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Interview with Zoltán Fodor-Lengyel, an Outstanding Representative of Hungarian Contemporary Art

Eleonora Horvath 2024.05.27.
The artist at the Friends of Hungary Conference

The Friends of Hungary Foundation, publisher of our newsportal and sister site Ungarn Heute, held its annual conference in May and awarded the Friends of Hungary Award for the seventh time. The award is a prestigious recognition of the outstanding work of selected individuals and organizations active in the greater Hungarian community. The recipients have invested significant time and energy in improving Hungary’s international image, contributing to Hungarian culture, strengthening Hungarian diaspora communities, and improving Hungary’s relations with the diaspora. This year’s recipients include artist Zoltán Fodor-Lengyel.

Zoltán Fodor-Lengyel is a painter, graphic artist, and sculptor. He began his schooling in Budapest, then continued his studies in Paris at the Sorbonne University, where he studied graphic design. In Hungary, he also studied history at Eötvös Loránd University. He opened his first exhibition in the French capital at the age of 20. So far, he has had nearly 200 solo exhibitions in several countries around the world.

Fodor-Lengyel currently lives and works in Madrid and runs the contemporary Spanish-Hungarian foundation he created, Fundación Apoyo el Arte. He is a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Cádiz and the Hungarian Academy of Arts. He has given master classes at European, American, and Chinese universities.

His works can be seen on the walls of national and international institutions and museums, such as the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest, the Hungarian National Gallery, and can also be admired in public spaces. The Board of Trustees awarded him the Friends of Hungary Award in recognition of his decades of steadfast artistic work and his contribution to Hungarian culture. As one of his supporters put it, “there is no better ambassador of Hungarian culture and art.”

How did you get involved with the Friends of Hungary Foundation? What does this award mean to you?

In 2015, I was elected as a member of the Foundation on the recommendation of Ambassador Enikő Győri of the Embassy of Hungary in Madrid.

The award is a great honor for me. It expresses the appreciation of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees for my more than 40 years of artistic and other social work,

always representing Hungary’s values, culture, history and present.

You currently live in the Spanish capital. How did you end up in Spain and why did you settle there?

I first came to Madrid as a child, during a diplomatic posting of my foster father. Then, at the age of 20, the first steps in my studies and artistic career took me to Paris, but I ended up back in Madrid in the late 1980s because of my Spanish wife.

Photo: Fodor-Lengyel Zoltán

You also visit China frequently. What opportunities do you see there for the dissemination of Hungarian culture?

In the last few decades, China has become the world’s leading economic power. For some years now, it has been using its wealth to promote culture. It is also extremely open and receptive to European culture. They are curious about what I, as a European artist and professor, can show them.

I have exhibitions and lectures there and we will soon be able to open a Hungarian cultural institute in one of the big cities.

What is the purpose of your contemporary Spanish-Hungarian foundation, Fundación Apoyo el Arte?

I created the foundation in 2006, to represent contemporary art. We organize exhibitions, forums, lectures, publications, and work with the embassy. All this for the benefit of Hungarian and Spanish contemporary artists, to give them the opportunity to get closer to the receptive public.

President Sulyok Welcomes Guests from the Friends of Hungary Foundation
President Sulyok Welcomes Guests from the Friends of Hungary Foundation

Hungarians from around the world are guests of honor at the Presidential residence, Sándor Palace.Continue reading

You are a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Cádiz. How do you see your role as the only member of the Spanish Academy of Fine Arts of Hungarian origin?

In 2006, I had the honor of being elected an academician. I was quite young. As a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Cádiz, my role is to represent the values of the centuries-old Academy in the world, to establish contacts with other institutions and to carry out the daily programs and tasks of the Academy.

Photo:Fodor-Lengyel Zoltán

What are you working on now? What are your tasks in the coming weeks? Is there any online platform where your work can be seen by our readers?

I am busy with big projects at the moment. I am currently working on a four-meter bronze statue of the eponymous bishop of the town of Szentgotthárd (western Hungary),

preparing exhibitions of my life’s work in several cities, and painting five large-scale paintings for my exhibition in China, opening in the fall.

I am never bored. My website www.zoltanfl.com shows over 40 years of my work.”

10th Friends of Hungary Foundation Conference Opens its Doors
10th Friends of Hungary Foundation Conference Opens its Doors

The Conference was opened by Professor E Sylvester ViziContinue reading

Featured photo: Hungary Today

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