Lóránd Hegyi: Radical Eclecticism as Project
Remarks about the changes within Hungarian painting from the seventies until the present
/ Oil on Canvas /
The last decade has seen many debates about the status of painting within both an international and national context. We found the beginning of the eighties announcing the "rebirth" of painting, which at the time had a paradigmatic role int he formation of a new attitude or perspective towards art. It was also then that painting, rather unluckily, became syninymous with every new ambition or change, dismissing the fact that installation or more object oriented art were blossoming concurrently with this "New Painting". The work of Bertrand Lavie, Haim Steinbach and Tony Cragg were emerging simultaneously with the "new aspect" painters such as Jiri Georg Dokupil, Domenico Bianchi and Martin Kippenberger. Perhaps this was one of the most principal erros committed by art historians / and art critics / of that era, where the "war of the medium" replaced the debate between artistic schools or movements. It was as if after the 60's and early 70'sadverising of a conceptuaéist, minimalist and immaterial art, painting had been eventually reborn, transmitting something completely opposed and radically up to date, simultaneously erasing the preceding fifteen years puritanism and antagonism towards the work of art. This euphoric moment painting suddenly appeared to stand int he centre of discourse as the - exclusive - conveyor of the "new" in art, moreover, appearing to have an equally important role in reconceptualising the relation between art and cultural history. This one - sidedness made it far more difficult to deeply understand the truly new philosophical and analytical questions that emerged, keeping its evaluation on a superficial level. The dilemma was not wether painting or immaterialised conceptual art carries more profound or more credible messages, it rather concerns the gradual replacing of an evolutionist, reductionist trend in art based on linearity and language philosophy, with the eclectic. An eclecticism that rooting itself within cultural anthropology, has a more sensitive interest towards history, a cultural nomadism that is skeptical of any linear evolutionist model of development. New form in painting had a relevant, but never exclusively leading role in this gradual shift: the purpose was not the renovation of painting but much rather the manifestation of a new view of art. The "Aperto I" exhibition, which was the first summary of these radical changes, reported moreabout the expansion of painting methods, the decomposition of the canvas and the deconstruction of homogenous language structures than about the feast of painting' Renaissance. Ont he oposite site of the coin, we were then witnesses to the "death of painting" according to the statements first pronounced at the end of the eighties and then again int he middle of the nineties, when the quick spread of "new media" created the illusion of painting having become exhausted and going through a decadent period. One-sidedness was again a dominant element in this discourse and, while forming a general overviewthis resulted int he dismissal of the fact that prominent figures such as Georg Baselitz, Jörg Immendorff, Markus Lüpertz or Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Malcolm Morley and even Cy Twombly were going through an extremely interesting metamorphosis, their painting irrevocably becoming part of the ongoing discussion. Today, when abstract painting is again proliferating on an international scale, the reflective paintings of Christian Eckar, Juan Usle, Bernard Frize, Joseph Marioni, Andreas Schiess, Jonathan Lasker, John Murphey, Peter Halley, Joan Mitchell and Helmut Dorner destroy the myth of the "death of painting", a notion as "ahistoric" as the native and romantic misconception of the "Renaissance of painting". The medium of painting simply needs to be taken relatively. The last one and a half decades of Hungarian painting can only be summarised from the perspective of the present, a time where we have reached beyond the oftentimes unresponsive and biased debates of the time. Today nobody can doubt that Hungarian painting had arrived at a stage where the renovation of its language and methodology became complete by the end of the seventies and beginning of the eigties, when especially artists, for whom this change was more of a systematic intellectual rogram, a socio-cultural or everyday experiencerather than a radical transformation, had a pioneering role. From around 1966, Bak Imre
and Nádler István
embraced an eclectic, subjective historicism and individual language integrating cultural references from the perspective of a structural, geometric abstraction. In both of their paintings, references to the stylistic models of earlier periods or artistic movements / the formal languages of Malevich, Kassák and Kandinszkiy with that of the Art Deco and Seccession, as well as from archaic cultures / became the material of new visual language structures. Hencze Tamás
