A Guided Tour for the Exhibition: WeYouThey

weyouthey
 

I like looking at people. It delights me to watch them whether they are ugly or beautiful. I like to depict human interactions, situations, gestures and gazes in my pictures.  Although there are long stories behind and ahead of these figures they truly exist in the greatness of the moment. They really can absorb the eternity of the moment should they be playing the violin, eating or talking on the phone. The characters are the people who we meet from one day to the next on the streets of the neighbourhood, in the supermarket, on the underground, in the baths or anywhere else. Some of them are friends or friends of friends whom I asked to pose for a scene. In other paintings one can come across with the fairy tale characters from our collective subconscious.
As I get on with the painting I let my imagination flow and colour the different situations so I can depict a tiny bit more then it is visible for the bare eyes. The characters will become the participants of my own story of course just as they can become the characters of any other viewers’ personal story.
Eventually the main thing is that these people, should they be ever so busy multitasking and so on, enable us to connect to them and be in the moment with them.

siesta
Siesta - 60x70 cm / oil on canvas 2011

 

it is forbidden

It Is Forbidden To Walk On Water - 60x70 cm / oil on canvas, 2011

 

Big City Stories

I wander the streets with my camera at hand hunting for some action. I’m mainly interested in gestures, fine movements, faces and phenomena. Why these people? Why these gestures? I really couldn’t tell, I simply get the impression that these are the right ones for my pictures. As I’m watching the passers by I realise how similar we are but still we are so different as well. Whenever I find an interesting character or scene I imagine it further, I add more colour if necessary too. I develop this inner picture about them that is similar to how the subconscious is turning the events of a day into dreams, communicating a coded message of some sort. Dreams are of course very personal messages that can only be decoded by the dreamer. These paintings of mine have no direct meaning, the spectator can come up with their own stories, interpretations that suit them most.
When doing such street cruisings did I have a glimpse of the wetsuit men in the city lake, the strict pensioner, the old lady eating cake, the other one searching for something in her bag, the man sleeping in the grass, the people in the queue, the street musicians and the pensioner couple with the striped shopping bag...

street music
Street Music - 60x70 cm / oil on canvas, 2011

 

tango

Tango - 60x70 cm / oil on canvas, 2012

 

keresők

Searchers - 60x70 cm / oil on canvas, 2011

 

falmingos

Lost Flamingos - 60x70 cm / oil on canvas, 2011

 

que

Standing In The Cue - 60x70 cm / oil on canvas, 2010

 

florist

Florist - 60x70 cm / oil on canvas, 2010

 

endless calls

Endless Calls - 60x70 cm / oil on canvas, 2010

 

lottery

 

cake

Lottery Numbers - 60x40 cm / oil on canvas, 2012 Creamy Cake - 60x40 cm / oil on canvas, 2012

The painting with the mother and child looking in the distance is the odd one out here. Although it is also a part of this collection, they somehow turn their backs to the city and us too.

tavlat
Prospect - 60x40 cm / oil on canvas, 2012

The painting entitled: Today everyone gets a glass of light also includes imaginary characters apart from the city folk. I like to paint people from off the top of my head. I had this idea about the café scene and drinking light was just a sudden brainwave.

glass of light
Today Everyone Gets a Glass of Light - 67x65 cm / oil on canvas, 2012

 

Dream with Pears

This is a still life that leads us from the big city life to other places.

dream with pears
Dream With Pears - 70x60 cm / oil on canvas, 2011


The pictures Magic, Paintresses in Treating and Lemon were painted individually but as I was organising them I realised a strong visual and content based link in them.  I only realised it later that these pictures depict the most important actions in my life at the moment: family, care, painting, friends, conversations, mysticism, learning, and nature.

lemon
Lemon - 95x85 cm / oil, canvas, 2011

Lemon was painted first. My models were my family members: Eszter, Sebi and Samu. The atmosphere was the most important issue here. A sunny morning silent, but still life.  The composition came from my head so I let the models act as they want to, and I chose the final photo out of at least fifty to be used as a lead for the painting.

