[chapel project] [context 1971]
7 May 1971 - Galántai learns that the reconstruction work planned by the council will not be launched.
10 May 1971 - Discussion of the summer exhibitions and their documentation in Budapest. Galántai undertakes to arrange printing and bears the costs of the flyers and the cover page of the catalogue. The cost of the inside sheets is met by the artists.
May 1971 - The flyers of the exhibitions and the cover page of the catalogue are ready.
The art works are transported from Budapest to Balatonboglár and arrangements made for the exhibitions.
14 June 1971 - The chief executive to the cultural department of Somogy County Council, who is in charge of the Balaton region, learns from a flyer sent by Galántai “that permanent exhibitions displaying the works of several artists and Sunday programs are held again in Balatonboglár from 1 June to 7 September.” As he has not been informed of the programs officially, he promptly asks the president of the local council of Balatonboglár to report about the authorization and content of the exhibitions and programs, as well as about the organizers and the participants.
25 June 1971 - In his letter (dated from 14 June) the president of the local council of Balatonboglár replies to the chief executive of the Balaton region that, to his knowledge, the chief organizer of the programs is György Galántai, who did not ask for authorization from the administrative department of the council.
“[…] They lease the chapel from the Roman Catholic Church and held there several exhibitions and programs last year.
The local council did not mind it since the churchyard and the surroundings of the chapels got more orderly. It almost put an end to undesirable persons dwelling at the place. […] - Sámuel Kovács, president of the local council”
8 July 1971 - An article appears in Somogyi Néplap (Somogy County Paper) under the following title: “Some Avant-garde Artists Defy the Law. Illegal Exhibitions and Programs in a Leased Chapel.” The author demands to call the organizers of the Chapel Exhibitions to account for the illegal exhibitions and for the distribution of propaganda materials and to start legal proceedings against them.
10 July 1971 - The head of the department of culture to Somogy County Council asks the head of the local council to check if the exhibitions were authorized. If not, he demands the immediate closing of the Chapel Exhibitions.
10 July 1971 - The poems of Péter Legéndy are recited by Judit Loncsák.
12 July 1971 - Under the decree of the department of culture of the county, dated from the 10th of July, the president of the local council of Balatonboglár orders to close the Chapel Exhibitions and prohibits the distribution of propaganda until necessary authorizations are obtained.
12 July 1971 - György Galántai considers the measures taken by the local council to suspend the programs of the chapel unjustified as the relevant decree of the Advisory Office for Fine Arts applies to exhibitions organized by public institutions. In his letter, he refers to the legal lease contract concluded with the Roman Catholic Church on the 5th of February, 1968 according to which he is also entitled to organize exhibitions to display the work in progress.
18 July 1971 - In his article “A Bitter-Sweet Stroll at lake Balaton” László Esztergomi similarly to Somogyi Néplap denounces the events of the Chapel Exhibitions in daily paper Magyar Hírlap.
20 July 1971 - Taking advantage of Galántai’s honest intentions, the chief executive to the Balaton region of the department of culture of Somogy County Council “steals” the lease contract of the chapel and after two days of “use for official purposes”, he returns it on Galántai’s notice.
20-21 July 1971 - András Orvos asks the newspaper Magyar Hírlap for a correction and so does Galántai with Somogyi Néplap. The exhibiting artists claim that the decree in question ordains preliminary authorization for public institutions only. On the expert opinion of the Ministry of Culture and the Advisory Office for Fine Arts the newspapers turn down the artists’ request.
23 July 1971 - The head of the department to the district council turns down Galántai’s appeal from 12 July saying that the events advertised by invitation cards and other means of propaganda, as well as organized in contribution with professional performers go beyond the displaying of the work in progress. On grounds of repeated offence he prohibits the organization of exhibitions and public programs.
24 July - On his visit to the chapel, Károly Kazimir, well known director of Thália Theatre, offers his help and promises to intercede with György Aczél, the head of cultural policy within the top Party leadership. He suggests that Galántai should write a letter to Aczél.
24 July - A program called “The Spotlight of Gallicus” on Radio Free Europe comments on the article “Some Avant-garde Artists Defy the Law” published in Somogyi Néplap on the 8th July.
24 July - In a memorandum the State Church Office informs the Cultural Department of the Central Committee of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party about the “use of the Balatonboglár churchyard chapel”.