was following a somewhat similar path, deconstructing one of the most consequent models of Hungarian structural abstraction, simultaneously attaching art historic references and the "minimal gestures" of the Avant-garde.Birkás Ákos and Zsigmond Károlyi / the latter belonging to a younger generation / were leaving behind the methodology of conceptual art and a uniquely conceptualised hyper-realism, searching towards a new intellectual and ethical painterly language the forms of which were divergent and expressive, transmitting a strongly spiritual, archaic unity-concept. Kelemen Károly
and Koncz András
coming from the Budapest conceptual movement at the end of the seventies, were also approaching the painterly representation of the radical eclecticism, mixing poetic and social criticism with experimental media, primarily photography and video, inwardly searching for the "lost generation's" ethos. These examples help to illustrate how this shift in Hungarian painting was not primarily the consequence of a growing cultural conciousness nor creation of a revolting generation, seeking an identity in global crisis; it rather represents an intellectual project, an aesthetic and ethical decision of a middle-generation determining the Avant-garde art of the 60s and 70s. This is an evolutionist-intellectual model, characteristic of the development of the Avant-garde, as such, this new painting is paradoxically more likely to be a "child" of linearity and evolutionism. It seems of primary importance to decide, to what extentthe new tendencies in Hungarian painting follow the trends of international art. In relation to this the link between cultural regionalism and globalism also needs to be investigated. Int he 1950s and 60s the artistic trend was determined by a schematically irrational, abstract, non-historic perspective, which abandoned any cultural-anthropological aspect, however, from the end of the seventies on, there started a process legitimizing the differences between cultural circles and regions, and the somewhat offical acceptance of the "fringe". The ipmotance of this stood not only in an abstract acceptance of the "different", but also in how the situation in general changed: instead of the homogenous Western notion of the artist, the new multicultural artistic situation was determined by the simultaneous existence and mutual tolerance of instances of "the different" standing in permanent parity with each other. This experience of the multicultural served as resource material for the work of many young Western artists at the end of the seventies or beginning of the eighties and the same challenge was taken by Hungarian artists: an intellectual reflection of their own radical eclecticism. The question involving regional traditions within the Avant-garde belong to the same dilemma. The artworks of younger artist such as Bak Imre
, Nádler István
, Birkás Ákos
or Fehér László
, Szőnyei György and Károlyi Zsigmond cannot be interpreted without first clarifying this discussion. Regional culture as determinant factor is the concrete manifestation of a permanently changing global culture, thus directly determining the formation of personal concepts. The artwork of Kassák and Bortnyik, Hungarian functionalist and image architecture as well as commercial design all belong to the previously mentioned tradition just as Vajda and Korniss, Hungarian surrealist collage, István Farkas, Margit Anna and Imre Ámos as representatives of late expressionism /where narrative elements and the visual depiction of the existentialist life-force mingled into one unity /, the "European school" and the "Alternative Artist Group" /including the abstract art of Gyarmathy and Lossonczy or Martyn / already carried a particular eclecticism in itself. All these phenomena, directly or indirectly, influenced several painters at the very moment, when, turning from an abstract internationalism, the references of the new radical eclecticism were influenced by the experimental / nomadic / explorations made in cultural society with a new sensitivity for history. There are three primary, clearly separable parallel tendencies int he new artistic period starting at the end of the seventies. The first tendency can be characterised by the permanent presence of individual mythologies as well as the collective existence of object-art, installation, photography, painting and performance. The artist, by means o fan analogous thinking, projects his personality and activity throuh a network of international methaphors and symbols, giving a personal interpretation of cultural-history. The second tendency represents a kind of personal neo-romanticism based on expressive communicative methods, manifesting itself int he tragic, anarchistic, extremely subjective, narrative, destructive and self-demolishing, "neo-wild" painting