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'Magyar Demokrata Fórum'

  • Object:

    Poster

  • Place of origin:

    Hungary

  • Date:

    1990

  • Artist/Maker:

    Orosz, István, born 1951

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour offset lithograph printed on paper

  • Museum number:

    E.139-1991

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case MB2E, shelf DR109

This poster was one of three designs made by István Orosz of his own accord and offered to the Hungarian Democratic Forum - the party that went on to win the first free elections in Hungary following the collapse of communism. The meaning of the image, depicting the change of the Hungarian coat of arms, was clear to everybody at the time without the need for a slogan. A Soviet style coat of arms came into use in Hungary after 1949 and was partly modified in 1957. During the period of political transition in 1990 the issue was raised of reverting to a traditional Hungarian coat of arms with origins in the Middle Ages. There were two alternatives. The Hungarian Democratic Forum and other conservative parties favoured the so called ‘little coat of arms’ incorporating the Holy Crown of Hungary and symbolising continuity with 1000 years of the Hungarian state. Liberals and Socialists would have chosen the ‘Kossuth coat of arms’ without the crown, making the 1848 revolution and war of independence their historical reference point. After the elections were won by the Hungarian Democratic Forum in July 1990 Parliament accepted the version with the crown.

Orosz represents the coat of arms of the communist period as a crumbling grey relief, from behind which emerges the new, colourful coat of arms. The twist in this sober rendering of flat forms is the suggestion of motion: falling apart and emerging. The element of action and the hint of a sequence points to Orosz’s experience as a successful animator.

Orosz avoids both the pathetic and the spectacular. His seemingly very simple artistic means are nevertheless highly effective. As political symbols, national coats of arms are never neutral signs. The formal graphic rendering of the two coats of arms could therefore become an emotionally imbued symbol for Hungarian voters in 1990.

Physical description

Poster, printed in colour depicting the Hungarian coat of arms smashed to rubble, set against a grey background.

Place of Origin

Hungary

Date

1990

Artist/maker

Orosz, István, born 1951

Materials and Techniques

Colour offset lithograph printed on paper

Descriptive line

Poster, 'Magyar Demokrata Fórum' (Hungarian Democratic Forum); Hungary, 1990

Labels and date

The Soviet coat of arms is shown here reduced to rubble by Hungary’s historical coat of arms. The poster was designed for the Hungarian Democratic Forum, the party that went on to defeat the Communists in the first free elections in Hungary in 1990. The simple design signifies the disintegration of Communist rule and the re-emergence of Hungarian independence.

A World to Win: Posters of Protest and Revolution, V&A, Galleries 88a and 90, (1 May-2 Nov 2014) [01/05/2014-02/11/2014]

Categories

Posters; Politics

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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