Adam Ulbert at ArtKartell Project Space

Artist: Adam Ulbert

Exhibition title: Fables From The Ship Of Fools

Curated by: Gabor Rieder

Venue: ArtKartell Project Space, Budapest, Hungary

Date: August 3 – September 8, 2019

Photography: Dávid Biro / images copyright and courtesy of the artist and ArtKartell Project Space

The Artkartell projectspace gladly presents the new solo exhibition by Adam Ulbert, with his latest series titled Fables From The Ship Of Fools. The Amsterdam based Hungarian artist re-tells stories that usually comes both from the field of mythology and natural sciences. He narrates and forms them with his particular style that is shaped by art brut, naive or folkloristic art and also influenced by recent contemporary trends like the materialism of post-internet art.

After his solo presentation at the Paris Internationale 2018 with his project titled Thalassa II, Fish, Volcano, Twins this is his second collaboration with the Artkartell projectspace.

The 2018-19 series of works titled Fables From The Ship Of Fools consist of several mainly large scale oil paintings and three bronze sculptures. The series is based on the well known medieval topos the ’ship of fools’ that we could recall from different satirical texts just like Sebastian Brant’s Das Narrenschiff or Erasmus of Rotterdam’s In Praise of Folly. The story was also widely depicted by artists just like Albrect Dürer or Hieronymus Bosch. By the end of the medieval era the ostracized ’fool’ members of the society were basically expelled to the fringes of the cities and communities. They were forced to resettle in areas that were designated before for groups of lepers for example. This phenomena was thoroughly discussed by the french philosopher Michel Foucault and was described how the behavior and deeds of the minority were considered fallible and sinful that can not lead to salvation. At the same time, the image of the fools crowded and drifted in the same boot on the stormy seas of unpredictability, was also the metaphor of the cataclysmic change between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Humanist minds who were living in the apocalyptic era of both constant wars and intellectual renewal (Humanism, Reformation) were trying to depict in this sarcastic allegory the main characteristics of their time. It was a sobering and bitter vision: a control-less drunken captain is hold captive with the insane and sinful, without navigation, on a dinghy in the middle of nowhere. „The Ship of Fools represents the overwhelming anxiety of the late European medieval mind.” – Foucault writes. “The mad and madness is becoming an important figure with its ambiguity: menace and irony, the dizzying unreason of the world and the profane ridicule of the folk.”

Ulbert is reflecting to this story partly similarly as he did in his Thalassa series.

With the Thalassa he was trying to interpret the crisis of the initial geological and biological rupture of matter and mind through processing it by analyzing the so called nature-culture dichotomy. With the Fables from the Ship of Fools he is examining the traumatizing breach between minorities and the majority, and how the exiled individual could recreate its status through the myth. (by Gábor Rieder)

Adam Ulbert (1984, Budapest) one of the most original Hungarian representative of post-internet art. After studying humanities he did his BA at MOME Budapest. He graduated at the fine art department at the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam. He was an artist in resident at the Rijksakademie in 2016 and 2017. Currently he is receiving the established artist grant from the Mondriaan Fonds. He had solo exhibition in Birmingham (2014, The Lombard Method), Amsterdam (2014, Stedelijk Museum Bureau), Budapest (2014, Trapéz Gallery), Prague (2017, Karlin Studios) and in Paris (2018, Paris Internationale). He participated in many group shows from Graz to Madrid and from Shanghai to New York. This exhibition was specifically supported by the Stichting Stokroos material grant.