October 28, 2020 - November 28, 2020
'Trends and movements change, let?s say from Braque to today, even if we want it or not, the coherent oeuvres become sought after time and again, even if the artist aims for it or not. In the case of Joláthy, this is that moment.' (Péter Fitz, 1994)
The Hungarian post-World War II history of art bears with certain specific segments that have been neglected in the last couple of decades. The oeuvre of Attila JOLÁTHY (1927-1998) is such a segment. VILTIN, as the caretaker of the artist's estate, exhibits selected works of the artist for the first time in a retrospective solo show. Sensible Logic takes us back to the '70s, the artist's era when he created the combination of soft, curved shapes and direct colors with Hard-edge painting precision.
In the artistic practice of Attila JOLÁTHY, the world and aesthetics of machines and constructions were a significant inspiration and component throughout his life. He worked as a draftsman and an architectural technician in different production units in his youth, which led to his affection for industrialism. Yet, he started his career as a figurative painter in the '50s. As a student of Márffy, he assimilated color theory, then, later on, became his assistant in the Buda Artist Group. He moved to Paris in 1956, where he remained a figurative artist working with thick and intensive lines. Between 1958 and 1960, he attended the Grand Chaumiére Academy, the school where, among others, Amrita Sher-Gil, Alexander Calder, and Louise Bourgeois also studied. He started to work independently in the '60s and founded the Art 62 group in Évry, near Paris in 1962. The Egyptian Antiquities of the Lourve deeply inspired him; subsequently, he created his paraphrase of decorative paintings as an homage to the collection. On his earlier figurative works, Márffy's influence is still detectable, although soon he left behind the familiar visuals of impressionism, and in the '60s, he turned to geometry and abstraction. He became a permanent exhibitor of the Galerie de la Chouette from 1967, and he was among the participants in the Espace et Lumiére exhibition at the Grand Palais in 1969.
He returned to Hungary in 1974. In 1976, he took an active part in the launching of the Józsefváros Gallery in Budapest. He was the director of the screen printing department of the Tokaj Summer Art Colony from 1980 almost until his death. From 1981 he became an advisor to the Nation Cultural Centre.
His painting, entitled Echecomata, can be considered as a border crossing between figurative and abstract art. His works by then were spectacular compositions playfully varying and separating a few base-forms, which sometimes recalled kaleidoscope-like movements or non-figurative visuals. These shapes and lines in his later space-constructions became abstract roads, ribbons, and power lines.
In his works from the '70s, the delicately wavering, thick arching lines cross over or bend back to themselves; these forms expand the canvas' surface. With an array of colors, he rendered the human-made technical innovations and objects into silhouettes. The constructed compositions bear a certain monitored spontaneity, and the precisely designed backgrounds offer a solid basis to the seemingly 'free-running' color-stripes. Contrasting deep tones and lyrical color stories characterize these works equally. At the end of the decade, his interest shifted towards three-dimensional image structures from the flat surface. The arched visuals gave place to angular shapes, which attempt to burst out of the frame.
Ernst Museum Budapest opened the retrospective exhibition of Attila JOLÁTHY in 1991. His works are included in numerous Hungarian public collections, including the Modern Hungarian Gallery, the Kassák Museum, the Petőfi Museum of Literature, the Art Gallery of Parks, and the Ottó Hermann Museum.