From Thursday, the Hungarian National Gallery will pay tribute to Ilona Keserü, one of the most renowned figures of contemporary Hungarian art, with an exhibition of her graphic art entitled Önerejű képek(Self-Powered Works).
The exhibition, on view in the Gallery’s Graphic Cabinet, provides a retrospective overview of a less “showcased” aspect of Ilona Keserü’s work, her graphic oeuvre, the director general of the Museum of Fine Arts – Hungarian National Gallery, László Baán, said at the opening of the exhibition on Thursday.
The occasion of the exhibition is the 90th anniversary of the artist’s birth, and the exhibition opens on her birthday.
“Few contemporary artists are able to incorporate the past into their art as she does, without quotation marks, making it an integral part of a truly contemporary oeuvre,” said Baán.
Orsolya Hessky, head of the Gallery’s Graphic Art Collection, said that the exhibition, created in collaboration with the artist, presents several works that are being shown for the first time. The exhibition, selecting the nodal points in her graphic work, leads from her early figurative drawings that observe and capture the world and the environment, to her intuitive color and sign painting that expresses inner feelings, Orsolya Hessky said.
In the figurative drawings of the beginning of her career, the evolution of her lines can be traced, from the years of study with Ferenc Martyn, through her summer impressions in Bulgaria, to his first experiences in Italy. Then, steps in the direction of abstraction appear, the tombstone motif emerges and becomes incorporated into her works, and finally the results of her subsequent experiments with color can be seen, ending with her most recent concepts, Hessky explained.
The work of Ilona Keserü is recognized and appreciated not only in Hungary but also internationally, and her artistic greatness is undoubted after her numerous exhibitions abroad in recent years.
The exhibition at the Hungarian National Gallery presents Ilona Keserü’s less discussed graphic work spanning seven decades, with iconic pieces made using methods of printmaking and a unique drawing technique, such as her early studies, her ink drawings made abroad, her works with tombstone motif in Balatonudvar from the late sixties, her so-called afterimages from the eighties and nineties, or her Being-Color Leaps from the present.
The exhibition, curated by Krisztina Csizmadia, will show 64 works selected from the artist’s Budapest studio from Thursday to January 28, 2024.