style or through a meditative, intellectual, spiritual, introverted and poetic painterly attitude. Finally, postgeometric art plays an important role throughout the whole period, revealling itself not only in painting, buti n object-art and installation as well. This tendency based ont he conscious and ironic deconstruction of the homogenous language of constructivist geometric abstract art, using references that reflect on the utopian Avant-garde attitude of the 1910s and 20s. These three tendencies were at times freely exchanged and joined within the same piece forming a particular eclectic mixture together. Hungarian art int he 80s and 90s can be best characterised by an unfolding of eclecticis, pluralism and deconstructivist strategies. For the most part, the representatives of the "New Paining" movement in Hungary remained within the traditions of the 60s and 70s. the revolt of the young generation was less radical and elemental than that of their Western contemporaries; this middle-generations's shift of style resulted in a new orientation preserving the puritanism and reductionism characteristic of the preceding decade. The painting of Bak Imre
, Nádler István
, Hencze Tamás
or Birkás Ákos
as well as the sculptures of Jovánovics György
demonstrate more an intellectual challenging of the international aesthetic strategies created at the beginning of the eighties than a spontaneous, direct responses to the drastic changes happening both in history and society. These artists remained faithful to most of the earlier formal elements of the Avant-garde, except that they highlighted the importance of different components, shifting into a layer of more historical and anthropological awareness, isolating painting as an intellectual "project". From the early eighties on, the writings and performances of Bak Imre and Birkás Ákos
provide clear evidence of consciously made changes int he former strategies, moreover, in Birkás's "new trend" painting there no longer was trace of any stylistic transformation or gradual transmission. His work serving as one of the first visual representations of the radical "eighties' project" in Hungary. At the beginning of the eighties the "new painting" in Hungary was dominated by the manifestations of a new kind of expressivism. The abstract paintings of Ákos Birkás and István Nádler reflect the signs o fan emerging emotional content.
Nádler István pushes gesture painting to the extreme limit of becoming completely automatic, while Birkás Ákos
further insists on the intellectual principle of constructions, creating artwork pregnant with meaning. At the beginning of the decade, the works by a younger generation show an intensive and agressive thematic manner, making the canvas an extremely sensual visual surface, demonstrating a new radical attitude. The painting of Koncz András
, Mazzag István
and József Bullás were created from the the context of a turbulent and tumultuous urban wilderness and an extremist feeling about contemporary life. Koncz András
ironically applies commercialised fantasies from the entertainment industry onto the elements of a mundane and daily reality, while Mazzag's unhibited and intense eroticism appear int he emotional context of the "new wave". Bullás firmly represents internal notions about violence and absurdity with a dramatic forcefulness. In Károly Kelemen's paintings the manierist approach toward the new eclecticism manifests itself, where he consciously applies art historical quotations into a political context. The images of the recent past gain an archetypal meaning representing the ironic or tragic aspects of humankind's inherent drama. The other direction of new painting ins representedby young artists, who work with decorative and ornamental metaphors is an archaic context. János Szirtes uses elements of folklore and the patterns of primitive cultures, thus rediscovering the ritual meaning of the ornamental. Szirtes is not only a painter, but also a performance and installation artist. His versatile activity is not only the manifestation o fan individual mythologiy buti t demonstrates as well how painting, installation and performance can be intermingled, simultaneously introducing a context between the thematic of "new painting" and the archetypal world of private mythos. The mid-eighties bring forward another change int he tendencies of new painting: a more philosophical, meditative and intellectual approach becomes dominant. We find typical examples of this int he work of Sóos Tamás, who paints "heroic landscapes", integrating deep, transcendental ideas, and Mulasics László
whose paintings overlay structures of fragmented and extremely simplified geometric forms onto the motionless, almost monochrome images. The same meditative painterly style is manifested int he landscapes of Bernát András
and Gábor Ősz, where the mystical landscape reach beyond the infinite and melt into one threatening vision.
