The children’s republic of Gaudiopolis (“City of Joy”), founded in Budapest after World War II, was the inspiration and central metaphor for a collaborative project between the Leipzig Museum of Contemporary Art (GfZK) and the OFF Biennale in Budapest. The “City of Joy” existed for six years and provided shelter to hundreds of orphaned children regardless of their religious affiliation, social class or nationality. The goal of the Gaudiopolis community was to relearn democracy and raise “independent, self-confident, practically trained and theoretically educated people”. In view of today’s dysfunctional civil societies, authoritarian governments and political radicalisation, Gaudiopolis represents a strong, solidarity-based community. This project aimed to present works and offer educational events which exemplified and explored the idea of democratic coexistence. The central questions of the project were: What can we do to help children and young people gain a better understanding of democracy? What role can art and art education play in this? Are there parallels between artistic work and exploratory learning methods used by children?
The project kicked off with an international symposium in Leipzig which investigated the interplay of artistic practice, art education and reform-pedagogical approaches. The symposium has served as the basis for new works by international artists which made reference to the urban communities of Leipzig and Budapest, presented alongside existing works. Artists, children and young people have been invited to participate in art pedagogical activities in a “Museum of Ideas” spanning both cities, which has been offered at educational institutions and artistic organisations at a later time.
Artistic directors: Hajnalka Somogyi (HU), Franciska Zólyom
Artists: Gabo Camnitzer, Uta Eisenreich, Alia Farid (KW, PR), Finger, Binelde Hyrcan, Bernd Krauß, Manuel Pelmus (RO), Christoph Ruckhäberle, Javier Tellez, Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor, Architecture Uncomfortable, Anna Vovan, Anna Witt
OFF-Biennale, Budapest: 29 Sep. – 29 Oct. 2017