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In Circulation: Buliash Todaeva

In the framework of the In Circulation series, we invite contemporary designers to select an object or ensemble of objects from the museum collections, and taking their inspiration from it, to create their own new design. The new art object(s) born this way will also become a part of our collection. A film is produced on the design process, and a catalogue rich in images also accompanies the exhibition.

The sixth participant of the In Circulation exhibition series of the Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest is Buliash Todaeva, a firm believer and representative of the sustainable design approach. It is important for her to re-think the waste that threatens our environment as base material, and to design objects aligned with this school of thought already from the first phase of design, and for the object in progress to place the smallest possible burden on the environment. She always takes into account how large an ecological footprint the object will have. From a sociological perspective, she also tries to re-think the problems caused by the design and fashion industries. With her work, she creates objects that – with their new technologies and visual devices, as well as the fact that they are produced in small-scale production – carry not only a regional identity, but also a social impact.

Upon our invitation, Buliash Todaeva selected three objects from the collections of the Museum of Applied Arts: a small, red patent leather purse that was made circa 1970, as well as an armchair and table from the five-piece Centaur furniture set produced in 1985 by István Szilvássy. These objects originated in Cold War Hungary, during the era when the largest portion of Hungarian industry worked for Soviet export, including the factory where the chosen purse was presumably produced. Interestingly enough, the Soviet–Hungarian connection can also be found in Szilvássy’s oeuvre. It is certainly not by chance that Buliash Todaeva, of Kalmyk and Russian heritage, selected exactly these items from the enormous collections of the Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest. Inspired by them, Todaeva designed four medium sized and four larger bags.

In July 2021, the Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest invited Buliash Todaeva to be featured in the In Circulation series, in process since 2018. Six months later, in a first in the history of the series, prior to transporting the newly commissioned articles to Budapest, we presented them in their site of origin, in Moscow. The opening of the exhibition in Budapest, scheduled for March 2022, was put to a halt by the Russian–Ukrainian war that broke out in February. The situation changed radically, and a project spanning across borders and connecting various cultures was suddenly suspended. We halted work on the ready exhibition catalogue one day before sending it to the printer. Buliash Todaeva, the designer from Russia, working on high-level projects at the height of success, from one day to the next, found herself in a situation that was incompatible with her own personal value system. In April 2022, Todaeva left her life up until that point behind her, as well as her thriving design enterprise, and she emigrated from Russia, to continue her mission in France, which was the most important to her in her work: ethical operations and sustainable design.

marks of the turns of history, with a year and a half delay, to the 2023 Budapest Design Week. We would not like, however, for the rupture caused by world politics to remain without a trace, and so we decided to preserve the catalogue as it was edited and ready for the printer in February 2022, and to publish it with a second cover, supplemented with errata. In this way, the reader can also follow, through a cultural project, how the situation generated by power politics can impact personal destiny, our work, our collaboration, and how it can re-contextualise our ideas, and our perspective for the future.

“SYSTEM CHANGE, NOT CLIMATE CHANGE!” – this is the slogan that Buliash Todaeva chose for the straps of the bag collection she designed. This sentence is even more timely today than it was 18 months ago. Alongside the empathy for the drama and tragedies of the war, it is vital that we are also capable of focusing on a larger theme, and of thinking beyond our own lifetimes, since we bear responsibility for the planet on which we live. It is up to us what we will leave to our descendants. Within this project, this is unequivocally the longest-term message.

Judit Horváth, PhD

Tickets: www.jegymester.hu
Venue: Ráth György-villa / György Ráth Villa
Address: 1068 Budapest, Városligeti fasor 12.
Opening hours: 5 October 2023 - 7 January 2024
Kedd–vasárnap / Tuesday–Sunday, 10:00–18:00
Tel.: +36 1 416 9601
Further information: www.imm.hu


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