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Lászlo Najmányi

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László Najmányi (1946-2020) was an uncompromising Hungarian artist: stage designer, performer and video artist, active in various types of artistic fields and mediums. As he stated in one of his memoirs among many: "I had an eventful, long life. I have lived in many political systems, in 12 countries on four continents. Until the age of 60, I lived in 116 apartments". Najmányi constantly reinvented himself by reinterpreting and rearchiving his oeuvre. He developed a close connection with theatre which lasted long in his career. In 1971, he was the founder of István Kovács Studio, which started as an informal theatre group with an experimental spirit (it was harassed and banned multiple times by the authorities). In the Studio, many became later well-known figures of the neo-avantgarde scene: from Tibor Hajas, and Péter Halász to László Rajk Jr. During 1972 and 1976 he directed and wrote several pieces for the group. 278/5000 One of the best-known works from this period is an experimental film titled The Emperor's Message (1974), which was made after the short story of the same title by Franz Kafka at the Béla Balázs Studio. A year later, he also contributed to Tibor Hajas' short film: Self-Fashion Presentation. He was also a member of several "national” theatre companies for a short time From 1975 to 1978 he became the member of the National Theater of Pécs and then from 1978 to 1979 the member of the Szigliget Theather of Szolnok. In 1977, with Gergely Molnár and others, he founded the legendary new wave (art) punk band called Spions (Pierre La Chez Show was one of his songs). (Najmányi published a series of articles about the history of Spions and his own work in the columns of Balkon magazine for more than a decade). Even though the band had only three concerts, it had a great influence on the alternative music scene. With the motivation of breaking out from the closed neo-avangard scene, the band experimented with different popular music genres (rock and roll) and mediums. As a result of that, the concerts were a mix of experimental theatre, performance with sometimes controversial and "taboo breaker” lyrics (for example in the case of the Anna Frank’s dream song). The band disbanded in May 1978 due to, among other things, official harassment, and its members emigrated first to Paris and later to Canada. Najmányi left the country a little later and continued on this journey, eventually settling from Paris to Canada in New York, where until 1996.

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