“Je ne suis qu’un peintre-graveur. / I’m just a painter-engraver.” – is the seemingly simple ars poetic of István Pető. However, if we examine this sentence more closely, it becomes clear that his self-identifying statement reveals deep layers of his personality and his entire artistic worldview. For he deliberately denies himself the title “artist”, refusing to identify with or share a common platform with the concept of “artist”, which has been repeatedly and radically altered for the 21st century.” – art historian Noémi Szabó describes the artist István Pető.
The artist himself says of his creative method. To build a pyramid you need building materials, stones. I build my pyramid with colours and brush strokes. The stones of the first row form the base. The second row of stones is determined by the first row. Then comes the third layer, and so on. The painting is the same. The brush strokes following the first are not so free, because you have to take into account what is already there. When the last stone is placed on top of the pyramid, the construction is over. I complete the canvas with a final brush stroke. The problem is that you never know where that last stroke will end up and what form it will take, unlike the pyramid, where the last stone has its place, in the painting that place is always waiting to be found.”
The title of the exhibition refers to the layers in the paintings, which, sometimes on a larger surface, sometimes with calligraphic lines and traces of writing, indicate their equality, but also their interplay between concealment and revelation. The exhibition Overlaps presents a selection of István Pető’s paintings from the last ten years, including large-scale works such as his diptychs, which are mainly close to lyrical abstraction and which form a prominent and essential part of the oeuvre of István Pető, who has lived in Saint Denise, near Paris, since 1984.