88. szám // 2022. Építészet – képzőművészet – társadalom


Megjelent: 2022.09.

Bárdi Sára

Harc a hátországért: a 40-es évek két propagandakiállítása

The Fight for the Hinterland: Two Propaganda Exhibitions in the 1940s

DOI: 10.52656/KORALL.2022.02.002


Exhibitions can be used to address a wide range of society, to showcase art, to raise awareness, to educate, and to shape public opinion. By their very nature, exhibitions can have a direct or indirect political or ideological content. In the 1930s and 1940s, in the context of the ideological struggles of the period and the events leading to the Second World War, political motivation and propaganda became particularly important in the history of exhibitions.

The study focuses on the presentation of two propaganda exhibitions held in Budapest in the early 1940s, both reflecting on the same historical and political events, however, their approaches and their visual and artistic solutions were markedly different. The Anti-Bolshevik Exhibition, organized by the Hungarian National Defense Association and supported by the government, opened in 1941 in the Vigadó to legitimize the war with the Soviet Union for the hinterland and to reinforce and substantiate the enemy’s image. The visuals of the exhibition served to convey the content in a suggestive way. The Anti-Bolshevik Exhibition was followed by the 1942 Freedom and the People art exhibition by the Socialist Artists’ Group, which had its roots in the nascent Hungarian anti-fascist independence movement and people’s front politics. The exhibition held at the Headquarters of the Iron Workers’ Union was, however, banned by a decree of the Minister of the Interior within three days. The censorship was instigated by the anti-Bolshevism of higher political circles, and pressure from the conservative and far-right press.

Both exhibitions were seen as vehicles for political and ideological messages in the war hinterland. The aim of the organizers was to reach a wider audience to propagate their views on Hungary’s participation in the war. It is their expressed political propaganda that places the two exhibitions of disparate genres on a common platform.