press release

An exhibition under the title „Work in Progress” by Balázs Kicsiny, who lives in London since 1995, and produced in co-operation with the Janus Pannonius Museum of Pécs is on show at the Ludwig Museum Budapest - Museum of Contemporary Art from 24 October till the 1st of December 2002.

The installation was inspired by the story of William Walker, the deepwater diver of Winchester Cathedral, who worked six hours a day for over five years from 1905 onwards on the reinforcement of the foundations of the building. Well below ground level, through water and darkness he struggled to save the abode of light, the Cathedral.

He considered this work, avoided by all others, the major achievement of his life, and at the beginning of the 20th century he re-built the foundations of the building seen as a definitive symbol of Christian culture in Europe stone by stone, like a man possessed.

A significant fact of cultural history int that the Winchester Cathedral was a Benedictine abbey until the 16th century becomes an important motive of the work, which means that the laborious work of the diver places the Benedictine motive of “Ora et labora” in the modern context of an industrial society, presenting a surprising connection between the medieval age and the 20th century.

By benefit of Kicsiny’s work, Walker in cassocks, but in a diving helmet, stooping, now pushes a barrow, carts the cement, takes the plastering spoon and carries bricks with brows bent across the floor of the cathedral, out on the surface. With a promise of light proffered in principle by the cathedral following the work done underground, and yet without any hope of real light on the surface, and only an electric line of connection with the heavens. When in spite of all, not only the foundations are shaking, but the walls raised over it are also cracking visibly.

The piece was first shown in March of 2002, in the northern section of the transept of Winchester Cathedral. It was on view in the Janus Pannonius Museum of Pécs in a different arrangement in September 2002.

A catalogue is being published on occasion of the present exhibition.


only in german

Balazs Kicsiny - WORK IN PROGRESS