The original idea of Painters at Teatime was to depict what it would be like to invite different painters from different times for a friendly afternoon chat. Of course the guests were chosen carefully from among the ones who inspire me the most.  The first image in my head was that Frida Kahlo, Sofonisba Anguissola and I are sitting at a table chatting. (But even before that during the summer one day I was listening to an audio book about the life of Velazquez, in which they mentioned Sofonisba as a court painter at the time of Philip II.. During my 5 years at the University of Fine Arts I hadn’t heard about her but then I found a book about her one day in a Javanese library when I was studying in Solo, Indonesia. Of course I was again dumbstruck as I was listening to her being mentioned in this novel.) I was nearly ready with the sketches of the final version when I switched on the radio and surprise, surprise there was a program on about Amrita Shergil. Of course I had to invite her too! Finally I decide not to sit with them at the table but serve them some fruits instead. 
I asked some friends to model for me in order to manifest this imaginary scene. Kata lent her kitchen for the background location. Just like with Lemon I visualised the composition in advance so I only had to set the scene: adjust cups, fruits and one photo was taken after the other. Gyurka was taking the photos with his fantastic flashlights that resulted in an amazing spread of light and ripe colours. Finally I selected the most appropriate movements from all the photos, added the photos of the painters and used all to paint the final version.

workshop
 
paintresses
Paintresses in Treating - 90x130 cm / oil, canvas, 2011

Magic was created in a similar way to the former two. I already had the composition in my head, all I needed was a model. There was somebody among my social circle whom I really wanted to paint so after some shy hesitation I finally asked her if I could and she said yes. So the image in my head and the portrait met. I have always been intrigued by the background landscapes of renaissance paintings so I couldn’t resist adding one to the view from the window of a Budapest café.

magic
Magic - 90x80 cm / oil, canvas, 2012

 

My love of renaissance background landscapes probably emerges from my recent visit to one of Antonello da Messina’s churches which I entirely investigated. I even looked out of one of its windows and counted all the trees I could see.   
I have always admired Antonello de Messina’s 1475 painting of Saint Jerome in his study. It was my ultimate dream to step into a painting and look around, so why not do it now?
A painting can in fact serve as a gate so I shall enter. I walk about Messina’s church, step by step, I feel each tile under my feet, look out of the windows...Saint Jerome will lend his study to me of course so in I can move with my laptop, books, sky globe, the astrological formulas and pets (of course I will need electricity too). This is the kind of place where I like to be, it is easy to unwind and study the formulas. Time seems to stop but the image of Saturn is there above my head not only because it is my ruling planet but also to show that the making of such a picture is a time consuming task.  In order to materialise my idea I need time. I don’t give up. I paint the church from tile to tile.

st jerome lent studio

Antonello da Messina - St Jerome in his Study
45.7 x 36.2 cm / oil on canvas, 1475
©National Gallery London

Study Lent - 89,5x64,5 cm / oil, canvas, 2011

 

For many years I have been intrigued by the painting in the painting topic, that is when an all time favourite master’s work of art is being inserted into my composition as a kind of quotation, say. If there is contextuality in literature why shouldn’t one try it in painting as well? This kind of inspiration might actually come from my days as a restorer student when I copied so many paintings that eventually I learnt how to paint in oil. Painting in the painting is an endless source of experiment. I just love it when all sorts of different spaces become mutually accessible and the quoted figures or phenomena interact with the original participants.

novel
Roman (In The Kirchen 2) - 85x100cm / oil, canvas, 2010


Novel has a similar background to Lemon and Magic. My original idea was already at hand: my poet friend WST was posing for me for the reading man, I only had to borrow Modigliani’s portrait of Jeanee Hébuterne who reaches out of the picture to steal an apple unnoticed. Again it was not my first and foremost intention to paint a portrait, the atmosphere and topic was more exciting to me.
In Lunch I only quote a motive: Eszter Radák’s window and curtains. On the wall there is a mirror though which reflects my whole body as I paint a picture. The main character of this painting is an imaginary person, the dog is Spuri from our street. When I painted this picture I didn’t figure that one day I might have a dog too.  

