18. 06. 2021. – 03. 07. 2021
IKON Exhibition Space, Vajda Museum
17 June 2021, 18:00
László Balogh’s career as a visual artist began in the ’60s in his hometown, Szentendre. The foundations of his artistic vision were shaped primarily by the influence of Jenő Barcsay, who was his paternal friend, as well as such Szentendre-based artists as Antal Deli, Lajos Vajda, and János Kmetty. His travels further broadened his horizons as well. In spite of his sensitive, poetic disposition, Balogh’s works consist of disciplined, sternly built constructs. The pervasive spirituality of the Trecento – one of the examples he takes from art history – is, to him, just as important as the subversive theory of French cubism, Giorgio Morandi’s solitary magic realism or Henry Moore’s modern, sculptural reticence. His outlook was moulded not only by his predecessors, but also by contemporary daily discourse – primarily with Pál Deim. During his early period in the ’60s, he, in effect, mapped out the town in which he still lives today (Houses on the Waterfront, Rab Ráby House, Towers, etc.). By the ‘70s and ’80s, Balogh’s stable visual abstraction had become reduced to a coordinated use of geometric and organic motifs; he sought eternity even in the mundane (Figures, Firewalls, Architecture). While, in his present-day constructive – but also strongly emotional and spontaneous – artistic approach, he still allows room for earlier archaic and “lyrical” (even folk art-inspired) forms, his paintings are now without any recognisable elements of reality. His compositions are grounded in clear visual logic, a dynamic-static relationship between components, as well the intense power of colours with all their contrasts and harmonies. Of the numerous milestones marking his oeuvre, it was perhaps his exhibitions held in Germany that revealed how Balogh and his brand of restoring order were equally at home on the international scene as well. The articles that were published in Germany in 1995 highlighted his unique and sensuous constructive approach, which could, indeed, have never come to be without Szentendre and Jenő Barcsay, but is, nevertheless, European.
László Balogh’s works presented in the IKON Exhibition Space plot the course of the artist’s oeuvre. A significant portion of his emblematic, epoch-marking paintings on display are taken from the collection of the Ferenczy Museum, while the fresh works that are presented come from the artist’s studio. As Lajos Németh (1929 – 1991) – art historian, renowned teacher, professor, and museum curator – put it at an exhibition opening: “László Balogh is a Szentendre painter not only because he was born there, but also because he embodies the spirit of the town. (…) As demonstrated by his compositional intention and visual logic, he communicates through this visual language, which has become very much his own, in an increasingly sovereign manner. He has talent for synthesising constructivity and decorativity. László Balogh is more than a mere master of painting; he seeks to propagate the values of genius loci. This was what Barcsay’s legacy and the spirit of Szentendre taught him. He has taken on a formidable tradition and he is a worthy carrier of its torch.” (Quoted in: Balogh László retrospektív kiállítása [László Balogh’s Retrospective Exhibition]. Catalogue. Edited by: László Balogh. Curator: Dr. Katalin Török. Interview: Andrea Verba. Szentendre, PMMI, 2010.