The Museum of Avant-garde

Lajos Kassák

Hungary (1887—1967)
Kassák was born in present-day Slovakia and trained as a locksmith assistant. In 1904 he moved to Budapest and got involved in labour union movement, but in 1907 he decided to move to Paris. In 1915 he published his first collection of poems and his first journal Tett (The Action). He joined the movement called The Eight. In 1919 he took part in the Hungarian Soviet Republic as a member of the Writers Directorate, but left due to divergent opinions with Béla Kun. After the fall of the Hungarian Soviet Republic he moved to Vienna and founded the journal MA (Today but also shortcut for Magyar Aktivism). He published several manifestos, influenced by Constructivism such as Képarchitektúra (Image Architecture). He returned in 1926 and continued to produce avant-garde journals, including Nyugat between 1926 and 1937. After WWII, he became Head of Art Commission for the social democratic party but the political climate changed and he was expelled from the party in 1953. In 1956 he joined the Writers Association. He spent the last years of his life in political isolation, unable to publish or continue his work. He died in 1967, remaining one of the most significant figures of the Hungarian avant-garde.