Here it is not the individual psyche and the violent experience of urban life that dominates the atmosphere, but their attention is rather focused ont he representation of existential dilemmas: the grand conflict int he relationshio between humanity and the surrounding world; a motionless yet dynamically changing inquiry about the boundaries of human creativity. Paralell to this, appears the ironic post-geometric attitude and its related phenomena. Even at the beginning of the decade this tendency was reflected by the paintings of Imre bak and Hencze Tamás
and the trend was followed in other fields by the art of the younger generation, including Halász Károly
, Szőnyei György, Trombitás Tamás
. The paintings of Bak Imre
and Hencze Tamás
do not only represent the ironic re-evaulation of the traditions of geometric abstraction but also that of their structuralist past. Bak links geometrically abstract motifs of symbolic meanings / e.g.Malevich's "cross-motif" or Kassák's image architecture / with typical motifs from the Eastern-European cultural tradition, such as the Hungarian Avant-garde, art-ornamentalism or emblematic forms reaching back to folklore. On the surface of his paintings there appears a certain "stylistic ornament" thematicising the relativity of different value systems intersecting in time. The artwork of Soós Tamás
poses the same questions with a complex and unique structure of stystic quotations conjointly juxtapositioned next to each other. Hencze alienates gesture from its automatic origin and strictly interprets it as being an art historic emblem, the characteristic forms of minimalism and action painting work simultaneously as quotations and as exchangeable formal elements. Károly Halász in his installations sets up a contradiction between the "high art" of geometric abstraction and the accidental groupings of every day banal objects. Szőnyei György creates grotesque compositions using the elements of geometric abstraction, art deco, suprematism, decorative ornaments and everyday amateur architecture. The installations of Trombitás Tamás
combine precise and strict geometrical objects with fragments and materials piled on top of each other. The heavy, solid character of the concrete or iron forms is slightly disconnected and transformedinto the irrational by means of neon lights framing the image and lending an ambivalent aura to it. Generally, it can be remarked that during the first half of the eighties the medium of painting / Birkás Ákos
, Nádler István
, Kelemen Károly
, and Bak Imre
are the most important examples / influenced and led these new impulses in art, but in the second hal fit was installation and object art / Bachman, Rajk, Attila Kovács, Trombitás Tamás
and Bukta Imre
/ that became the ultimate vehicles of any meaning. In contemporary Hungarian art this phenomenon is accompained by an impulse of the architectonic yet at the same time the subjective, emotionally dramatic, neo-expressionist and neo-mannerist painting was pushed into the background. The meditative feature of art became more intense and an impersonal, objective tone deprived of pathos gained a dominant role. Birkás uses colours in such an eloquent manner, enabling him to express such througj and powerful meaning. The sensual, elaborate surface of the canvas and the sensitivity of his working method maifested in his forms are accompained by a reserved and, almost impersonal, timeless calm. The paintings act analogous to a natural phenomenon or an architectural element: they record the complete, the timeless, the enduring or the "unavoidable". At the beginning of the eighties Ákos Birkás' paintings could be best characterised by the intensive use of gesture. He created paintings, composed in two or three parts, of either imaginary landscapes or schematic portraits with repetitive forms bearing traces of wild and vexed gestures appearing in a symmetrical structure. Both the left and right sides of the image / rather in their primary outline than in a mechanical way / are the reflections of each other yet the two parts form one unity. The top and bottom, as well as the central point and periphery borders, all belong to the same, strictly built conceptual structure. Symmetry and constructivist image sin Birkás's work form the bases of a mental system, manifested in abstraction and the divergence of intense gesture. After 1985 the paintings of Birkás Ákos
became simpler, the canvas hosting more of a calm and homogenous image, and since 1987 he repetitively uses the motif o fan oval head, composing two halves of a two-part painting into the whole. The image gains an individual value, the compositional element becoming an independent form instead of being merely the carrier of a painted / modeled / form / figure /. The image becomes an object itself: the object of visual thinking. In his most recent paintings Birkás Ákos
investigates the relationship between the painted and the actual form a different approach: he arranges the surface plastically, reducing the use of the brush to a minimum and only economically applying colours. Simultaneously, he slips one of the two canvases onto the other, thus partially covering the other. The oval form visually dissolves into its elements and can only be again recognised by means o fan intellectual reconstruction as an – imaginary – complete form. At other times, Birkás /through the process of application and manipulation of the paint and colour / allows painted form and background to become indistinguishable, almost identical, so that the head motif is only slightly manifested: it can be imagined or sensed, but not seen clear detail. The archetypal form of confinement appears as an infinite, motionless radiance, independent of the personal or time.
