_ a jelenért / _ for the present

 

The exhibition room houses Ágnes Kontra’s place-specific installation. The title draws attention to the fact that the work of art is exhibited in an unusual way. The space surrounding the work is also emphasized, and even becomes a part of it, thus forming an inseparable unity. This unity creates the environment, into which the viewer enters. Then, with the active attention of the viewer, the act of interpretation begins.

Let us stop and quiet down for a few minutes amid the strides of an important ceremony commissioning a building, as we want to focus sharply on a picture, a painting. My selection of the phrase 'quiet down' is not a coincidence, since quietness, at least the way I interpret it, is one of the atmospheric features of painter Ágnes Kontra's picture on display here, while, simultaneously the painting also emphasises tensions.

Before the material seen here was compiled in its entirety, we had a few occasions to engage in conversation with the artist, and the subject of the title of the exhibition arose as well. Presumably, it has not influenced, or is influencing the works in any way; it would exclusively provide points of reference to English-speaking visitors if the title of the exhibition had been displayed in English. It was astonishing to me as well when Agi explained that many of her native English speaking friends had been unable to find a fitting equivalent to the word ÁTLÁTÁSOK. Would the richness of expression be so pronounced in the Hungarian language? In Hungarian, the word átlátás contains a multitude of associations and specific meanings. Primarily, it refers to seeing through some kind of a surface or opening, or perhaps over something particular, or as “seeing through something/someone,” meaning a quest for truth through superficial appearances, or it might even mean the speedy recognition of a solution for a problem.

This flowering of cherry trees had taken place during a long-gone spring, and you had inspected the branches as you lay on your back. It has happened, but one cannot take a photo of such a thing; a photo does not evoke scents, not ever.

Landscape, humidity, mountains, flowers, clouds. Layers of overlapping color outline the barely perceivable, just suspected natural formations. The harmony of the landscape is never interrupted by a human being; the final essence of the elements is what we are seeing here: stone, moisture, air – they present themselves in their own raw essential form. We can nearly assume that we are not seeing concrete landscapes, the natural motifs are just display tools of internal images, images that are expressions of lyrical majesty, of power, of loneliness. These are the threads that tie the works of Ágnes Kontra into the tradition of European Art.

It was as if nature herself had flown onto the canvasses in her complete, unfathomable and intellectually incomprehensible capacity. I let out a relieved sigh and I would lean back, if I could. These paintings extend an invitation for introspection and a relaxed internal voyage. Clouds, moisture rising from the ground, mountain ranges and roads enchant us, tempting us to enter a world can only be perceived in a different way.

„The light of the soul moves into colors, the colors take shape, the shapes move, the movements give off sound. The poem sounds aloud and a painting is placed upon the wall.”
(Endre Mányoki, author, critic, Assistant Professor at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Art – at the opening of Ági’s exhibition titled Dewpoint)

Colour is the light of the soul An excerpt from a writing of Endre Mányoki Material, colour, soul, light – the toolbox of creative man. Of man who had been through Plato's Cave on his way to the surface, in the direction of the light; upon his return, he has tried to communicate something no words exist to describe, no memories can be formed of. It brings something that cannot be handed over. It brins the reflection in the creek, but the cave lacks even a puddle. It brings the Sun, but the cave only has fire.

Oberbank - Second Hungarian Contemporary Art Exhibition
Exhibitors: Agnes Kontra, Eva Krajcsovits, Miklós Szűts, Dezső Vali, Erzsébet Vojnits

Undoubtedly many of you have experienced that visual hallucination when we experience objects – the entire environment, really - coming towards us with a peculiar slowness after a long trip spent on a car, bus or train and were watching footage of the countryside roll by for hours on end. The motionless state, while it is visibly in one place, still appears to be moving. The exhausted retina and optic nerve play a joke on the observer.

There are no colours in nature. Instead, there are materials, structures, interactions, ironclad consequences, processes and who knows what else. No colours, though. There is no time as such, just a chain of events, links on a temporal binding. Nothing is beautiful or useful in an objective sense. There is no nature in nature. Colours, time, beautiful, useful, nature and the rest, all these are mere concepts: all of them are abstractions. We are the ones who need them, not the Universe. We, the people require them. Why is this?

©2019 - Kontra Ágnes