On January 22, 2022, the exhibition can only be visited by participants of the related program between 3 pm and 4 pm!
One of the most distinctive abstract motifs of the genre-diverse art of Márton Barabás (1952) is music and concepts related to musicality, such as repetition and the relationship between the parts and the whole. Another is a specific motif symbolising the embodiment of music, namely the piano (and other instruments and music-related items), which has a central role in his work, as an organising element, throughout all his creative periods.
Barabás’s artistic career started after his college years, in the 1970s. His controversial early works show that his attention was already focused on the past, the recycling and recontextualization of cultural artefacts that had “passed their expiry date”, which he renders with a sensitive painterliness at times, with the meticulous consistency of a taxidermist at others, and sometimes in a rush of playfulness and humour. His art in the first half of the 1980s was dominated by photorealism and a departure from the conventional picture space; then, in the second half of the decade his works were given over to the “subjective historicism” of the new painting movement. In the 1990s he moved towards a puritanical language of form and a constructive technique: it was through the objects, space-lines and the installation genre that he finally returned to painting at the end of the 1990s. From the start of his career to the present day, he has taken the view that his works are not just self-contained, stand-alone pieces but they are also intended occasionally (at exhibitions) to be parts of a larger installation, complemented by their peers and creating a context for the other objects in the Barabás universe: piano spirals with Space-Lines, paintings with sculptures, objects with book items, including items from different periods in his oeuvre.
It is not only the visual diversity that makes mapping out the four and a half decades of Márton Barabás’s oeuvre such an exciting task, but also the fact that the oeuvre pulses in time with the important questions, problems and dilemmas of art in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as in the post-millennial period. This retrospective oeuvre exhibition in Kunsthalle Budapest could be seen as an experiment in reconstruction. The loosely chronological ensembles of works aim to show the outlines of the interrelationships, motif shifts and symbolism of the artist’s different creative periods.
Curator: Noémi Szabó