2006. Internal landscapes disguised as external
by Tibor Wehner
Exhibition in the Gallery Ãrkád, Budapest, Hungary
The 2005 series of the artist Géza Németh is both attached to his endeavours of his previous artistic periods and disentangled from them. Looking back to his artistic career, which encompasses nearly four decades, his works of art may be characterised by visionary surrealism, photonaturalism and hyperrealism of strict impartiality, expressionism bruised and contorted by projections erupting from the depths of emotions, as well as by postmodern representation squeezed between the brackets of a grotesque and ironic attitude. Némethâ€™s oeuvre was determined by a pursuit of traditional ways of expression and techniques, until, by a sudden twist, it was abruptly transformed into an adoption of new materials and methods. Ferenc Takácsâ€™ words pronounced seventeen years ago may well apply, in terms of both content and form, to the artistâ€™s contemporary works. Namely, in searching for motives to explain the changes of creative attitude, Takács had this to say: â€žGéza Némethâ€™s pictures meaningfully â€™hesitateâ€™ between representation and expression, between the visible reproduction of the outside world as perceived from an everyday perspective and the projection of an undefinable inside vision.â€ Examining these recent works, it may be said that the plane has remained unchanged, nor has the format altered much, whereas the square of past works has become elongated into a lying rectangle. Simultaneously, as a result of a synthesis of lessons drawn from previous artistic experience, essential events and important shifts have taken place.
This hesitation between representation and expression or, rather, the struggle between representation and artistic presentation is genuinely exhibited in the picture series entitled The Birth of the Past. While the observer can witness the conflict between â€žreproductive realityâ€ and â€želements of realityâ€ placed in autonomous visual contexts and equipped with self-contained expressive power, she may also perceive the togetherness of these opposing forces. On his computer, Géza Németh establishes new links between the details of photos (concrete and fixed shreds of memory) taken in Italy, New York, Transylvania and DunaÂkeszi before he turns the raw material thrust from the printer into their final and finite form by dint of manual interventions. Thus is the technique he applies modern and varied. Computer printed and manually handicrafted, these photo-pictures produce an imperceptible blend, showing details of the natural landscape and urban environment, mountains, rocks, craters, bays, riversides, bridges, pier, apartment houses, rows of garages and numerous unidentifiable elements. In oscillating between detachment and integration, mixing and displacement from their original surroundings, these compositions upset the usual order of things and the (make-believe) system of spaces and planes based on illusions of reality. The observer cannot or can hardly recognise, with growing suspicion, that the scale and size of reality have expanded or narrowed down in relation to conventional perspectives. These new artistic dimensions, which give rise to feelings of alienation, uncertainty and oddness, induce a strange atmosphere. Although the ensemble of peculiar landscapes dotted with buildings, of natural formations interspersed with artificial constructions consist of ordinary elements, it displays a world filled with tension and secrets. What makes this world, which on the surface is closely tied to reality, particularly mysterious is the lack of human beings; the only representative of the living world in this series is a seagull. This bird may have flown here from The Target, a composition from the series titled Imaginary Spaces, or perhaps it is a last specimen of the emblematic birds of Némethâ€™s earlier works.
We are confronted with desolate and lonely landscapes, imbued with hopelessness. They ruthlessly lead us to deja vu spots which suddenly prove to be unfamiliar. Even though these pictures evoke feelings of anguish and sorrow caused by idyllic sleaziness and a loss of ancient beauty, it would be a gross simplification to qualify the pieces in The Birth of the Past as evidence of hopeless resignation and then to search for the answers, serenely or in despair, to difficult questions. A contemporary Hungarian artist, Géza Németh, walks on untrodden paths, leading us into internal landscapes disguised as external, and in his world it is no use looking for whyâ€™s.
2006 Tibor Wehner