Budapest has got to be Berlin’s younger brother: as exciting but just a little smaller! It’s quirky, seriously cool, chilled out and vaaary cultural – oh and beautiful too!

We only had three days there and as it was our last three days, we partied a little too hard therefore missing out on quite a few expeditions. I suppose we’ll just have to go back, what a shame!

One thing to beware of in Budapest is Hungarian wine. Just don’t do it. Vomiting in one of the famous spring water bathhouses is not something to be recommended, trust me.

An excursion we did manage to fit in between eating far too much Hummus  and drinking far too much wine was a visit to Budapest’s contemporary art museum to see an exhibition curiously titled Eating The Beard by Michael Borremans, and I’m so glad we made it. Borremans paints bizarre and often sinister portraits and scenes which derive from equally strange narratives. The wonderful thing about his work is that the pieces are beautifully painted in addition to having quite a strong and very interesting concept. His colour palette and compositions make reference to Hungary’s former oppressive regime as his characters are closely cropped into coldly lit scenes; and he dresses his subjects in simple timeless clothing so the viewer’s understanding of the piece isn’t limited to a particular era or place. The gallery presented Borremans paintings without text pieces on the walls so we were left to find our own story behind each image.

I think the reason both Scarlet and I liked this exhibition is that it proves that simple painting and portraiture can be contemporary and can contend with installation, sculpture and video which seem to feature in galleries moreso than painting these days (cue ‘In my dayyy…’ rant). Sometimes it feels like there isn’t space for a bit of decent painting these days, especially not in art school where we’re constantly asked ‘but how is it contemporary…?’ and I think that’s pretty sad, so go ahead Borremans! You show ’em!



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