The exhibition Transylvania Retouched—Landscape and Representation presents the work and atmosphere of the Marosvásárhelyi Műhely (Târgu Mureş Workshop—free translation), better known as the MAMŰ art association. The exhibition debuted in Berlin in June 2019, followed by several Hungarian and Romanian venues in 2020. This edition, however, is not considered an accompanying publication to the exhibition, but rather a separate work that captures the volatile compilation for posterity.
MAMŰ is a neo-avant-garde group of artists founded in Transylvania in the seventies by Károly Elekes, Aladár Garda and Árpád Nagy. The group consisted of roughly twenty active members who organized actions and community movements in the natural landscape surrounding Târgu Mureş. The book processes the archives of the founding members of the artist group through photographs, texts and sketches that document the extraordinary and fascinating activities of the community. Action art and conceptual art in nature were common in several countries of the Eastern Bloc, usually in response to local political situations. What makes MAMŰ special, however, is the way it combines conceptual and performative practices with local folklore. This was present not only in thought, but also in the installations of MAMŰ in the form of used materials, such as agricultural objects like harrows, or organic matter, hay, wood, cereals, stones.
In addition to archival natural actions, contemporary artists also play a major role, proving with their works that landscape art still has a raison d’être today. Transylvania Retouched is a project of the Cluj-Napoca Reciproca Association, recently published with editors Daniela Duca and Virág Major-Kremer. Many pages of the book can also be browsed virtually.