Fluxus East

Fluxus Networks in Central Eastern Europe

Henie Onstad Kunstsenter | Sonja Henies vei 31 | 1311 Høvikodden | 28 October 2010 – 27 February 2011 (preliminary dates)

Gábor Altorjay

1946, born in Budapest, Hungary
Lives in Hamburg

In 1965, Gábor Altorjay began to study at the Theological Academy in Budapest and was thus able to evade military service. Early on, he developed an interest in the Polish avant-garde, and for this reason, he learnt Polish and, among other things, travelled to the music festival Warsaw Autumn in 1965. Together with Tamás St. Auby and Miklós Erdély, he realised the first Hungarian happening The Lunch – In memoriam Batu Kán in 1966. In addition, he published the samizdat magazine, Laura, each issue of which presented news from the future on a roll of paper one metre long. At that time, Altorjay also began active correspondence with artists outside Hungary such as Dick Higgins and Wolf Vostell, who published Altorjay’s score for an action concert in an edition of dé-coll/age in 1967. Because of his activities, Altorjay drew the attention of the Hungarian state security offices, and he fled to Western Europe in September 1967 to escape their repeated repressions (cross-questioning, house searches, confiscation of his passport).

In Germany, Altorjay came into contact with artists from the Fluxus circle through the collector Hanns Sohm. In October 1967, he was involved in a happening with Bazon Brock in Stuttgart. In Cologne – together with the composer Mauricio Kagel, Wolf Vostell and others –, he founded the commune and exhibition location Kombinat 1. The concept of “intermedia”, coined by Dick Higgins, became a determining factor in Altorjay’s work. In 1969, he began to produce audio plays and features for various radio stations. He contributed a flyer in the name of the “Hungarian faction” to the exhibition organised in the Kölnischer Kunstverein in October 1970, happening & fluxus: “We believe that happening begins where art stops! – We are not joining in!”. Since the 1980s, Altorjay has worked primarily as a film director and scriptwriter. His long-term project is a translation of the novel Carneval by Béla Hamvas.

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