“Our Paris today is Berlin“

the Berlin-experience of Hungarian writers 1900-1933
28. 03. 2007 – 01. 09. 2007
The exhibition of the Petőfi Literary Museum entitled “Our Paris today is Berlin” – the Berlin-experience of Hungarian writers 1900-1933 presents the experiences of those Hungarian artists, writers and poets who spent some (shorter or longer) time in Berlin at the beginning of the 20th century. We try to show what they gained from the city developing then into a metropolis, how it effected their works of art, how the city itself and the different Berliner avantgarde art groups inspired them.

The exhibition conjures up those venues – for example the railway station symbolising the dynamic of the city, the Sturm Gallery, the Café des Westens, the Nürnberger Café – which played an important role in the lives of Hungarian artists living in Berlin. Some of them became successful in book publishing (Lajos Bíró), others became known through their translations (Jenő Mohácsi, Stefan Klein, Henrik Horváth). According to the memories of the contemporaries from the 300 film experts working at that time in Berlin 150 were Hungarian. The exhibition draws the attention to the role of Hungarians in European film making through the career of Béla Balázs as a writer, director and scrip consultant. The German and national audience responsive to avantgarde art knew the works of Hungarian photographs (György Kepes, Judit Kárász, Éva Besnyő, László Moholy-Nagy) as well as the works of those artists whose works appeared in significant art periodicals (László Moholy-Nagy, László Péri, Lajos Kassák, János Mattisch-Teutsch, Hugó Scheiber, Lajos Tihanyi, Aurél Bernáth, etc.) The exhibition gives a representative selection from the works of these artists. The presentation of the paintings and graphics beyond their artistic value sheds light to the close and productive relationship between literature and art at that time. With the help of scenery we conjure up the atmosphere of the legendary Sturm Gallery, which made so many Hungarian artists world famous with the help of Herwarth Walden German, who worked as a Maecenas and art patron. Besides artists theatre experts (playwrights, actors, directors: Ferenc Molnár, Menyhért Lengyel, Lajos Bíró, Oszkár Beregi) became successful and in this language was no obstacle. We try to show the main stages of the career of some writers ( Lajos Hatvany, Sándor Márai, Lajos Bíró, Tibor Déry, Jenő Rejtő, Dezső Keresztury) and the impressions of the individual induced by the different scale of values of the foreign city.
We borrowed characteristic everyday objects as well as distinguished works of arts by Hungarian artists from the materials of eight museums and collections. We also show tiny treasures from the collection of Petőfi Literary Museum, which were not presented so far. Besides private and official letters, prizes, contracts, passports, invitation cards, extracts from literary works of arts we give a selection of the first publishing of German language publications published in Berlin. Besides typical literary documents posters, costumes, invitation cards to balls, postcards and original photographs represent the era and enriches the Berlin-image, which as we wish goes beyond the commonplaces in connection with Berlin.
The visitor is also shown such masterpieces of the German film making from the 1920’s as Ruttmann’s Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt, Fritz Lang’s Dr Mabuse or Das Blaue Licht, which was partly directed by Béla Balázs.
Literary historians, historians, art historians and theatre historians helped us to make the exhibition.
2007. március 28. 10.00