Portraits of the last golden age

26. October 2023. – 01. December
MegnyitóOpening: October 25, 2023, 6:00 pm
MegnyitjaRemarks by: Petrányi Zsolt

The exhibition, entitled Portraits of the Last Golden Age, is in fact a prophecy: it signals the inevitable occurrence of the greatest metamorphosis of humanity ever. The global climate catastrophe and the rise of artificial intelligence are changing the structures we have known so far to such an extent that the evidence we thought was established will soon become invalid, and new rules and constructs will define our reality. We are in the midst of a paradigm shift that will fundamentally change our lives and from which we may look back and see our current world as harmonious and balanced. Perhaps this is the last golden age before the tragic end, in which there is still room for humanity.

Attila Szűcs’ recent work addresses this issue. One of the key works in the exhibition is an installation of ten paintings entitled Disappearing Choir, inspired by a photo from the 1960s found in the Fortepan collection. The original image shows a female choir singing what are probably revolutionary songs while standing on a flight of stairs. Szűcs first dismantles and then reassembles the faces and events in the photo, raising questions beyond the hypocrisy of propaganda. On the one hand, it points out that there are patterns that are passed on to future generations, both individually and socially, while at the same time it explores the relationship between the individual and the community in an interesting context. Although each portrait has its own character, its own personality, in this group the individualities become insignificant and the space drawn by the set of portraits becomes more important. The group of portraits forms an organic fabric in which the person can only be understood in the dimension of the whole. The gaze constantly cycles between the portraits, there is no resting point, for the moment the viewer focuses on one portrait, another face creeps into view. For this reason, there is also a kind of fluctuating reception, in that there is no fixed point of view, and the full view only becomes fully accessible as the portrait moves.

In recent years Szűcs has worked a lot on the theme of hair and hair colouring. For him, these works are also a kind of portraits, where the falling hair or the floating hair universes are symbols of the quantization of the world, and it is through these paintings that he is able to express in the most sensual way that our world derives its complexity from the multiplicity of its smaller units. As he says: a single strand of hair is a two-dimensional entity barely perceptible to the eye, a mere line that, when it is in a large mass, suddenly becomes a mass of a different sensation. Her hair paintings, now on display, play an interesting game with the viewer: if you move in close, you see the sensuously articulated patches of colour, the parallel lines become accentuated, while stepping back, the concrete view unfolds, the abstract patches of colour coalesce into a real mass of hair. Looking at the images in the exhibition, it is also striking how fascinatingly Szűcs is able to depict light, air and atmosphere in these hair crowns: the glistening surfaces on the falling curls, the waving strands, the softly floating bands make the space and environment surrounding the hair tangible.

Like the paintings of Attila Szűcs, our present age is full of mystery, mystery, questions that make existence haunting. Our own impermanence is sometimes frightening, but looking at Szűcs’ paintings we can be sure that in passing there is also the possibility of creation and beauty.