The Várfok Gallery, founded in 1990, is one of the first private galleries established in Hungary with a purely contemporary art profile.

Over the nearly 30 years, the Gallery has developed into a highly professional organisation which consists of a main gallery, a project space, an open-air gallery and a library. A permanent artists’ circle is connected to the Gallery whose complete lifeworks are housed there, enabling research to take place and the history of each work to be documented. Continuity, passion and long-term thinking define the Várfok Gallery.

OUR HISTORY

Várfok Gallery was founded right after the political change over in 1990 under the name Várfok 14 Műhelygaléria by Károly Szalóky, its recent owner. It can be considered as one of the first private contemporary art galleries in Hungary. A former coal cellar was transformed to an exhibition hall (later called Várfok Hall) in Várfok St. 14. In 1996 the mother institute expanded by opening Spiritusz Gallery. The name giving expresses a sort of continuity: the name was given by Szalóky, who has previously ran Vizivárosi Gallery under the name of Spiritusz Gallery. Initially it functioned as a typical flat gallery with an entrance hall and a 40 m² exhibition space. From 1999 to 2002 it worked as an exhibition room or a sort of salon where from time to time new exhibitions could be seen partly from Károly Szalóky’s collection and from other works deposited in Várfok Gallery.
The XO Gallery was opened in 1997. The exhibition space was originally a municipal flat, which went through elemental changes to become what it is now. With its arched, slanting walls and high-tech glass surfaces and signs XO became a specially designed spacious hall. The huge headroom, the modern lightning technique together with the gallery’s postmodern style creates a representative place for exhibitions. Although Várfok Gallery’s exhibition halls aren’t specified to show one tendency or another, XO Gallery was in the first times an exhibition hall for mainly bigger abstract works that called for special, variable lightning.

The Café Alkoholos Filc (Café Alcoholic Felt-tip) completed the rank of Várfok Gallery’s exhibition halls for more than seven years between 2002 and 2009. This place on the corner of Várfok and Vérmező Street was the lucky encounter of gastronomic delights and culture, since the exigent café offered the possibility of refreshment to the visitors exhausted by the joys of art – of course by offering more art as a cure! This new craze on Várfok street, enlarged later on with a nice terrace, was decorated with the feathers of contemporary art: works of Kazovszkij, Szirtes, Ujházi, Nádler and Weissenbacher were to be seen on its walls. The guests of the Café could order special “artist packs”, such as the legendary El Kazovszkij pack, which included brown bread, butter, sardines and cucumber with some dill, served with a cup of tea.

In 2010, the Várfok Gallery network had a new addition: ArtBLOKK. The 300 sqm exhibition room in Corvin Plaza (Shopping Centre) in downtown Budapest gave the opportunity mainly to Várfok Gallery’s young artists to show their works. It operated until December 2012, sometimes showing guest artists, too. Connected to ArtBLOKK a blog came to life propagating contemporary art as well. On this website one could read day by day interesting art facts about the Gallery and its artists, and on weekends longer texts about artistic matters. It served a quasi-mission in a former problem area of Budapest, now under rehabilitation. Our aim was to enrich the visual environment of inhabitants and indirectly help the visual education of new generations.

Initiated by the owner of Várfok Gallery, Károly Szalóky, the open air Gallery19 was opened in 2007 with the support of the local government, the I love Budapest movement and a number of private companies. 19 trees along the even numbered side of the street were covered with protective glass panels showing contemporary artworks. The large-scale, good quality reproductions on the glass panels are designed to attract the attention of passers-by and serve as an ornamental background on their way up to the castle. Gallery19 was officially opened by the distinguished painter, Françoise Gilot on 31st May 2007.

Várfok Gallery, celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2010 has started the reconstruction and the modernization of its halls in occasion of the jubilee year. That’s why, the In 2011, Várfok Gallery undertook the biggest and most important task in its history: the former XO Hall was fully renovated. It was extended to a 300 sqm luxurious gallery, now eligible to host international exhibition. The 200 sqm exhibition space has moveable walls, modern lighting, complete with a small library and a professional storeroom. Everything serves the comfort and enjoyment of our guests.

Várfok Project Room was opened in the place of the former Várfok Hall and Spiritusz Gallery (no. 14 Várfok street), in the “cradle of Várfok” in 2012 January. The exhibition place got a new function: its aim is to show the latest trends, guest artists and young artists without limitations concerning genre or style, special projects. It also enables our permanent artists to show experimental works from various artistic periods.

OUR HISTORY

Early Years

Várfok Gallery was founded right after the political change over in 1990 under the name Várfok 14 Műhelygaléria by Károly Szalóky, its recent owner. It can be considered as one of the first private contemporary art galleries in Hungary. A former coal cellar was transformed to an exhibition hall (later called Várfok Hall) in Várfok St. 14. In 1996 the mother institute expanded by opening Spiritusz Gallery. The name giving expresses a sort of continuity: the name was given by Szalóky, who has previously ran Vizivárosi Gallery under the name of Spiritusz Gallery. Initially it functioned as a typical flat gallery with an entrance hall and a 40 m² exhibition space. From 1999 to 2002 it worked as an exhibition room or a sort of salon where from time to time new exhibitions could be seen partly from Károly Szalóky’s collection and from other works deposited in Várfok Gallery. Recently it functions as a storage place. The XO Gallery was opened in 1997. The exhibition space was originally a municipal flat, which went through elemental changes to become what it is now. With its arched, slanting walls and high-tech glass surfaces and signs XO became a specially designed spacious hall. The huge headroom, the modern lightning technique together with the gallery’s postmodern style creates a representative place for exhibitions. Although Várfok Gallery’s exhibition halls aren’t specified to show one tendency or another, XO Gallery was in the first times an exhibition hall for mainly bigger abstract works that called for special, variable lightning.

