12 Walls – International Architectural Performance and Exhibition in Veszprém

Groups of young British, American, Italian, Spanish, Ukrainian and Hungarian architects have painted twelve walls in an early 20th century building of Veszprém, which stood abandoned for thirty years, to call attention to the use of architectural decorative motifs and experimentative tools in architecture.

Their exhibition is in part hommage to the ornamentising architecture and ornament collector’s
activity of István Medgyaszai, designer of the Petőfi Theatre building, which is situated just across the road. The event is part of Design Week Veszprém and an attention-evoking element of Veszprém’s
European Capital of Culture bid. A point that strongly links the 12 Walls exhibition to the Veszprém-Balaton 2023 bid is the fact that it shows a novel type of openness and experimentative spirit which seems to have strenghtened in post-crisis architects’s circles. A key feature of this movement is the motivation to put already existing buildings back into use rather than create new functional infrastructure.

Dávid Smiló, representative of the event organiser Paradigma Ariadné architect’s studio said: “Turn-of-the-century art was largely influenced by two notions: motif and ornament. It was at this time
that the building of the Veszprém Apprentice School (later Primary School for Singing and Music) was erected, along with the Petőfi Theatre building standing opposite, the latter an István Medgyaszay
design. At present both buildings are scheduled to undergo renovation; thus, before renovation starts, they give us a great opportunity to reflect on a problematics that was so important for Medgyaszay and his contemporaries and also to examine what ornaments and ornamentation may mean to today’s young architects.

The issue of ornaments has been on the rise again over the past few years, but this interest is of a novel type. This process may be pinpointed in individual works and – to date – isolated dialogues within the international architectural scene. As opposed to traditional signification, ornaments are no longer secondary or auxiliary functions, but are interpreted as architectural qualities. Up and coming contemporary architects as well as a number of creative groups are trying to define their relationship to periodically forgotten and then reappearing ornaments.” The artists of the exhibition pieces have taken a range of approaches to present-day roles and limits of ornaments, using the once blank walls of the Apprentice School. The total number of artifacts is 12.

“Exhibiting” artists of the event (to be opened on 17th October 2018) are:  Architecture Uncomfortable Workshop, Enorme Studio, False Mirror Office, Levente Gyulai, Adam Nathaniel Furman, Andrew Kovacs, MNPL Workshop, Giacomo Pala, Paradigma Ariadné,  Space Popular, TREES, and Very Good Office.