“When I think about the concept of talent, the image of Géza Perneczky always comes to mind. One of the most talented people I have ever known. He’ll touch anything – and he touches a lot of things: art critic, artist, historian, theorist, writer of theories, calligraphy, mail art, book publishing, chaos theory, plant systematics, museum design, and who can list what else – interesting, engaging, thought-provoking, and fires the imagination” – wrote Sándor Radnóti in the blurb of the small volume Pruning Roses, edited by the editorial staff of the Műút journal and the first to be published among the Műút books, in December 2008. The then young author, who was just 72 years old, was asked by the editor of the magazine, which had also been founded just a year earlier, to write a few pages about what new and interesting things he was noticing at the time in the art scene in Germany, or even in the field of contemporary art trade. Géza – not lying to himself – soon sent a 40-page article in response, which the publisher and the editorial staff – unable to do anything with it in the journal – published in a small, separate volume.
This story, now fifteen years old, describes the work of Géza Perneczky, now 87, who never leaves anything unused that he sees as an opportunity to express his views on certain things, to tell stories about the colourful world around us. The writer quoted above in the blurb only mentions Géza’s artistic activity, although this small part of Perneczky’s life’s work is a very rich and varied one.
The MissionArt Gallery’s exhibition, which is now opening, can only present a narrow selection from the early period of his creative work, from the 1970s and 80s. Moving to Cologne, Germany, in 1970, Perneczky happily threw himself into the vibrant art scene there. Not only does he visit museums and galleries with great enthusiasm – making many new acquaintances and friends – but he finds that he can pursue with even greater intensity the art-making he began in Budapest.
The already vast tapestry of his oeuvre is thus expanding into new areas. During the heyday of concept art, his sparkling mind enriched modern Hungarian art with countless brilliant ideas and, of course, works of art. Somewhat ahead of the idea for this exhibition, the book The Art of Reflection: Conceptual Photography 1970-1975, published in Vienna and published in 2020, was published in conjunction with the exhibition at the Capa Centre, following the influential work of Patrick Urwyler. Fortunately for us, this great album also serves as a guide to the MissionArt chamber exhibition, as many of the works now on show are reproduced. Moreover, these works are available for purchase here and now.