Éva Köves 2007-2008

Krisztina Passuth’s opening speech for Éva Köves’s 2007-2008 Exhibition

It is a great pleasure for me to open Éva Köves’s exhibition.

I have been closely following her artistic journey for a couple of decades to see how her motifs, painting technique, and after all, her vision and attitude are being transformed.

It is interesting to see how she absorbed another exciting and dynamic approach after her large scale painting installations exhibited at the Venice Biennale.

What we see here now features no figures, but inorganic, dead elements and structures built from stone, supposed to be cities.

More precisely, three cities: Budapest; a single aspect of Paris, more specifically the Eiffel Tower, well-known to everybody from postcards; and finally a deep and truly genuine understanding of Moscow.

The three cities reveal three different colour schemes. A unique grisaille of Budapest, using monochromatic shades; a similarly black and white Eiffel Tower; and a trichromatic Moscow, in black and white, shades of blue, and red, inherent to the city.

The three colour patterns and the three cities are displayed in a sort of reduced, concentrated way to avoid panorama views and wider horizons. Instead, the artist focuses on one element to build on and multiply, and to create installations I would call a polyptichon as they are composed of several panel paintings.

It is very exciting to see how Éva Köves perceives a city or a given building. It is definitely not the usual aspect she grasps, not even in Eiffel Tower, but a more appealing sight, something that seizes and attracts the viewer’s eye inwards when they wander around a strange city.

For example, the humble foils in the Budapest sequence that cover and hide a renovated building to make the observer curious about what is hidden behind.

Her works are exciting attempts to reveal what is behind the surface, walls and scenes, and to find a way to get behind bricked-up windows, strange walled-up structures and entrances.

Köves uses a unique, truly genuine new technique involving two photographs as the foundation of the artwork. She pastes up her own photographs to paint on to create a piece composed of a unique blend of photographic images and paint surface. The concept is neither preliminarily planned nor drafted beforehand. Instead, she creates a peculiar texture on the surface on the spot during the painting process.

Interestingly, she was able to select such fragments from the three cities, especially Moscow, which are characteristic to the given city so that we can easily recognise where we are even if they are not emblematic objects, but hidden details perfectly integrated to form a decorative, stately surface. As a consequence, the installation includes somewhat constructivist quadrangles, but these quadrangles are also decorated with a frame.

The unique relation of the frame and what is inside the frame is a specific problem for the artist. What is just a frame in one work of art becomes the main theme in the next one, with no sharp censorship between the two. The frame becomes a piece of art, and vice versa.

Köves uses a unique approach and perspective to flash these cityscapes while preserving their distinctive characteristics to convey the evident city impression.

All the compositions convey the sense of emptiness without the presence or any traces of human figures in the images. As if they were uninhabited buildings or desolate places.

The pictures are not disconcerting or repulsive, but we somehow feel a touch of emptiness. We miss some life or vividness from them. Nevertheless, the pictures possess a striking dynamism.

The exhibition is an important milestone in Köves's artistic journey. As opposed to her earlier works in the Budapest Gallery showcasing only figures and portraits, Virág Judit Gallery now invites you to enjoy another perspective of the same thematic approach. We are very curious to see her next subject matter and we will make sure to follow up the result.

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