acb Gallery is presenting a sharp overview of different aspects of Hungarian abstract painting between the 1970s and the 1990s. The six exhibited artworks showcase three positions and articulations of Geometric Abstraction.
The Landscape Transformation I. and Reflection III. from the mid-1970s are major works not just in the oeuvre of Hungarian painter Imre Bak (b. 1939) but in Hungarian postwar art as well. The artist’s practice evolving over half a century bridges local and archaic symbols and the international modernist tradition. The paintings of Bak show stylized landscape motifs like mountain, sun and water in mirrored compositions that draw upon hard-edge painting, motifs and signs of the 20th century avant-garde, as well as contemporary theories of structuralism, semiotics and ethnography.
The axonometric paintings of Károly Hopp-Halász (1946-2016) also reflect on the local constructivist painting traditions, which were particularly important for the Pécs Workshop artist collective in which Hopp-Halász started his career. In the complex oeuvre of Hopp-Halász, the representation of flamboyant geometric structures was a definitive moment in the mid 1970s, with which he could establish a link between the practice of his generation and the Hungarian pioneers of Bauhaus, who emigrated from the city Pécs or the op-art of Victor Vasarely, also born in Pécs.
The Layout paintings of internationally renowned conceptual artist Endre Tót (b. 1937) are crucial recent rediscoveries. Tót, a Hungarian emigrant based in Cologne, Germany had completely abandoned his early painting practice since the 1970s, but he temporarily returned to the medium from 1988 to 1991, with his Layout-series presented in the selection. The visionary layouts of Tót are an extraordinarily unique combination of features that characterised the painting of the eighties – such as decorativity, the use of the patterns and vibrant colours typical for the period – with the visuality of press products, which dominated the aesthetics of the late 20th century and which is of major importance in the conceptual practice of Tót.