LIGHT – SHOW – PACE


EVENTS RELATED TO THE EXHIBITION:

10 April, Sunday, 10–12 am, Szimbólumtár, Family Sunday
23 April, Sunday, 2 pm, Suitcase for time travellers, Guided tour with visual artist István Regős and art historian Katalin Kopin, Budapest Art Week
26 April, Tuesday, 6 pm – An evening with opera singer Mária Temesi
27 April, Wednesday, 11–12 am – Senior Wednesday, East European atmosphere, guided tour with the curator
6 May, Saturday, 8 pm – Posztmolett concert

Born in Budapest in 1954, the Munkácsy Prize winning artist studied painting at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts, where his mentor was Lajos Sváby. Over the past three decades, he has had exhibitions at a great many places in the world, including Australia, Belgium, South Korea, France, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany and Sweden. Szentendre itself has hosted several of his solo exhibitions, the latest in 2005.

Though he has lived and worked in Szentendre since 1973, István Regős’s art has few direct links to the town’s traditions in painting. His creative stance shows stylistic and motivic parallels with Margit Anna’s late work. The position of the East Central European artist is emphatically present in his works, though he transcends the physical and spiritual boundaries of his homeland in almost all of his paintings. His outlook is akin to that of the writings of Kafka and Hrabal, the films of Menzel. Surrealistic in mood, and combining naive, grotesque and Pop Art elements, his art finds expressive forms not only in the two-dimensional space of paintings: he is equally at home in the world of objects. Opening, extending and reinterpreting the picture space, he creates installations, radio-, clock- and suitcase-pictures, as well as collages. His choice of subject is always symbolic: the clocks that express the relative nature of time, the radios that embody ethereal freedom, or the suitcases that evoke distance, are all important objects of the artistic act, invested with soul and symbolic power. István Regős believes objects of use can not only be transformed into works of art, but may also gain new functions and new formal-aesthetic values in the name of “redesign.” The same belief informs, for instance, the Bauhaus-inspired “Trabant sofa,” which is also on view at this exhibition. In Regős’s paintings, the built environment is as alien as nature: everything is a cold space delimited by shafts of light and observ-ed, with only the observer–man–missing. Lights shimmering, or sharp and slashing, crisply delineated details and surrealistic associations open a world on the brink of the absurd, which barely anyone in contemporary Hungarian visual art would know more about than István Regős.

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DOUBLE GAME


For decades now, Szentendre has been home to artistic endeavours that allow equal importance to humour, irony, a great visual experience, and abstract content. Gergő Kovách (1974, Budapest) joins this tradition of strategy with statues that are based on free associations of ideas, have a light mood, and are often not without a touch of cynicism. His choice of subjects, often emphatic, his insistence on different kinds of plastic, and his bold use of loud colours all lend a strong character to his art. Barely do you see such things in an exhibition hall—while it is a very familiar world. It is all about us: what we have learnt, the experiences and dreams we have.

Gergő Kovách, who over the past fifteen years has become an artist the Hungarian scene has to reckon with, graduated in 1998 at the sculpture programme of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts, where his tutors were György Segesdi and Tamás Körösényi. In addition to solo displays, staged mostly at Dovin Gallery, he regularly took part at major group exhibitions, including ArtMill’s Hearts Expressed in 2006. Made in collaboration with Barna Péli for Műcsarnok’s 2012 show, What is Hungarian? Contemporary Answers, his statue of Attila the Hun and his horse drew international attention.

Now not only the statues can be seen at Art Gallery Szentendre, but the creative process as well that is characteristic of the artist. Kovách’s visual diaries allow an insight into how the first ideas are born before they become works of plastic art with an individual flavour. Reminiscent of Los Caprichos, Francisco Goya’s series of aquatints, these pen drawings and aquarelles attest to a freewheeling playfulness and individuality. But when it comes to modelling the statue, the artist sheds the particularities of the personal experience to lend the work of art a general validity, turning it into a palpable, physical wordplay that reflects on our workaday life in an accessible manner.

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