28-30 July - “On behalf of the artists of the Chapel Exhibition of Balatonboglár”, a progress report is prepared by István Kerékgyártó in Budapest, which is signed by nine artists. They address it to the Central Committee of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party, and concurrently post it to the president of the Somogy County Council, the head of the Advisory Office for Fine Arts, the assistant under-secretary of the fine arts department at the Ministry of Culture, the chief editors to Somogyi Néplap and Magyar Hírlap.
29 July - The deputy to the head of the Advisory Office for Fine Arts reminds the board of directors to the Museums of Somogy County that the Balatonboglár “Chapel Exhibitions” defy the current laws. As taking action against unauthorized exhibitions is beyond his range, he adds that it is “the local council or its superior organ that is authorized to take measures.”
2 August - In a letter written on behalf of the older generation, painter Árpád Illés gives Galántai and his fellow artists a friendly warning to be cautious and careful. He cautions them against organizing happenings, considering them “irrational, a display of irresponsible bravado which may carry grave consequences.”
” If the police disapprove of the organization of the exhibitions, they should be ceased for a while. Yet, it is possible to get proper patrons who help obtain authorization and start it legally all over again.”
5 August - György Aczél informs Galántai that he has forwarded his letter to the assistant under-secretary of the fine arts department at the Ministry of Culture as he is “authorized to deal with it.”
9/14 August - With regard to his request addressed to György Aczél, head of the fine arts department at the Ministry of Culture, Endre Gádor, summons Galántai to a preliminary inquiry which takes place on the 14th of August.
At Gábor Pap’s recommendation, a German film crew that are currently shooting a TV film about Hungarian churches visit Balatonboglár and make a program about the exhibition. The film is shown several times on Saarbrücken TV in 1972. (excerpt from the documentary)
August - With the verbal consent of the Körmendi family, the crypt, which was broken open several times, is finally restored, and locked up with an iron bar door.
1. September - Pál Petrigalla visits the chapel with Rudolf Ungváry.
25 September - Acting on behalf of avant-garde artists, the artists exhibiting at Balatonboglár prepare a meeting at Young Artists’ Club to which they invite the representatives of the Communist Youth Association, the Ministry of Culture, the Central Committee of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party, as well as the Advisory Office for Fine Arts. To the planned meeting, which is organized by András Orvos on behalf of the artists, fourteen artists and critics sign a keynote report.
The public event planned for the 11th of October does not take place. After consecutive arrangements, a meeting is held instead at the headquarters of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party on the 26th of October.
28 September - On the request of the Central Committee of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party, critic József Vadas gives his opinion on the report made by the participants of the chapel exhibition.
26 October - Meeting of the representatives of cultural policy and the avant-garde artists at the headquarters of the Central Committee of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party. The artists present are Imre Bak, Attila Csáji, György Galántai, István Haraszty, András Orvos and Gyula Pauer; while on behalf of the cultural department of the Central Committee of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party is (executive) Miklós Tóth, on behalf of the fine arts department of the Ministry of Culture is (deputy to the head of the department) Géza Csorba, on behalf of the Advisory Office for Fine Arts are (director) Tibor Ormos and (assistant-director) Éva Bartha, and (secretary of the Communist Youth Association) János Miklós Kádár from Young Artists’ Studio. The representatives of the party and the state organisations, and the artists reach an agreement that, from 1972 on, the works intended to be exhibited will be submitted to the jury, obligatory for all public exhibitions.
15 November - The President of the Council of Balatonboglár summons Galántai to an official meeting to discuss the future of the Chapel Exhibitions. The meeting takes place on the 21st of December.
17 November - On the request of the party secretary to Somogy County, the assistant-director to the Museums of Somogy County gives his opinion on the Chapel Exhibitions of Balatonboglár relying on the articles published in the press.
18 November - At the expanded conference of the department of Propaganda and Culture of Somogy County of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party, György Aczél brings forward the matter of the Chapel Exhibitions.
21 December - At the discussion to which Galántai was summoned by the President of the Council to Balatonboglár, the representatives of the county and the district are also present. As the four of them do not reach an agreement and no record is made, Galántai summarizes his point of view and future plans in a letter and sends it to the participants.
28 December - According to the agreement reached at the meeting at the headquarters of the party (on the 26th of October), Galántai requests a jury session of the Advisory Office for Fine Arts for May 1972.
(English translation by Ágnes Ivacs)