Experiments in Untamed Creativity: Anthropology as a Tool in Tamás Kaszás’ Practice

By Maja and Reuben Fowkes
Published in Tamás Kaszás: Exercises in Autonomy / Featuring Aniko Lorant (Ex-Artists' Collective) (Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, 2016)

Invited to produce a work in the format of an advertising billboard for the 2016 Bucharest Biennial, Tamás Kaszás responded literally by designing a one-off poster for his upcoming solo exhibition that was to open one month later at Museum Sztuki Łodz. The print incorporated a black and white woodcut showing seven figures grouped together with defiant, open-mouthed faces, beneath the handwritten French title ‘La Pensée Sauvage’ from modernist-anthropologist Claude Levi Strauss. Reaching out to the local public from within the constraints of a generic city lightbox, a further text in Romanian addressed viewers with the subliminal observation that ‘those who know the truth do not advertise it,’ while additional information provided in English, giving the title, dates and venue for his show in Poland, was of primary relevance to professional visitors to the Biennial. The polyphony of linguistic registers and cultural references in this multilayered artistic intervention points to the artist’s predilection for subversive propaganda, tendency towards the repurposing of forms and ideas, as well as his current interest in anthropology as a critical tool to counter the aesthetic and political ideologies of post-industrial society.        

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