By Donatella Debóra Cseri
“Why don’t we go and visit that poster exhibition at Ötvenhatosok square?” – asked I from my boyfriend on a sunny Sunday afternoon. He immediately replied with yes, as he was also interested in it. Discussed, we set out to see what the Hungarians dream about.
In this year the topic of ARC Exhibition, which means ‘face’ in Hungarian, was dreams and expectations about the future that was reflected by its title as well: Hungarian Dream – What is your dream? The exhibition has been organised for the 15th time at the square and, as in every year so far, was free. Visitors could see it between 11-27 September. What really impressive in this was that ordinary, everyday-life people could have their voice be heard, so could express their opinions and feelings in terms of the right to free speech. Their painted, computer-designed, or photo-shot billboards attracted a lot of Hungarian people who could relate to the pictures, as they have been created according to the common sense.
What really had a great impression on me was that on the set up blank billboards everybody who walked by could put their dreams on. This concept shows that during the exhibition all of us had the opportunity to express our feelings and longing for a better life. However, not only the longing what was important in connection with the event. Creative artists and non-artists pointed out serious social issues such as loneliness or family problems, but at the same time, they also tried to find some
solutions on the billboards. It is a very beautiful idea in my opinion, but the Hungarian society is aware of these or similar problems, so the exhibition was kind of useless.
Who has seen the posters only could agree with the ‘Hungarian reality’ shown on them, and definitely could identify themselves with these issues. But have the problems been solved during this 3 weeks? I don’t think so… Additionally, besides having been very interesting, the atmosphere of the whole event was a bit depressive as there were mostly negative pictures and those imbued with hopelessness exhibited. Apart from different social issues, billboards with political reflections appeared in great number as well. It was very good to see that among the posters by government-haters there were some that reflected some kind of positive feelings about our leaders. But of course, most of them were ironic and conveyed hidden messages, which were really interesting to puzzle out.
Arc has a significance in terms of rights, citizenship, and the nation. That is why it had a lot of visitors also in this year including Imre Mécs, a sometime very active and outspoken politician, who told me that it is very important to have a platform which allows the citizens to express their personal opinion, because it is part of democracy. I agreed with him, though I believe that an exhibition like this is not as efficient as it might have been meant to be. The problems haven’t been solved, but at least I had a great afternoon full of contemplation on our lifes.