“Kovásznai - A Cold War Artist. Animation. Painting. Freedom.” was the first major retrospective celebrating the influence of filmmaker and painter György Kovásznai outside Hungary. The exhibition was open from 3-5 March 2016 in London, taking over the entire West Wing of the Somerset House. The show targeted the academic audience in the UK, but it also welcomed art lovers from the general public. Over 235 works were exhibited - including some of the artist’s most important video pieces - which were shown on a loop in two rooms, in a movie theatre-like environment. At the entrance hall a short animated movie greeted the audience, giving detailed information about György Kovásznai. The exhibition space itself was designed to feel as if the viewer was walking within one of the artist’s animated films, and many of the works were accompanied by photographs taken during the Cold War period, offering an insight into the socio-political context in which the works were created. In almost every room Kovásznai’s paintings were shown next to the animated films which they had originally been created for and been part of. The show also featured a video highlighting the best moments of the Kovásznai panel discussion - which took place at The Courtauld Institute of Art a few days before the exhibition.
There were a series of exciting events organised throughout the 3-day-show, which all contributed to the success of the exhibition. The opening event saw speeches by fine art consultant András Szántó, art historian Paul Wells, animation film director Joanna Quinn and Péter Szabadhegy, the Hungarian Ambassador to the UK. Numerous guided tours took place on the following days, ran by acclaimed art historians including Professor Sarah Wilson from the Courtauld Institute of Art, as well as András Szántó and Paul Wells.