Exhibition opening: March 31, 6 to 8 pm.
The opening speech was held by art historian Jeff Taylor. The text can be read below.
Flow, 2009. Oil and acrylic on canvas, 100×200 cm
Just about exactly a hundred years ago, philosopher and aesthetic George Lukacs declared that the roads have departed, and the 20th century had launched itself on its endless nauseating cycle of technical experiment.
I was particularly pleased to speak about Csaba’s paintings because to me his work sits precisely at that moment before the roads have departed. When a painting could be simultaneously beautiful, innovative in technique, and meaningful – all in one.
We hung the monumental painting Rebecca on this wall because pedestrians can see it and stop to look at it, and we find pedestrians staring at it as if it’s a vaguely remembered, muddled archetype of all their conflicting cultural foundations. An Old Testament story, Rebecca, in fact, is about camels and a well, but the title is so very appropriate because the supernatural donkey embodies all of those fragmented epics that have stewed in our subconscious.
In the first room Csaba’s series new rules sets sports in alternative universes of oval ping-pong tables, putting green traps, and hula-hoop pole vaulters. But what remains the same in this universe, too, is the total existential concentration of the athletes. Everyone who has competed in sports knows, even if you’re only long-jumping over an orange, and when you’re in the midst of the competition, you’re only there and you’re only thinking of that. And these images are rooted there deep in the lonely, isolated mind of the competitor.
In the early 20th century, before Lukacs’s declaration, the prevailing trend in art was symbolism. And that is what Csaba’s work is to me. He is a symbolist of the 21st century. His works have meaning – not simple or trite meanings, but rather complex ones: ephemeral, and just beyond our grasp. And, like a good symbolist, as in the All the way home painting, Csaba shows that he’s a brave artist: he goes against all the tendencies of the 20th century and shows that he’s not afraid to make it beautiful.