The painting gains a particular sacral meaning; not only a figure behind our gaze manifests itself, but a spirizual "reference" also becomes visible. The immaterial and the non-sensible spiritual figure appears through the medium of the image. László Fehér approaches existential painting from a completely different perspective. At the beginning of the eighties his paintings were characterised by features of the "Heftige Malerei", his work at the time thus became radically different form the agressive, provocative and challenging topics of his contemporaries. Even then he examined the world of mythology and rituals with curiosity, the Jewish feasts represented in his work reveal the conflict between human mortality and infinity as the personal experience of a monodrama. Int he mid-eighties Fehér László
's paintings became more reserved and serious, the theme shifting from dramatic conflicts to the representation of human existence. Fehér László
is concerned about painting the serious, timeless and motionless visionof the human condition; his paintings are narratives of basic human emotions, composed of ordinary stories about everyday life, preserving moments frozen in the current of passing time. The photo-like transmission lends an accidental, yet consciously composed, feature to his paintings. He creates images where the individual cannot reach out from his internal world, imprisoned by an abject vulnerability. This condition o fan infinite solitude and abject vulnerability is revealed within the context of a concrete political and historical reality. The images of simple men crouching at the feet of gigantic memorials or contemplating their own fate int he shade of pathetic-heroic decorations in a shocking painterly statement by itself: the unforgettable representation o fan eternal authority and spiritless resignation. The representation of a quiet and timeless passivity as fate changes the static image into an existential record of the psychological condition. The most complex divulgence o fan individual mythology are the installations, paintings and performances of El Kazovszkij
. Her artwork is concerned with the issues of myth, hierarchy, creativity, power and authority. Both in her installations and "Dzsan Panopticums" the artist plays the main role, describing value structures that separate everyday events from the ceremonial and absurd. History for El kazovszkij represents the destructive and creative process of myths. Humankind invents value systems and hierarchies, cults and feasts: elaborate narratives of the principle questions about human existence within the frame of mythical stories. Ornamentation is a cultic act emphasising the laudatory and divine nature of man yet also hints at the authoritative powers superimposed on him.
El Kazovszkij creates her own individual cultural history by integrating Hellenic culture / including literature and philosophy /, romanticism and the symbols of allegory into her artwork. The strict order of the repetitive forms and colours highlight the closeness of the world as well as the "mythical wholeness" created by the artist. The colours of scarlet, black, white and gold have sacred meaning; symbolic references to life, blood, fire, death, eternal darkness and evil. Apotheosis and glorification, the conflicts of our secural life, love and moral decay: these are the central themes of El Kazovszkij
's individual mythology.
