The jury of the 29th Biennial of Graphic Arts (Dave Beech, Christian Höller, Urška Jurman, and Ulay /Frank Uwe Laysiepen/) has awarded the Honorary Award to Miklós Erdély for the work Unguarded Money, an action carried out in Budapest by Miklós Erdély (1928–1986), his friends, and some members of the Hungarian Writers Union, during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.
Text from the catalogue, written by Božidar Zrinski:
On 23 October 1956, spontaneous student protests in Budapest erupted into a general uprising against the Hungarian Communist government and the Soviet Army troops stationed in the country. In late October or early November, at one of the meetings that took place at his home, Miklós Erdély presented to friends and artists the idea of placing boxes for collecting money for the victims of the revolution – boxes that nobody would guard – in six locations around Budapest. The chose a work group, set up the boxes, and, on posters marking the collection points, wrote: “The purity of our revolution makes it possible for us to collect money in this way for the families of our fallen martyrs. The Writers Union of Hungary.” Using a car that belonged to the Writers Union, Erdély drove from box to box and tried to persuade the members of the revolutionary militia who were standing next to the boxes to leave: he told them that the time had come when there was no longer any need to guard money. It was not until 1965, when Erdély learned about “happenings” and the Fluxus movement, that he designated this action as an art event and gave it the title Unguarded Money.
Installation view in International Centre of Graphic Arts. Photograph: Jaka Babnik.
Original photographs: Tibor Szentpétery, courtesy of the Tibor Szentpétery Collection, and Stefan Moses, courtesy of the Münchner Stadtmuseum, Munich.