concerts, their impact on the Hungarian alternative music scene was enormous: they were followed a whole generation of underground bands. Molnár and Najményi were already well-known figures of the Hungarian neo-avantgarde scene, which bond was determinative for how Spions operated. They turned towards music with to hope to break out from the narrow circle of the neo-avantgarde scene and reach a bigger audience. From this point of view they were not making music with the goal of making music: what was attractive and inspiring about the genre was its ‘interdisciplinary’ nature, the possibility to connect the various branches of art. As a result, their concerts were more like performances rather than concerts: they were interwoven with elements used in experimental theatre, provocation techniques specific to avantagarde, literary experience and media awareness from their past with movies.
Their provocative, sarcastic lyrics, scandalous performances, and the general attitude of having no regards to anything was something that the cultural politics of the 1970s could not tolerate. Playing in the band Spions came at a high price: Molnár was beaten up several times, his apartment was vandalized. Finally, as many artists at the time, the members of Spions - except for Tibor Zátonyi - left the country. The transformed Spions continued to play in Paris, where they eventually released a TP (Russian Way of Life, 1979) and an EP (The Party). Shortly after they disbanded: Molnár and Najmányi went to Canada, while Hegedűs moved to the United Kingdom. Nonetheless, the legacy of Spions survived: their songs, along with other documents and texts by Molnár were collected and published in the samizdat journal Sznob International in Budapest in 1982, and their impact on Hungarian alternative music was profound.
Gergely Molnár still lives in Montreal, and refuses to speak Hungarian. “ Hungary does not exist to me anymore” - said after emigrating, and he seems to keep himself to this since then. Over the years he worked and performed in English, under the names Gregory Miller, Anton Ello, Gregor Davidow, and Helmut Spiel!. According to the latest news, today, he works on a radio show, records a video diary, dances using the name Charlotte Bonaparte, meditates, and writes a book about the history of rock. He is also a member of the Supranational Social Party, a movement developed by him and László Najmányi.
- Budapest, Hungary
- Montreal, Montreal, Canada
- Paris, France
- Toronto, Canada
The historian János Molnár was born in Budapest in 1969. He specialized in 20th-century history, and has been a freelance researcher as well as oral historian for more than fifteen years. His main research interests are the internal affairs of post-war Hungary and the democratic opposition of the Kádár era.
Molnár received his MA degree in History from the Loránd Eötvös University of Budapest in 2003. Afterward, he started his career, while taking PhD courses from the University of Debrecen, as a research assistant for János Kornai, Professor of Economics, for two years, researching at archives for Kornai’s memoir By Force of Thought. From 2005 to 2010 he worked as a freelance researcher for the 1956 Institute Budapest and conducted interviews for its Oral History Archives (OHA). He interviewed dissident intellectuals who had signed the Czechoslovakian Charter ’77 protest in 1979, foreign journalists, and Hungarian emigres who had returned from the Soviet Union. Fourteen of his full-length, life history interviews can be assessed at OHA (transcribed over more than 5,000 thousand pages).
After the 1956 Institution was annexed by the National Széchényi Library in 2011, Molnár created the website “Memory of the 20th Century” (http://www.hsze.hu/en), publishing a series of his oral history interviews. Since February 2012, the website shares interviews, pictures, and other documents. So far, this is the only collection in Hungary offering free access online to life history interviews, with background documents in Hungarian as well as English.In 2012, to the website he created called “Memory of the 20th Century” (http://hsze.hu/da/en), he added a digital archive that includes Gabriella Lengyel’s Collection on the history of SZETA (Hungarian dissidents’ Fund for Aiding the Poor). This website aims to process and publish smaller, unknown private collections of documents, with summaries and notes also in English.
- Budapest, Hungary
Tamás Molnár (1955–) is a graphic artist. He was a member of the Inconnu group.
In the late 1970s, he worked in Szolnok in as a librarian and organizer of cultural events. In 1978, he was one of the founding members of Inconnu. He participated in the actions of the group and in the actions, performances, and demonstrations of the democratic opposition. In 1985, he moved to Budapest because of the harassment he endured at the hands of the police, as the other members did too. He ran a private gallery named Arteria Geléria, where artistic and political events were organized.In the 1990s, he began to become active in politics as a supporter of right-wing tendencies. He wrote articles in national-conservative journals, and he served as the deputy chairman of the far-right party Jobbik. In 2005, he published a list of agents who had reported on the members of Inconnu. In 2006, he was one of the leaders of a huge demonstration against the government in the Kossuth Square. Until roughly 2005, he actively participated in political life. He then went into retirement and organized a workshop of artists.
- Budapest, Hungary
Dorota Monkiewicz (1961) is considered to be one of the most outstanding curators and critics in Poland. In 2011-2016 she was a head of the Wrocław Contemporary Museum (MMW), which concept she co-created with Piotr Krajewski. She is an author of over 100 publications. She mostly deals with conceptual, critique, and feminist art, as well as with the experimental forms of arranging modern art collections.
Monkiewicz graduated art history at the University of Warsaw in 1990 when she defended the master’s thesis “The theory and practice of the hermeneutic art works”. She worked as a modern art curator at the National Museum in Warsaw; in 1996 she founded the Foundation for the Modern Art Collections of the National Museum in Wroclaw (currently: the GESSEL Foundation). For many years she was a president of the Polish section of AICA. She organised some big, retrospective exhibitions of Ewa Partum, Zbiegniew Libera, and other representatives of the Polish modern art.
From 2009 Monkiewicz had been engaged in organising the Wrocław Contemporary Museum, and from 2011 she served as its director. She is a co-author of the MWW’s program, based on Jerzy Ludwiński’s idea of the Current Art Museum. She initiated the MMW’s Jerzy Ludwiński Archive. The museum’s vision, created by Monkiewicz, shifts a pressure from art itself onto the social projects and the local historical context, which opened the institution towards an educational and inclusive activity – what is symbolically underlined by the lack of the “art” term in the museum’s name.
- Warszawa, Warsaw, Poland