The contradiction between Soós Tamás
and El Kazovszkij
's work fittingly represents the new situation at the beginning of the nineties. On the one hand, the images o fan individual mythology have survived, creating further hermetically sealed and defined systems, where cultural history's new intellectual approach emerges a growing independence manifests itself as a complex universal metaphor simultaneously as myth, pathos and the personal. There is no further requirement for geometric structures or idiomatic homogeneity, the new approach aims at posing detailed but accurate questions through any possible means. It does not want to create universal systems; its ambitions rather is to register details without any preconceptoin. A characteristic feature of art int he nineties is its eclecticism, but further important elements are the reduction in process, an impassionate attitude and a distance maintained by the artist. These new expressive forms in art place the notion of tradition into a new perspective. The paintings of Mulasics László
are reductive as well as sensual surface of the canvas are each reminiscent of acheological discoveries, ancient remnants of walls dug out of the earth, sketches of sacred building sor tools, technical or ritual objects. In this cryptic beauty of his surfaces lie concealed exciting surprises, clear forms disappear, and colours, materials and contours are blurred. The with drawn eroticism of the surface almost blinds: this painterly gesture enabling the spectator to obey his senses and moods as well as to "conquer" with the eyes. At the same time, the timeless strictness of forms, frequent symmetry and stillness forecast the latent omnipresent power of a "great motif". Mulasics’s work is a timeless intellectual adventure, never changing yet constantly being renewed. The once banal motifs become quasi-ritual objects, representing an archaic monumentality by means o fan eloquent simplicity and symmetry. Fragility, reckless searching a shocking and embarrassing decorativism and the feeling of continuity and stillness give most exciting connotations to the visual language of Mulasics László
, the paralells of which are rather to be found in the meaning system of literature that alsorecognises the spheres of the mystical.
Mulasics paints on paper prepared with wax and lead, the surface thus emanating a mystical light as the material solidifies, the transparent film referring to a transcendental meaning. The artist often puts "ready made" or "found" objects such as photos, scripts, photocopied geometric extracts from lexicons, maps from geographic surveys, etc. Underneath the wax. These obscure images reflect ont he relativity of the visual poetry deriving from the sensuousness of the material and balance the contents of the atmosphere with objective things. The lead film protects the covered forma s a shield, a facade, just as wax embraces the "hidden objects" as if it was clothing. Wax and lead combine to create a surface that appears to the senses as being soft and organic, thus signifying the transfer of objects / artifacts, architectonic forms or technical equipment / taken from the anti-organic into an organic context. The process of such a transformation gives new meaning to the surface, whose sensuality surrounds the piece as a poetic aura. This divergent richness of associations overcomes the formal simplicity and seeming banality to obviously gain a mystic abundance of meaning.
Any overview of Hungarian painting has changed int he recent past due to a new artistic attitude. This shift, rather than being radical or revolutionary, occurred almost unnoticeably and in secret. The new situation brings along a modest, consequent painterly attitude free from any spectacular or pathetic gestures, yet composes a poetic presence with a contemplative intellectual manner. Certain elementary questions about painting are rephrased without a target-oriented program or a homogenous aesthetic system in the background. The paintings of Éva Köves and Attila Szűcs serve as the most prominent examples of this younger generation’s simultaneously skeptical, tolerant, intellectual yet lyrical attitude.
