Société Réaliste, est. 2004 by Ferenc Gróf (b. 1972, Pécs, Hungary; lives Paris) and Jean-Baptiste Naudy (b.1982, Paris, lives Paris)
40 x 17 x 12 in
March of Victory: silhouettes, 2014
acrylic painting on photo
27.5 x 21 in
Aura of Stagnation, 2014
25 x 35 in
In 1945, a Red Army Memorial commemorating postwar Soviet victory over the Nazi troops was erected in Szabadság tér (Freedom Square), in the center of Budapest. Now the last major socialist sculpture in the city (the rest either destroyed after 1989, or deported to the city’s kitschified sculpture park), it keeps immediate company with a larger-than-life bronze figure of Ronald Reagan, a commission pushed through by right-wing Parliament ascendants in 2011 to counter lingering Soviet resentment. MESOMEMORIAL is the attempt by Paris-based cooperative Société Réaliste to find a new visual form to express a violently divided national identity. Using a 3D algorithm, the artists determined a form that morphed the two sculptures—turning a geometric architectural form into a body, and Reagan into a Malevich-style “architekton”—a formal structure that itself feels historically familiar.
Text by Stamatina Gregory.