We are under the Mulberry Garden of the Academy of Arts,
which is a part of the premises, in building No. 1. About seven years ago I created a graphic studio in the basement
where the theory of colours is also taught. There is room for about twenty students here. The sketches deal with simple things,
For example, if you look at the red dot here, an image will appear next to it, It is actually
a real complementary colour which is created by the eye, Purple will appear next to yellow,
This student’s work shows a comprehensive example. I’m referring to Johannes Itten, Josef Albers,
and Johan Wolfgang Goethe here. Even to Aristotle who concluded a long time ago that colour
was the most changeable phenomenon in the world, And painters take advantage of it. I’d like to show you that we didn’t only examine
colours statically but also in motion. We used this old zoetrope device
which imitates motion. If you look through the hole,
individual phases of motion blend on the inner side of the cylinder.
This gives rise to motion. We place rhythmical and colourful sequences
made by students into the device. You get a different effect if you look from the top
than if you look from the bottom. Through the side holes we can see
upward and downward motion, in fractals. If we look from the top
the colours blend. I was admitted to Art College in 1955,
It was a depressing place at that time. It didn’t take long before the revolutionary year 1956 came.
For the few following months there were almost no classes. Before the revolution I was part
of a boring education system which focused on drawing
without any other orientation. The enthusiasm that occurred during the revolution set me going.
My work took a new direction from that time. I discovered artists from the Hungarian artistic scene of
the 1930’s, They started my self-improvement. I never received any instructions from the teachers at the academy,
Nobody actually cared about me. I followed the trend to the extent that they almost
flunked me out of the school in the following year. I received a letter in which they
warned me that if I continue like that they will not consider me their student. I made my works. At the same time,
I also painted paintings which were required by the school. They were figurative nudes
which I sold later and made some money. I was also commissioned to painting for Kunsthalle.
That was the outcome of the year 1956 for me. Communist youths resumed their activities
at school, Many of us refused to join them. It was not compulsory any longer. We can say we
gradually started to live a new and freer life. I left the school in 1961,
as I’ve already said, without a degree. I didn’t need it until the beginning of the new
millennium when I wanted to become a professor. I made several trips abroad.
After 1963 you could travel without any time restriction for a while.
You could easily stay abroad for a year. Except you didn’t have enough money for that. In 1963 and 1964, I travelled out of the country
for the first time. I went to Greece and Italy. But I didn’t pursue modern art there. I wanted to experience
the history of art practically through original works. I had my first separate exhibition in 1966. At that time I mainly made graphics,
especially copperplate engravings. My first exhibition was not held in Budapest
but in Bologna. With the help of an acquaintance an exhibition was immediately organized in Budapest. During the time when I travelled and had exhibitions
I completed a certain life and creative cycle. It was followed by a transition period during which
I was trying to draw attention to my works again. Let’s talk about graphics for a while. It was my most
important area during my studies and the following ten years. I enjoyed the work
because it wasn’t an impulsive activity I started to consider copperplate engraving and printing
to be a graphic activity as well as action. For example, I dropped a board from the fourth floor. It was deformed by the impact
and then I printed the deformation. In 1967 I was granted a scholarship stay in Vienna
in connection with my exhibition. A Viennese institution had
the Rockefeller scholarship which was also granted to Jozef Jankovič, a Slovak artist. During my six-month stay in Austria
I met the artist Tibor Gáyor who later became my husband. He originally studied architecture. We lived alternatively in Vienna and in Budapest
and we could travel together. They were about Actionism, which was popular at that time.
I could see artefacts at exhibitions which, according to my previous knowledge,
couldn’t be considered art. I changed my attitude after some time. Sometime around 1970, I started a completely
new creative stage, True it was more elementary, and artificial. It wasn’t a reduction of the world
through some kind of subject. It was reality, the real world, It also affected photographs
as well as experimental films and even concrete poetry. It was followed
by quite a broad-spectrum self-fulfilment. In the early 1960’s when we could finally travel,
we considered Poland and Czechoslovakia to be freer countries. Later, it proved right based on a list of exhibitions. For example Miloš Urbásek could participate in
the Biennale of Constructivist Art in Nuremberg in 1971 which was unthinkable for us. Our country was represented
by somebody from the official art scene who wasn’t even a constructivist
but who painted geometrical abstractions. In the mid-1960’s, young and progressive
artists started to associate. As far as I know, the same was
happening in Czechoslovakia. Until the 1970’s, or actually until 1973,
more and more avant-garde exhibitions were held annually every summer at one place in Hungary.
The place was a chapel in Balatonboglár which was leased by a young
artist for one Forint. They also played theatrical plays there.
A separate world arose there. It was the only place were it could work.
They closed the chapel in August 1973. Shortly before it was closed, a great meeting took place there
which was organized by László Beke and others. Many Central European artists participated in it.
Several actions which took place at the meeting were photo-documented.
For example everybody shaking hands. I first met the Czech artist Jiří Valoch
who was accompanied by Gerta Pospíšilová in 1972. I appreciated that not only did they go to Hungary
to learn about art, but they also went to East Germany,
and they must have had connections in Poland. We met Rudolf Sikora,
Juraj Meliš and Zavarsky. The period is very hard to describe,
everything was interconnected. Besides the chapel in Balatonboglár
there was one more place in Hungary where avant-garde art could be presented. It was the Young Artists’ Club
at Andrássy Avenue in Budapest. The art historian László Beke was
the artistic leader there for some time. At the time, Imre Bak and István Nádler
started to create “western” art. We held a series of exhibitions of
these artists in West Germany which lasted until the early 1980s. We were in Cologne. The East German art historian
Jürgen Weinhardt helped us a great deal. Dieter Honisch, deputy of the director of the Essen Museum, offered scholarship stays to Hungarian artists.
They could live and work on the premises of the museum. We didn’t receive an official invitation
but when we went there we stopped and stayed for some time.
It was a very impulsive period for me. The year 1970 was a turning point for me. I developed a liking
for conceptual art and its possibilities and I also got to know works by other artists. During our three-week stay in Cologne
we visited a number of galleries, not just the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. It was an overwhelming experience
and I needed a lot of time to absorb it before I started
to create my own works. Conceptualism gradually transformed
into a kind of minimal art which means that I started to work with elementary forms.
When I took photos and figurality appeared, it was only signs. The question wasn’t just what was happening
from an aesthetic point of view, but rather what signs were hidden in the figurality.