The Case Of A Rejected Diploma Work
Ildikó Várnagy: Eve’s flight from Paradise
My main field of research is Hungarian art education in the sixties. Back then, only two schools trained visual artists in the country: the Academy of Fine Arts and the Academy of Applied Arts. This state of affairs was ideal for a country where political power was heavily centralized. The research, which is based on records of the board of directors and interviews with artists, was intended to survey the content of instruction used at the institute, taking into consideration the ways in which state controlled ideology shaped artist training and examining the changes which took place over the course of these years. Due to the greater or lesser resistance to this ideology on the part of the teachers (and students), the training of socialist realist artists on the basis of the Marxist-Leninist world view was realized in a somewhat haphazard way. The official ideology was represented primarily by instructors of “Marxist” subjects, although the government wished to make the entire curriculum subordinate to ideology. In the time of Modernism and Neo-avant-garde the institution, and the entire country, was closed off from the art of the developed (Democratic, Western) world. Thus the work of the – far from homogenous – teaching staff resulted in a “splotchy realism”. As for the content of instruction, little change took place over the course of the years, although the easing of the socialist dictatorship manifested itself in artist training as well: primarily in the decrease in the number of subjects and a reduction of emphasis on ideological courses. This only signified the loosening of instruction and discipline, however; it did not indicate an emergence of liberalism or the development of creativity, nor did it imply inspiration or a throrough, varied approaches to the transmission of knowledge. In what follows I would like to illustrate my argument with the example of the Academy of fine Arts’ notion of art and art education.