CONTEMPORARY ART FROM HUNGARY
- Items from the private collection of Gaudens Pedit
Difference and affinity are two basic terms one employs when comparing the significance of artistic works in the context of higher art criteria, whether they be those of individual art personalities or works from a collection.
Affinity shows first of all their proximity to international standards already in existence in order to establish their comparability. Difference ultimately proves their distinguishability and thus the individuality of artistic achievement.
The "Pedit" collection, with works from the late 1980s and 1990s, shows that, despite political isolation, the Young Art of Hungary developed further the tradition of concrete art and also shared in the latest currents of art at the close of the 20th century. In the case of the Pedit Collection, expressive art on the one hand and concrete art on the other can be determined as the main emphasis. Both trends, in Hungary as in the rest of the art world, are committed to both tradition and the latest art developments.
The expressive art style is excellently represented by Fehér László. His large paintings of the 90s, with their tendency to monochrome, preferably yellow and black divisions in connection with figurative elements, create pictures that I should like to refer to as symbolistic expressionism and which have already received international acclaim.
More or less akin to these are the surrealistically expressive pictures of Bukta Imre.
Parallels to the art of the Wild Young Men who were conspicuous in the international art scene of the 80s can be detected in the works of Kelemen Károly, although they do possess an independent expression with regard to subject and style. This also applies to the remarkable 1980s paintings of Pinczehelyi Sándor and Wahorn András.
One would like to have seen more works from Szentgyörgyi József, whose obvious tendency towards the mythological in the - unfortunately - sole picture of the collection is strongly expressed.
There is an unconventional combination of expressive and concrete art in the works of Hencze Tamás, and one which in this form is little known. He develops signs with expressive colourfulness in a tachist-gesturing manner. The sharply set individual figures are brought in the concrete manner - full of suspense - into contact with the background and its soft colouring.
Concrete art finds an exceptional representative in Trombitás Tamás. He impresses with his consistent profession to the concrete language of shapes both in sculpture and in painting. The paintings of Mulasics László and of his mentor Tölg-Molnár Zoltán, with his severe works reminiscent of the arte povera, must also be remarked upon in this connection.
In the same context mention must be made of the works of Halász Károly, which lend a playful accent to the severity of concrete art. They suggest in the end a reference to the pictures of Bak Imre, who occupies an exceptional position in the collection. His colourful pictures positively suggest the impression of an unconventional sythesis of concrete art and pop art
Are not these latter artists proof of a lively understanding of tradition in Hungarian art, which began with the Constructivism of the Bauhaus and Moholy Nagy and developed independently and vividly?
Seen in this light, the Pedit Collection, with its emphasis on expressive and concrete art, presents an exciting interface between traditional and modern on the one hand, and collective compulsion and individual desire to express on the other.
It is a stroke of luck that this collection is being shown in Budapest on the occasion of Hungary’s entry into the EU, a contribution towards representing one facet of Hungary’s cultural identity
Dr Michael Meuer