lunch
Lunch - 80x90cm / oil, canvas, 2010


Revel is a bit of a crowded, sultry picture. The characters are not only absorbed in themselves but in each other too. This busyness and the overlapping of figures give way to playfulness. The red haired lady is seemingly biting the melon and the eyes of the man sitting behind her at the same time. Here I quote Balthus’s Turkish Room which is very close to my visual world, I really adore that painting.

party
Revel - 80x90cm / oil, canvas, 2012

 

So when it comes to WeYouThey (MiTiŐk), I have to include a bit of me as well. Self portraits are frequent topics of mine too: I paint one or two nearly every year. I think it is a very good way of self examination, introspection. You can see how it works in last year’s painting with the lily. Somebody mentioned that they recall another self portrait of mine with a similar green background. I immediately searched for it and found the one with the little bird I painted in 2004 in Java. It really is interesting that both were painted on the same size canvas and the colours are similar too. Nevertheless the progress of the past seven years is also quite striking should they be technique related or personality based...Although the central idea of the exhibition is the individual it is quite obvious that time is also there as a second topic: just think about the different painters of all these eras or the study of Saint Jerome. If you look at the two self portraits you can also experience the change time brings about.

selfportrait with bird
Selfportrait  - 65x30cm / oil, canvas, 2011 Selfportait with bird - 65x30 cm /oil on canvas, 2005

 

After these encounters with everyday people, let’s move on to a different world.
Recently I had a wee nostalgia towards the renaissance. That is how I found Cranach. I used to detest his paintings, but now it’s exactly the opposite. Looking at his works I was inspired to paint this feminine figure that became so ethereal that I couldn’t actually interpret her as a real person, only as an emanation, that is how the title of this painting became Providence.

providence
Providence - 65 x 30 cm / oil, canvas, 2011

 

The painting Message began with a playful technique. I wanted to learn how to paint a face in a really big size. Of course it was not a mere technical but also a philosophical issue. I have always admired painters who played with different sizes within a picture should they be Egyptian or medieval. This motive had always referred to a deeper meaning, a kind of a spiritual hierarchy. As the face on the canvas began to unfold I felt that it expresses a quality that exceeds the human and it brings about a creature from a different dimension. The birds flying out of her mouth are messengers between man’s world and their own.

message
Message - 60x50 cm / oil on canvas, 2011

 

Windows as gates are also frequent motives in my paintings. The Window was inspired by the pictures of Ingres, especially the one about Comtesse d’Haussonville.

window
Window - 40x30 cm /oil on canvas, 2011

I had this idea that I should paint her face as if she was peeping through a window-like slit. As I was painting I remembered my restorer days: very often experts find the previous layers of a repainted picture more valuable then the second layer. There is a different layer underneath which is restored via so called cleaning windows. Sometimes it happened that through such windows nothing else but a face popped up.

Charm is a fictional, dream and fairy tale like picture. There is no explanation to it.

charm
Charm - 80x90 cm / oil on canvas, 2011

 

Finally we have reached Fairy Ilona and Árgyílus. I have always been interested in all sorts of stories, tales and myths. I don’t think these were designed only for children. All of them carry ancient wisdom and knowledge. If we can accept them they can guide us to a journey within or they can provide the cure for our different problems. When I was living in Java I felt it was essential to gather, translate and illustrate the local tales and bring them back to Hungary. Similarly it became an important mission for me to translate and illustrate Hungarian tales and send them back to Indonesia. These tale paintings are ready now but there was this one that somehow I found too small to work out all the details so I decide to paint it in a large version too. The scene is the peak of the drama: the evil witch is cutting a lock of hair from Tündér Ilona who therefore cannot return to her sweetheart prince Árgyílus so if he wants her back he has to set off to find fairyland. It is a real tale of initiation, I recommend it to everyone.

Fairy Ilona
Golden Apple (Argyilus And Fairy Ilona) - 130x90 cm / oil, canvas, 2011