Patrick Nicholas Tayler
DLA INTRO is an annually organised exhibition with the aim of introducing the new Doctor of Liberal Arts students of the University of Pécs, and to exhibit the latest developments in the ongoing endeavours of the upper-graders. DLA INTRO is also an event that hosts the concert of the doctorate institution’s music department, further enriching the exhibition’s scope. As a group exhibition that displays diverse artistic practices, it creates a space of discourse for the question of what art is, its expansive nature – and thus its ungraspable definitions.
The exhibition, curated by Zsuzsa Nemes, painter, shows how art is located somewhere between personal narrative, aesthetic thought and philosophical reflection in the physical reality of the artwork. With the fundamental goal of introducing the work of a group of artists the exhibition doesn’t prioritize an underlying theme, however, there are threads that can be distinguished, binding certain artworks closer to each other and creating a web of references within the display.
01// transformation of informationThe contemporary phenomenon of the laser printed image and the iconography of data visualisation haunts the work of Róbert Batykó. The paintings titled Levels [convert] (2018) and Rectangle [convert] (2018) transform the emerging tactility of paint into an ephemeral image. The paint is thinned out with the help of a machine of Batykó’s own design. The process is not a conceptual dematerialisation but a transformation that happens in physical reality, making the artwork oscillate between expanses of visualised information and concentrations of non-informative material.
In his piece titled 1m2 Grey (2018), Miklós Fejős creates a monochrome surface of grey. Compiled from the least noteworthy fragments of printed media, Fejős constructs a square meter of paper-grey white noise, a surface where imagery is brought to the bare minimum. In his statement, Fejős relates his piece to the ongoing flow of images, and the battle for attention in contemporary visual culture. Consequently his work can be seen as a gesture that diverts the magnetic power of popular imagery into a more ascetic set of signs. Can the conglomeration of images and text lose its autonomy and constitute a monochrome surface? Can culture become bereft of its hierarchy and turn into raw information? Can information become material? Where is the barrier between clear visual articulation and visual noise?
Gergely Böhm researches the meeting point of the graphical procedures of the late 18th-century and contemporary printing technology according to his statement. Böhm’s risograph-print titled “i” (2018) is created through a conversation with the printing apparatus, as each sign is the result of the collaboration between the possibilities of the machine and the pre-mediated artistic decisions. The experimentation in Böhm’s artistic practice is based on the presumption that the mechanic gestures and the traditional language of graphic art can form a visually viable hybrid.
02// narratives of connection / discourses of disconnect
The re-actualisation of an ancient body of writing and thus of an ancient narrative is apparent in the work exhibited by Dénes Fekete. Fekete creates a staging of the Epic of Gilgamesh through a photographic piece, where mythology and narrative are sublimated into a complex image. Fekete uses real space as a sculptural material, transforming the barren surroundings into a scenic environment. Using the documentative and evocative power of photography, Fekete presents his piece titled Ruler (2018) as a contemporary paraphrase of the epic poem. This apocalyptic image feeds into the discussion of a post-human vision of the world: there is an eyewitness with a story to tell, but there is no audience.
In the video installation by Éva Freund words float in a non-defined space. When definitions become unhinged and the meaning of words is loosened, the larger narrative of language falls apart. Displayed on the monitor Glaswege (2018) is an environment we can not step into. Our vision is cropped by the frame of the presenting device, at the same time creating a personal viewpoint, which we can settle into. Freund’s work questions the possibility of trusting or mistrusting fragmented narratives. In her work she researches the tools that aid navigation in a language that continuously attaches and detaches from reality.
The socially fabricated contemporary chronicle of politics, that is co-created by the media, the reader-as-commentator and fake-news portals is evoked in the work of Péter Gazdik. Gazdik uses the everyday representations of the press, cartoons and caricatures to create a suggestive accumulation of imagery that seems to comment on social and political issues, but with the added awareness that there is something inherently twisted in political storytelling today. Gazdik’s figures – lovingly depicted Mangalica pigs, wild abstract gestures and deluded rainbows – move in a social/pictorial space where the pull of gravity is ever changing. To find a worthwhile position in this narrative is rendered impossible.
03// biology and biography
Biological impulses are connected with personal narrative in Géza Szöllősi’s transformer figures. Created from the chitinous exoskeleton of beetles and then imprisoned into a box of resin, Szöllősi’s artworks evoke the frustrating experience of an inaccessible toy, that will never be unboxed. The beetle’s natural armour is deconstructed and then restructured to become a military exoframe, a transformer surrounded by flowers, minute toy soldiers and other keepsakes. Szöllősi investigates a deep fantasy of cyber-human possibilities and transformations, and also alludes to the personal, identity-fabricating power of consuming and the frustration of not being able to own something.
Orsolya Lia Vető animates her painterly gestures, bringing the innate illusionistic quality of paint close-up to reveal a rich texture of organism like brush-strokes, a swarm of strange biological signs. Vető uses flowers, and other life forms on the verge of the animate and the inanimate as a starting point to create all-over surfaces. As biological life forms are transformed into autonomous visual signs Vető creates a description of the flower’s metamorphoses, a biography of its demise. Inspired by the autonomous brush mark of romanticism, the individual gesture proves to be a self-revealing act, an articulation of something from the biological memory of the body.
004// Dressed Up – material in context / material out of context
Ferenc Gnándt lets discarded materials find him, instead of having a medium-specific approach. In the creative and communicative act a new game emerges between material and artist. In his site-specific installation, titled Dressed Up (2018) Gnándt creates an expansive mural piece that heats the cold body of the exhibition hall and also investigates the relationship between clothing and identity. In his two wall-mounted pieces titled Blue I. (2015) and Blue II. (2015-2016), the front layer of blue paint becomes somewhat like a layer of light or dust as the blue colour only touches the surface seen from the front, bringing complex spatial relationships into play.
Flóra Pertics uses embroidery to inhabit her canvases and other supports, drawing attention both to the motifs and also the textile used as the background. The linear images of ideal female bodies appropriated from art history (Botticelli’s Venus and Ingres’ The Source) are sewn into the front of two jumpers, that originally have prints of contemporary pin-up girls on them. The jumpers, that Pertics found in a second-hand clothing store, function as a kind of readymade, that is further convoluted by the layer of mythology and art history sewn into the wearable art pieces, The Birth of Venus (2018) and The Source (2018).
005// tradition and autonomy
The option of connecting to one of the many traditions of painting is also represented in the exhibition. Bence Zsin exhibited two large-scale paintings titled Carpet (2018) and Garden (2018). Being the only artist not including a statement to accompany his paintings, Zsin is careful not to conceptualise his work as a painter. He uses the traditional medium of oil on canvas but also includes sheep-marking chalk to extend normalised practices and to further enrichen his painterly fabric. Drawn to outsider art, Zsin uses a symbolic representation of space, where carpet, garden and identity turn out to be the exact same thing: an invitation into a more personal space.
Patrick Nicholas Tayler – the writer of this article – focuses on traditional pictorial genres (portrait, landscape, still-life). He is interested in painterly representation, and the signs, motifs and forms that constitute the language of painting. The point where depiction turns into an all-encompassing fiction is central in his artistic practice.
26th October 2018 – 16th November 2018
Nádor Gallery Art & Med Cultural Centre