György Konrád

The Dr. Éva Kahán Foundation cordially invites you to the commemorative exhibition of the 90th anniversary of the birth of writer György Konrád.

György Konrád (Debrecen, 2 April 1933 - Budapest, 13 September 2019) was a writer, essayist and sociologist. His father was a wealthy Jewish iron merchant, the family lived in Berettyóújfalu. During the Jewish persecutions of 1944, he and his cousins of the same age fled to relatives in Pest. In 1946 he was a student at the Reformed College in Debrecen, and in 1947-1951 at the Madách-gymnasium in Budapest. He was not allowed to apply to university because of his civilian origin, but he was admitted to the Russian (later Lenin) Institute, from where he enrolled in the Hungarian department of ELTE. Between 1959 and 1965, he was a youth protection supervisor at the guardianship office of Budapest's District VII. From 1960 he was a proofreader and series editor of the Hungarian Helikon Publishing House. From 1965 to 1973, he was an urban sociologist at the Institute for Urban Planning and Planning (VÁTI), where he published several studies together with Iván Szelényi. His first novel, The Visitor, was not published until 1969, became the biggest hit of the book week and was soon translated into twelve languages. His second novel, The City Founder, was only published in 1977, mutilated for political reasons. In 1973, after harassment by the police and prosecutors, he lost his job and was banned from working and publishing in Hungary for a decade and a half. From the early 1980s, he participated in the Hungarian democratic opposition movement, published abroad, and most of his works were made available in Hungary in "samizdat" editions. Between 1990 and 1993 he was president of the International Pen Club, and from 1996 he was president of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Arts for two terms (the first foreigner to hold this post).

He has been awarded the Herder Prize, the Charles Veillon Prize, the Wilhelm Heinse Medal of the Academy of Mainz, the Manès-Sperber Prize, the French Order of Honour, Honorary Doctorate of the University of Antwerp, the Charles International Prize, the Grand Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, and the first prize of the Jewish Book Council. After the regime change in Hungary, he was awarded the Kossuth Prize and the Central Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary. At the end of his life, he was criticised by the authorities in his country, but was merely ostracised.

We commemorate the 90th anniversary of his birth by presenting the works of 14 outstanding Hungarian artists. In addition to works by friends of the artist, the exhibition Konrád 90 features works by artists of the following generations who admired the work of György Konrád. Each of the artists has chosen a Konrád quote to read alongside the paintings. 

The opening ceremony included a reading of György Konrád's works by Eliza Sodró and a speech by Miklós Szüts, both of which can be viewed on Facebook (Kahán Art Space Budapest).