February 24, 2021 - April 24, 2021
VILTIN Gallery opens the second solo exhibition for András KONCZ, this time from his period between 1986 and 1996, which is an important part in his own artistic practice and in the Hungarian art scene equally. I am only talking to You today presents works which typically bear the expressivity of the 80's New European Painting, the years of turn determined by irony, and the thinking focusing on renewal.
As written in the essay of László F. Földényi, entitled A Cold-blooded Passion, On the art of András Konczfrom 1997:
'In contemporary Hungarian painting, it is Koncz, who seems least afraid to tell stories that can be retold in words. Naturally, imperilling himself to danger: as the story of classical modern painting is in fact the story of trying to avoid narrative as well. Koncz is spectacularly bound - even through borrowed motifs and quotes - to the classical modernity of the 20thCentury; at the same time, in contrast with modernism he never wishes to divide visual logic from narrative or 'literary' logic. He has paintings that could even be considered as comics.
However, this comic has only one subject and only one character. In spite of the fact that many figures appear on them, in different locations. Yet, these paintings give the impression of a theatre for one. The phantasy is the stage and the characters are projections of a raving ego. They come into contact with each other, taking up different roles, from sexuality to politics, while the real stake is all the time the ego dreaming up them. More precisely the inner conflict of this ego, and its inability to reconciliation. The mythology of this constantly battling ego is built up from painting to painting.
The requisites of mass culture, pop, comics, disco, TV, porno, factory, advertisement, etc. are the elements ruling the paintings - all were represented in the last few decades in European and American painting mainly for the purpose of irony or social criticism. Koncz oversteps this almost compulsory tradition with a brave and truly brass gesture. The set of modern mass culture does not indicate the naked world in his paintings. Quite the contrary; his best paintings all suggest that this world, allegedly deprived of all transcendence, is very suitable for the evocation of sacrality. The world is cold naked and stripped also in Koncz's painting, but he draws strength from his total ravagedness.
His paintings are ruled by seemingly tragic themes, still they cannot be called tragic. In his art loss, emptiness and removedness are the secret reserve, which raises the light of hope. He considers evident those trends of the 20thCentury painting which show the desacralization of the world, the idea of stepping back to naivety preceding the modern does not emerge, which would only produce falsehood and kitsch. Nevertheless, he does not accept desacralization as definitive; his paintings prove that he is aware of the deprivation, and sees it as a personal crucifixion, yet it is this kind of representation that shows that he is unable to yield to it. This is the reason why his painting is so radical, gripping and enchanting, because he is submerging into that which is most fearful for him, and he is looking for hope, where hopelessness is at its deepest.There is no trace of self-deceit in these paintings. Koncz's painting is connected with the ancient tradition of art (which was always the representation of the sacrality of existence and the touch of God) while always looking ahead. He is searching for support in decline, while looking downwards he is striving upwards.'
The loosening political milieu of the 80's the international postmodern art's actual trend reached the transavantgarde Hungary as well. New Sensibilitybrought a big change in the practice of András KONCZ. Photography and drawing was replaced by dynamic figurative painting featuring large gestures and complementary colours. Following the thinking of postmodern art KONCZ's painting is also filled with quotes, which provide surroundings to the strikingly nominal painted heroic figures. The political change of 1989 brought the renewal of the artist's painting, which period bears the emblematic elements of French baroque wall paper patterns and Primitive Gymnastics. The monotone ecstasy of the wallpapers' ornaments and the enthusiastic dynamics of gymnastics create a tension, which makes KONCZ's visual language unique. The figure frees the space up by the different scaling and confuses the spectatorship of the viewer. With the intention of this artistic gesture, KONCZ pioneers in pointing out the beginnings of the 21st Century figurative painting's typical axiom. The wallpaper pattern appears as the analogy of the Hungarian new democracy in KONCZ's ironically toned art.
After his stay in Rome between 1995 and 1996 his focus moved towards his inner order, creating a concentrated, synthetizing artistic language a close follow up of his previous practice. This language is a deep search of parallels between sensuality and artistic sensibility.
András KONCZ (1953, Budapest) is one of the most prominent artist of his generation. He graduated at the Hungarian University of Fine Art in 1980. In his university years between 1976 and 1980, joining the Hungarian neoavantgarde, he became a founding member of the artistic group 'Rózsa presszó'. In 1982 and 1983 he took field trips to Italy and West Germany. Between 1985 and 1990 he exhibited atNew Sensibility group exhibitions organized by Lóránt Hegyi in Austria, West Germany, Sweden and Finland. In 1986 he received the Studio Award and in 1988 the Novotrade-Sotheby's Scholarship. In 1989 he won the Eötvös Scholarship, in 1990 the Schleswig-Holstein Cultural Ministrie's Scholarship and in 1995 the Hungarian Academy's scholarship in Rome. In 2010 he received the Munkácsy Award. Ernst Museum opened two solo shows for him, in 1998 one for his paintings and one for his photographs in 2002. His works can be found in several private and institutional collections, such as Ludwig Museum, Hungarian National Gallery, Fine Art Museum, in Budapest, Paks Gallery, Janus Pannonius Museum in Pécs, Szombathely Gallery, as well as the Albertina and Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig in Vienna besides the Neue Galerie Graz's Universalmuseum Joanneum collection.