Art+Text Budapest is delighted to present a retrospective exhibition of Csaba Koncz, which gives the most complete cross-sectional overview of the artist’s oeuvre created in half a decade only, between 1962 and 1967.
„I wasn’t looking for a motif, I kept going, and the image found me” – he said about the profound method he employed when searching for themes, which was combined with his wanderings. Koncz started to take photographs in 1962. His first photos were taken in Bőszénfa’s Roma slum (letting the play of light and shadow occasionally overwrite the documentary character of the theme).
Because of the tightly cropped composition, the photographic elements repeated in interesting rhythms - strange things in the snow, bullet holes from 1956 in old buildings of Pest - appear as abstract motifs in his photos. Sensitive to black-and-white contrasts, Koncz’s mode of seeing came under the influence of Op Art, and in order to enhance the graphical effect, he then started to photograph whimsically twisting wire nets, specially emphasizing the graphical playfulness originating from the blurred focus of the photos, which was considered a mistake by contemporary professional circles. By employing this selective focus, Koncz let the wire nets fade into nothing in the distance, thereby opening the space of the image to philosophy and metaphysics.
The most mature works from his oeuvre are those „late” photos from 1967, which summarise, technically as well as intellectually, everything that he had done for abstraction before. It was in those works that his approach employing minimalist reduction and non-figuration got intertwined once and for all with the poor materials of Arte Povera.
He avoided the self-serving bravura of crowded, rich views; instead he photographed pieces of iron placed in the snow or in front of the blue sky. One type of the late “iron pictures” experimented with the calligraphic forms of the sometimes out of focus edges of wide metal strips, while representatives of another type of these pictures look as if they were pictograms of small anthropomorphic creatures put together from springs, hoops, screws and nails.
The exhibition at Art+Text Budapest introduces a complete cross-section of Koncz’s oeuvre by presenting vintage photographs, from the early Gypsy portrait through the minimalist landscapes and the close-up photographs with their abstract effect, all the way to the Arte Povera-like wire shots, Op Art compositions, and “iron pictures”.