Half Storyteller, Half Deconstructionist: An Interview with Budapest's Ákos Ezer
There is something about Ákos Ezer's paintings that kept us going back to his Instagram account and checking his new works as he was painting and sharing. The idea of constructing an image by filling it up with an impossible human figure feels like something very light-hearted, but in combination with his painterly approach, brush strokes rich and textures heavy, as well as a particular color palette that accents the impossibility of depicted image, his paintings earn much more consequential sensibility.
We were wondering about the background of such conspicuous and consistent approach, so we've reached out to the Hungarian painter and talked a bit about his work, background, and his broken characters.
Sasha Bogojev: Please tell us a bit about your background and how did you end up becoming an artists/painter?
Ákos Ezer: In my childhood painting was not so important to me, but I always made a lot of other creative things. Origami airplanes, pottery, pencil drawings, caricatures, plasticine figures. Painting with cheap brushes, and school watercolor sets were not accurate enough for me. I tried the painting in my high school after a couple of years again, and it was the beginning of my long term discovery. I decided to try to apply at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts, and I succeeded from the first try. There I learned a lot about art history, technical and theoretical background of the painting, and also about myself.
Do you see yourself as a painter or do you prefer another “title”?
I see myself as a painter. I mainly work with oil on canvas and don’t use other mediums in my artistic work.
How would you describe your style of work?
I am a figural painter, but not the classical way. I use lots of abstract elements in my paintings, and I use the figural parts like wood planks, leaves, floor, patterns of the wallpapers or tapestries and clothing as an abstract surface. Every assigned unit is subordinated to the imaging system, so I try to search, discover and use inherent order of the painting process. I am a half storyteller and a half deconstructionist.
Is there a certain theme your work revolves around?
They are things I am personally interested and thinking a lot about. They can be simple thoughts, mainly people-oriented everyday themes as I'm interested the human beings, their motivation, and success, or adversity of the individuals. I'm constantly searching the humorous, (self)-ironical part of the life. I'm also interested in everyday people's everyday problems, the banal situations in their lives, the clumsiness, awkwardness, uncomfortable situations, and failure also. Or even the moments when they not doing’ anything important.
Where is this interest for breaking of figures or impossible postures coming from?
I started my figural paintings with “ anatomically correct” proportions. They changed automatically during the process. Those postures helped me represent the human figure more as the part or “component” of the painting. They quickly started to adjust to the dimensions of the canvas, and they became, even more, the part of the composition. So they can use the space of the canvas more than before. I have also more freedom in the painting method, and if I compose the figural elements I can fold them and their body parts in any directions.
What inspires your images and do you use any references for your work?
At first, I used a lot of found or self-photographed images. The use of photos has simplified the work, but I wasn’t free. Nowadays I don’t use any pictorial references. The painting for me is an association-like process. When I paint something on the canvas, it can be geometrical patterns of the background or simple random brushstrokes, they're painted with natural colors. These first steps generate the atmosphere of the work. That can be the starting point or a visual plotting board. After that I can start to paint my figures, elements of the environment, and synchronize them with each other, balancing the colors weights and textures. The goal is to reach a visually integrated, but somehow weird and interesting painting.
What type of art do you like and what are some of your fav artists?
Of course, I'm looking at the work of other painters the most. I like classical art, mainly Flemish artist and some of the modern masters also. I like lots of artists, but the four favorites can be Pieter Bruegel, Max Beckmann, Ronald B Kitaj, and Georg Baselitz. I follow lots of contemporary artists too, and I appreciate those works also, but I need to keep a distance from them, and can not pick favorites.
Where can people see your work in the flesh and do you have any shows coming up?
If you're in Budapest, you can visit the Art + Text Gallery in downtown. There you can find a selection of my artworks. They show my artworks at international art fairs such as Art Berlin Contemporary or Viennacontemporary. My next solo show will open on May 4th, at the Künstlerhaus Halle für Kunst & Medien in Graz, Austria. This will be my first institutional solo exhibition and I am really excited about that. The title will be Ábstract Hungary, and this will be part of the program of the Künstlerhaus, which thematize the types and new movements of the Hungarian abstract art. Sandro Droschl the curator of the show planning to exhibit the recent works of mine, including the so-called “heads” and "falling people" works.
Stay tuned for updates about Abstract Hungary in the coming months.