Éva Köves works in a consequent, thoroughly contemplated and carefully built yet extremely rich and complex painterly system, the notion of wich may seem contradictory at first yet both concepts have a complementary relation and an equal relevance in her art. In the pictureque, clear and transparent visual world created by her, where the final structure is defined by the finite possibilities of "par excellence" painting, the visual system is differentiated by the arrangement of massive and transparent paint transported onto the canvas by use of either heavy or light brushstrokes. Her thinking is systematic, producing visual situations that show a consequent, logical and analytical mapping of the relation between object and space, light and shadow, linearity / the two-dimensional / and depth / the three-dimensional / and presentation and representation. The autonomous yet serially connected canvases set beside each other and linked together, reflecting on each other's immanent formal systems show an image architecture arranged by means of a particular visual "screenplay", in which even the accidentalmoments and unique painterly improvisations seem to operate in substitution to the basic system. Despite Éva Köves’s modesty, analitycal thinking and intellectual principles concerning the system of formal reductionism in her gray monochrome images, the presence of a curious, poetic hidden painterliness is not alien to her work, adding a romantic lyricism to her reserved, rational visual language. This is quiet lyricism, being a repressed emotionality / recalling a kind of nostalgic desire for a "removed" aesheticism / manifests itself primarily int he painterly de-objectification and almost photographic representation of objects taken from reality: blurring the meaning of the objective, representative elements as well as preserving and intensifying the original content of the relation between light and shadow. She pursues variations within the fictitious space of the image, minimal changes resulting from a shift int he meaning due to the painter's interruption, and interpretation of objective and spatial transformations with analytical accuracy, leaving the atmosphere of the painting untouched, becoming complementary to the rational, analytic program, thus legitimising an alternative painting style – another authentic approach. The images of Éva Köves are not landscapes, nor do they represent the apparent urban fragments of architectural scaffoldings, factories, iron structures of railway stations, bridges or shopping halls that they first seem to be: on the contrary, she rather models visual problems, typical painterly situations and tries to find the matching image patterns, colour structure and formal relations. At the same time the artist preserves, and oftentimes further intensifies the contextual relevance of her paintings, which / supplied by the inquiry of analytical questions / provide an alternative interpretation. This unbiased approach towards the visual program is a typical artistic attitude of the nineties. Éva Köves is no tan analytical painter obeying the rules of a proscribed program, still her aesthetic strategy, artistic approach and analytical perspective are clearly and evidently manifest in her work. Her ambition is not merely a challenging and critical inquiry about deconstruction, permanent relativity or the system of homogenous visual languages, but rather a liberation of her own painting style from the authoority of conventions and analytical modelscreated by herself. Éva köves, while pinting, tries to forget and simultaneously re-interpret the analytical program realised in her own artwork: with a conscious amnesia, she ecperiences the image differently, sharing the discovery with the spectator. The image for Éva Köves is an infinite resource, also existing as visual evidence, concrete uniqueness and obvious spectacle. Her paintings reappropriating colouristic specialties, internal order and directness, refer to a whole series of art historic and technical notions. These references obviously influenced the process of interpretation and link her paintings / despite their conscious or inherent sense of naiveté / to the analytic circle of the twentieth century. Contextuality thus emerges full-grown, making her work surprisingly powerful and original even if at first glance certain features were questionable.
In Attila Szűcs’s work the composition is built around an irrationally emphasised motif int he context of a frozen, timeless and eventless world.
Similar to the painterly manner of Éva Köves, he also works with an extreme simplicity, int he background of wich there stands an "instinstive" attraction to agnosticism as well as the magic power of unknowable, cryptic and inexplicable things. Int he obscure depth of his landscapes and interiors the undefinable gains physicality, manifesting themselves within the apparently banal yet mystical. Even though Attila Szűcs is not strictly a narrative painter, we still have feeling that this pieces are visually obscure stories. As if emptiness provoked us to supply meaning and content, we link visual stories to spaces, as if the frozen stillness would instigate an opposite reaction, initiating movement and action. Attila Szűcs is also an excellent example of what the younger generation's attitude is towards colour. His treatment of colour is a conscious and calculated indecisiveness, appearing as a completely new, surprising and even prophetic provocation. He seems to rage against conventions by simultaneously applying divergent aesthetic strategies, being inconsequent or disturbing and teasing the spectator: none of which could be called a "radical", "wild" or "neoexpressive" attitude nor follows the path o fan intellectual reductivism or de-objectification. His sovereignity represents the attitude of the youngest generation of painters inasmuch as it is unbiased and intellectually independent¸nonchalant about the debate between the neo-Avant-garde and Post-Avant-garde, denying both the deconstruction of painting’s medium and its absolutism.
Dr. Hegyi Lóránd, Director Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien
In: Cat. "Mythos Memoria Historia", Museum Kiscell, 1997