The Várfok Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition of its new artist, István Pető, who lives and works in Paris. István Pető’s art is both a sensual freedom of painting and a profound, meditative formal construction. The contrast between the lyrical and the raw, the blank surfaces that reveal the structure of the canvas, the infinitely subtle colour transitions applied in several layers, the expressive, wild gestures and the organic, vibrant forms are projections of a particularly rich inner world, which tap into different regions of the soul in the viewer. In his work, printmaking and painting are in constant contact. The focus of his creative process is construction – his lyrical works are in fact the result of a well-structured, step-by-step artistic programme, in which total formal freedom is expressed through orderliness.
The lines of István Pető’s early art are reminiscent of the intricate, metaphorical etchings of Béla Kondor. In the 1980s, the human body was his main motif, but even then the line as an element was already evident in his work. His art organically progresses from the figurative to total abstraction as a result of a trip to India – his human figures eventually reducing to blots and symbols. From this point on, his works create systems of signs that evoke Chinese calligraphy and surrealist automatic writing, but which do not convey a concrete narrative.
At the end of the 1990s, he moved to New York for a year, where he painted exclusively, and his attention turned more and more towards interior gardens. This fantastic, fascinatingly expansive inner artistic world is presented in the Garden, Now series, which makes the metaphorical soul-gardens the artist has explored during his mental walks visible to the viewer. His works are connective, bridging the lyrical abstraction that springs from the Western avant-garde and the ancient, spiritual, Eastern tradition, creating an aesthetic compound saturated with dense thought.