The Eight – The Great Searchers | Concepts of Space – A Show by Róbert Várady | A Show by Sándor Pinczehelyi in the Series Pécs Masters of the Arts | Tót Endre Before Endre Tot – Early Works 1964-67
Gábor Rieder: The Eight – The Great Searchers
This exhibition devoted to The Eight is not only the most eagerly expected event of the Pécs – European Cultural Capital project, but also the biggest art sensation of the entire year. Delightful still-lives in the style of Cézanne, untethered, highly erotic nudes, dazzlingly colourful landscapes. Compulsory viewing.
The story of the movement is well-known, safely lodged as it is in textbooks. On 31 December, 1909, eight painters undertook to establish modernism in Hungarian painting. They had the backing of the capital’s radical thinkers and journalists, the progressive minds of the Galilei-circle, grand poet Ady sipping his wine with would-be painters, the highly cultured team of writers producing the literary and critical periodical Nyugat (West), and the rich Jewish bourgeoisie which had overcome its repugnance for strange new fashions to finance the young protagonists’ efforts.
The team of curators had done their best to recover from private collections most of the pictures that had been exhibited at The Eight’s three shows in 1910-1912.
In the newly refurbished exhibition rooms of the Janus Pannonius Museum’s arched basement we can fully relish the magnificent crop of those three years, not to speak of some earlier or later works and some pieces created by such great foreign contemporaries as Matisse, Cézanne, or Kokoschka.
The most even work is that of Márffy; a clerk in civilian life, he was most consistent in hill-shading his colourful landscapes and nudes. Czigány in his turn was mad about dark greens; Dezső Orbán’s still-lives were the best Hungarian equivalents of those by Cézanne. Tihanyi was a genius of applying the dynamic, angular segments of cubo-futurism to portrait painting. Even the French regarded Czóbel as one of the most unbridled fauves – indeed; he paired colours to achieve unbelievable contrasts reaching sometimes into a glaring UV dimension. With Pór we have less difficulty, all through he copied the stringy muscles of Michelangelo’s nudes, rather like Kernstok, albeit in a more melodious and decorative way. As to Berény…
Berény had no particular style; he painted anything in any style whatsoever. He was the Benjamin of The Eight, sipping new impulses in Paris as he had done; he was constantly in search of himself. He painted female nudes with very large, grey bosoms, blown up hips, and the head of a charwoman. He also made Cubist portraits, Expressionist Crucifixions, straight still-lives, all kinds of landscapes, even flowery embroideries. He demonstrates clearly what The Eight really were: searchers, explorers, innovators. Their contemporaries called them just that: Searchers; they did so even after the Great War when it became apparent that the group dissipating after three years had failed to reach any Avant-garde conclusion.
They searched and experimented. They tried on various robes, whether the faded gown of a Cézanne, or the glaring silk robe of a Matisse, or even each other’s coats.
No one but an expert can separate Czigány’s still-lives from those of Orbán. Kernstok adopted the style of Czóbel or Márffy without any hesitation, but the theme of Arcadian male nudes was also common currency among them. While applying the gross deformations of Cubism, Tihanyi also painted pretty landscapes in the Post-Impressionist Nagybánya style. Pór in his turn had the cheek to exhibit his highly academic self-portrait at one of the group’s shows.
Only three of the hard core of The Eight attended the group’s last, 1912 show. The rest were busy doing lucrative Government commissions, building their own personal careers. The Eight remained a grand adventure, a revolutionary, but short-lived swing towards the Isms, with only Tihanyi reaching the Avant-garde proper with his abstract paintings, and of course Czóbel who had never suspended his stay and work in France. All the others, for whatever part they came to play during the Commune in 1919, became well-to-do bourgeois painters with Pór, and even Berény, playing a part in the Socialist Realism of post-1945 Hungarian painting.
Janus Pannonius Museum
10 December – 27 March, 2011
Concepts of Space – A Show by Róbert Várady
12 December – 16 January, 2011
Győr Municipal Arts Museum (Esterhazy Palace)
The artist looks for an answer to the question whether an individual artistic Ego is still plausible in the virtual world of networks, constructs, and cyberspace. He has been wide open to the latest science of evolving human transactions and connections but recently he has been giving up virtual spaces for the more real space of perspectives. His show at Győr presents work executed by him during the last ten years.
A Show by Sándor Pinczehelyi in the Series Pécs Masters of the Arts
10 December – 17 January, 2011
Zsolnay Cultural Quarter
As Sándor Pinczehelyi started his career he belonged to the second generation of the Hungarian Neo-Avant-Garde. As a member of the Pécs Workshop he executed geometric compositions as well as conceptual photographs, objects, posters, etc. From the 70s on he devoted a lot of his attention to such political symbols as the hammer and the sickle, the red star, the national banner, cobblestones, etc. The wave of new painting in the 80s did not evade him: his large canvasses created in the 80s he presents his earlier motifs side by side by typical objects of consumer society and life in the countryside.
Tót Endre Before Endre Tot – Early Works 1964-67
9 December – 21 January, 2011
acb Contemporary Art Gallery
Ever since the 70s, Endre Tót has been an active protagonist of international art life. Before that, in the mid-sixties he had made many informel paintings and drawings, a complete novelty at that time. In the early 70s he gave up painting in order to devote his entire talent to unfolding such concepts as Zero-ness, Gladness, and Rain. He himself has long overlooked his very early, informel works of spontaneous emotions and instinctive gestures in pencil, watercolour, and black ink. Now, acb Gallery presents a generous selection of those for the Hungarian art-loving public.