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Knesebeckstraße 90, 10623 Berlin

ENDRE TÓT

I AM GLAD IF THE BERLIN WIND BLOWS MY FLAG

15 September - 30 October 2021

Endre Tót, born 1937 in Hungary, is internationally associated with the Fluxus movement and conceptual art. In 1979 he wrote on the Berlin Wall, "I would be glad if I could write something on the other side of the wall". The public action took place during his first visit to West Berlin on a DAAD-scholarship.

He chose subtle and humorous signs of resistance, using the power of words and text and their ability to function as switches in the minds of their readers. Tót's oeuvre spans public actions, photography, multiples and drawings – artistic media directed at blurring art and life.

Tót, living in Budapest at that time, first came to international attention through his mail art projects. Exhibition participation in Paris, London, Jerusalem, Warsaw or Belgrade bypassed the control of the socialist regime in Hungary using the camouflage strategy of mailing. An elusive political protest also attests to the mentioned series:

"I am glad … to stand here /
... to be able to laugh"

which suggests the fragile liberty of public space. His "0"-series declare his opposition to the distortion of meaning through stating that no meaning is better than a false one. With the invitation of Endre Tót to West Berlin as a fellow of the Artists-in-Berlin programme of the DAAD in 1978, he finally emerged from isolation in Hungary.

For the present exhibition, original photographic negatives from Endre Tót's early Berlin years were viewed. These are shown for the first time, together with photos of actions of public interventions from Cologne and Amsterdam in the early 1980s. In addition, early videos and canvas works from the 1970s complete Endre Tót's first solo exhibition in Berlin after 1979.

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Endre Tót

*1937 in Sümeg, Hungary / lives in Cologne & Budapest

Endre Tót is one of the defining Hungarian figures of international conceptual art. Following his experiments conducted in the medium of painting in the 1960s, he began working with non-image-based, text and signal-centred idea art. Shortly after this, his work entered international public awareness due to his extensive mail art activities.

While he lived and worked in Budapest until 1978, as of 1971, his artworks/concepts and works on paper were featured at numerous exhibitions worldwide. It was during this time that his ideas of "Rain", "Gladness", and "Zero", which defined his conceptual art, emerged. He used various media to express these ideas, beginning with artist books, the typewriter, postcards, rubber stamps, and photos, as well as using and combining various printing techniques. Later he expanded his range of chosen media by including actions and their documentation as well.

Endre Tót's international exhibitions venues include, among others, the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Centre Pompidou (Paris) and the Tate Gallery (London), the Museum Ludwig in Cologne (1999), Ludwig Múzeum Budapest (1999), The Museum Fridericianum in Kassel (2006), and the MODEM in Debrecen, Hungary (2012) presented retrospectives of his work. Endre Tót has been organizing public actions in European cities since 1976.


Current solo exhibition in New York City
Endre Tót: Gladness and Rain