Eastern European Collectors
Knoll Galria Budapest


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Ákos Birkás: Loading the Space

Àkos Birkás: From the Series Krankenbilder, 2017, oil on canvas, 25x20,5 cm

Opening: 01. Febr. 2019, 7. p.m.

On view:

31. Jan.  - 23. March 2019.

In Ákos Birkás’ series ofDamaged image (The Totality and the Rest exhibition, 2016) abstract and realistic approaches appeared to be active as well as counteractive phenomena. Birkás during this exhibition articulated social tensions as well as confrontations between the individual and the social media. With his paintings, he reflected the complexity of these issues. In his portraiture he continued the ambivalence of incorporating abstract and realist figures. These portraits of Birkás cannot be interpreted as mere self-portraits but rather as risk-takings from the painter’s part. He identified with situations and created new positions such as his self-portrait in a cross-structure borrowed from Ilya Chashnik – a suprematist artist, pupil of Malevich – in which his facial expression “[is]provocative, overbold and tries to generate discussion”, wrote Birkás in his diary. This very portrait not just has a reflective nature on contemporary issues due to its connection to the radical spirituality and social utopia of the classic Russian avant-garde but also a memento of Birkás’ way of thinking: “I considered the self-portrait an icon, the tautological end point of portraiture.

His latest works follow this line of thought but due to the absent of time partially stopped or went to a different direction. Our aim with the current exhibition is to present these dynamics. The exhibited works are no more concerned whit the ambivalent nature of figural and abstract entities but rather try to be seen as a whole universe of constantly and mutually present, independent but omnipresent pictorial worlds.

According to his diary, Birkás set his sights on “loading the space” which served as a painterly task as well as a possible artistic position. Latter could be find in Boris Groys’ text when he made a comparison between contexts of the Russian avant-garde and the present days, something also mentioned by Birkás in his diary. Groys argues that avant-garde art is a factor of the democratization of society. He describes the process of avant-garde art, the process that was to distinguish empiricism from transcendence by a “weak, repeated transcendent artistic gesture” which opens up the public space of social media connections, a space in which Groys had a very keen interest and a space crucial for modern democratic processes. These agoras and their social-artistic impacts on Birkás made him to experiment with his artistic approaches.

His complex oeuvre will be maintained by the co-operation of the Ákos Birkás Artistic Foundation and the Knoll Gallery.


Text: Erzsébet Pilinger-Edit Sasvári - Translated by Márton Sóti

The exhibition was realized with the participation of Erzsébet Pilinger, Edit Sasvári, Renáta Szikra, Krisztina Szipőcs and Gábor Szolláth.





Supported by National Cultural Fund of Hungary