Exhibition of Miklós Demény
Exhibition: June 12 – July 30
Venue: Virág Judit Gallery
Miklós Demény developed and applied an image-forming method that appealed to the rational mind of the viewer and bordered on emotional enjoyment. Demény declared at this time that his art and choice of subject matter were embedded in his own age, making his painting up-todate and modern. Among his sources of inspiration, he highlighted the Eights, a group of artists who operated between 1909 and 1912, Gyula Derkovits and the Soviet Constructivism of the 1920s and 1930s.
Around 1965 pure tube-colours appeared in his painting. In addition to the strong and definite colours, there was also a theme that had not been a feature of Demény’s art at all until then. Thus, the Cubist-Constructive picture building that had existed from the very beginning was supplemented with vibrant colours and, for a relatively short period, folklore motifs and objects. Motifs such as the plough, spinning-wheel, hope chest, wood carvings, and folk weavings appeared on Demény’s images.
Demény’s personal library included the albums, artist monographs and exhibition catalogues that served as a primary sources of inspiration. His much turned over volumes on Pablo Picasso, Juan Miro, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse and Paul Gauguin, rich in paint-stained fingerprints, openly testify to the interest that connected Demény to these grandmasters of Classical Modernism. Fernand Léger stands out among the classical modern artists who inspired him, whose synthetic Cubism and Constructive image building promised the artist the opportunity for further progress.
The monumental scales of Demény’s paintings around 1968 show the vivid influence of contemporary works by Léger who died in 1955 and Picasso who lived until 1973. They are distinguished by large figurals, standing nudes and groups of nudes, clear colour fields bordered with strong contours, almost sculptural modelling and shading that refers only to the spatiality of bodies and objects. From the early 1970s until the 1990s, Demény systematically experimented with an extensive repository of possibilities inherent in geometric but objective and figural abstract shaping.
In the 1980s, Demény’s subjects expanded, and while in the previous decade he painted almost exclusively still lifes, now landscapes and interiors with a wider cut reappeared. A stylistic change beginning in the 1990s was accompanied by another broadening of subject matter. Most importantly, a series of works started to explore the world of sports and the circus. Plastically formed images depicting wrestlers, weightlifters and hurdlers could have been start points for sculptural works as well. However, the major theme of Demény’s oeuvre in the 1990s was the circus.
While the subject of the circus did indeed emerge in the 1990s as a concentrated manifestation of human life liberated and full of energy, the 2000s brought perhaps the most definite change within his oeuvre. Compositions appeared that do not contain even a symbolic suggestion of human figures and that do not cross the line of nonfigurativeness.
These are landscapes or portraits of landscapes, compositions of geometric abstract colour bars that follow the rules of the one-point perspective, an innovation from the early Renaissance. The colourful lines that converge on one point on a seemingly distant horizon resulted in landscapes with a special atmosphere, and which, due to their nature, stylistically align with that of Pop Art and flesh out the possibilities still abundant in the artist’s painting.