Budavári Gallery (1991)

The first subsidiary of the Várfok Gallery the Budavári Gallery (Budavári Tárlat) opened in 1991, in the Caste district’s Tárnok street. Károly Szalóky transformed a former garbage storage into an exhibition space, where artists of Várfok Gallery and the former Pandora Gallery exhibited together. The Gallery – whilst closed after only one year – had a very remarkable role: it was a new, fresh institution which meant the appearance of contemporary arts in the pedestrian precinct of the Buda Caste district.

Garage Gallery (1998)

Garage Gallery, which existed on the summer of 1998, was also an important place of the Hungarian contemporary art scene. The Garage situated on the Várfok street with its’ widely opened doors was a unique place to show and see artworks. It was transformed from an old garage and hosted exhibitions of young, talented artists.

Café Alkoholos Filc (2002-2009)

The Café Alkoholos Filc (Café Alcoholic Felt-tip) completed the rank of Várfok Gallery’s exhibition halls for more than seven years between 2002 and 2009. This place on the corner of Várfok and Vérmező Street was the lucky encounter of gastronomic delights and culture, since the exigent café offered the possibility of refreshment to the visitors exhausted by the joys of art – of course by offering more art as a cure! This new craze on Várfok street, enlarged later on with a nice terrace, was decorated with the feathers of contemporary art: works of Kazovszkij, Szirtes, Ujházi, Nádler and Weissenbacher were to be seen on its walls. The guests of the Café could order special “artist packs”, such as the legendary El Kazovszkij pack, which included brown bread, butter, sardines and cucumber with some dill, served with a cup of tea.

Portál Gallery (2002-2006)

Portal Gallery once facing the Gallery was for years one of the many artistic attractions of Várfok street. The venue – truly illustrating its name – served as a display window to satisfy the joys of gazing. Thanks to the execution of this concept, the passersby could enjoy a different artwork each month looking through the street side of the gallery. Standing on the footprint painted on the ground the eye of the beholder could feast on numerous details of spectacular pictures. The gallery’s facility could be asked for day and night since the displayed piece was illuminated with the help of sensors. The Portal Gallery offered a true „fine art peep-show” to its visitors until October 2006.

ArtBLOKK (2010-2012)

In 2010, the Várfok Gallery network had a new addition: ArtBLOKK. The 300 sqm exhibition room in Corvin Plaza (Shopping Centre) in downtown Budapest gave the opportunity mainly to Várfok Gallery’s young artists to show their works. It operated until December 2012, sometimes showing guest artists, too. Connected to ArtBLOKK a blog came to life propagating contemporary art as well. On this website one could read day by day interesting art facts about the Gallery and its artists, and on weekends longer texts about artistic matters. It served a quasi-mission in a former problem area of Budapest, now under rehabilitation. Our aim was to enrich the visual environment of inhabitants and indirectly help the visual education of new generations.

Spiritusz Gallery at Madách square (2007-2011)

2007 was also a decisive year in the history of Várfok Gallery. This is the year when the new Spiritusz Gallery opened in Pest (Madách Square). Its new purpose was to promote young talented artists, without boundaries concerning genre or style. To be able to show as many works as possible in the restricted space of the gallery, we came up with a new exhibition format: Sliding Boards Exhibitions (TTT) - the artworks were displayed on wooden boards sliding up and down on metal rails. 2011 meant an important turning point in the history of Spiritusz Gallery: in the year of the Várfok Gallery’s 20th anniversary, two of its previous exhibition halls (Várfok and XO Hall) were merged, creating the present gallery in No. 11 Várfok Street. It gave the opportunity to move Spiritusz Gallery back to Várfok Street, to the old exhibition room of Várfok Hall, still promoting young artists.

Galéria19 (2007-)

Initiated by the owner of Várfok Gallery, Károly Szalóky, the open air Gallery19 was opened in 2007 with the support of the local government, the I love Budapest movement and a number of private companies. 19 trees along the even numbered side of the street were covered with protective glass panels showing contemporary artworks. The large-scale, good quality reproductions on the glass panels are designed to attract the attention of passers-by and serve as an ornamental background on their way up to the castle. Gallery19 was officially opened by the distinguished painter, Françoise Gilot on 31st May 2007.

Újabb átalakítások 2011-ben

Várfok Gallery, celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2010 has started the reconstruction and the modernization of its halls in occasion of the jubilee year. That’s why, the In 2011, Várfok Gallery undertook the biggest and most important task in its history: the former XO Hall was fully renovated. It was extended to a 300 sqm luxurious gallery, now eligible to host international exhibition. The 200 sqm exhibition space has moveable walls, modern lighting, complete with a small library and a professional storeroom. Everything serves the comfort and enjoyment of our guests.

Várfok Project Room

Várfok Project Room was opened in the place of the former Várfok Hall and Spiritusz Gallery (no. 14 Várfok street), in the “cradle of Várfok” in 2012 January. The exhibition place got a new function: its aim is to show the latest trends, guest artists and young artists without limitations concerning genre or style, special projects. It also enables our permanent artists to show experimental works from various artistic periods.