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Tamás Tibor KASZÁS, visual artist, 1976


To be honest, I am quite irritated by the questions and the topic of regime change in general. Was there a change of regime, or not? Was it a revolution or a choreographed transfer of power with backdoor deals?

To me, it is obvious that there was no change of regime at all, as there was no other system to speak of. It has always been capitalism, except that it was called socialism for a while – although state capitalism would be more precise phrasing. There is no real difference. Only those saw a change in systems who believed that free market and representative democracy were the way to riches and, as such, the ultimate goal.

This is precisely what irritates me in these questions: we are still attempting to analyze whether the system has changed, while still stuck within the framework of the system. It’s like organizing a conference in a basement with no windows about what the weather is like outside instead of going out to breathe some fresh air.

This is, in short, what I can say on this topic.

In addition, I would like to cite here a text I wrote for a previous project, which describes the background for a part of my art, which is relevant here. From this, it is also possible to discern the influence that the regime change had on my art – although presently I don’t think of this question as relevant.

“Symbol Rehab

I grew up in pseudo-socialist Eastern Europe. Back then, for a child, who most of the time only sensed what is on the surface of things, life was great. The scenery that surrounded me was excellent for communicating clear and pure ideas. I liked the posters and coats of arms made with modern design, whose inspiring force radiated a kind of positive energy. I was enthused by their optimism and the image of the future they were foretelling. Although the scenery has since dissolved, nothing that I could be inspired by has taken the place of those ideas. The symbols have proven to have no real content behind them; they were only fabrications serving to conceal something.

Countless symbols have been used up during the course of history, which were originally connected to ideas or values that we, in theory, still hold valid today. It was partly for this reason, that I have begun the rehabilitation of appropriated – and then cast away – symbols. These, partly transformed or in combination with one another, can often be used as models for thinking.

The coats of arms of socialist countries were more state emblems, as they had been formulated without regard to the rules of traditional heraldry. Most times, they were built on the basic motif of the wreath. In my animation entitled Utopia, I digitalized the emblems of the member states of the former Soviet Union, and then removed the words and most often used symbols (red star, sickle and hammer) in order to obtain a purer and more abstract meaning.

Later, I took these emblems apart and used the components to built new ones. This can be regarded as a game of aesthetics, if you will – a kind of formalism. During this formalist game, however, through the cleaning of the symbols and the dismantling (striving toward perfection?) of contentual components, images that communicate utopistic thoughts and specific political content can be created.”

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