Speach held in Simonffy Gallery on 18th March 2011
Hard times are behind us, awkward, grey periods, when we thought that politics and economy were not for our benefit. We haven’t felt this world being the best out of the existing worlds – though at least this is what we would deserve. Reading the papers, browsing through and listening to/watching the news our moods often went blue. Everything appeared to be grey, dark, dreadful, hopeless, sad, like an autumn puddle with an oil stain.
Though we must live. We all know that. Life is good. World is as it is: this is our time, we are at home in the world here and now, we have to keep going somehow now. Sky is not always grey and grass is not always dirty yellow. Dust from the pavement is blown away by the wind, night is flooded by dawn, and in the light of dawn the shapes and colours become visible that help us comprehend reality undulating around us. The present that gives place and meaning for many things. For us too, our plans, hopes and desires – for everything useful, and for things that cannot be stuffed into the prison of statistics, percents, numbers and profits. Such a thing is art. It doesn’t matter what is the sky like above Berlin, Budapest or Debrecen, there are those who are able to use their natural born and worked for talent for such a noble aim that builds the spirituality of all mankind. And please allow me to stop here, because art is not just a collection of big words and deep or seemingly deep thoughts. It is not just a privilege of a very few people, not something hardly understandable, not a weight heavily distant from everyday, that one has to wrestle and fight with. Of course one needs to fight, but joy needs to be mentioned as well. Art must be a source of joy. And not only for the one who creates it, but also for the one standing on the other side, listens to the music, watches the theatre performance, reads the text of a poem or prose, watches the film, or wonders about a photo, drawing or painting. This source of joy was handed quite ambivalently throughout the previous centuries and decades; from time to time art ceased being a bridge between human and human, other times it became immensely liquid, like a coffee, that has hot water, perhaps maybe sugar and milk too, but the essence, the roasted black coffee has been left out of it, so even if it was sweet, it was too sweet, not fitting its original mission, and eventually the customer received an undrinkable slipslop, and it doesn’t matter into what a fine cup this abomination was poured into, and what big words have been used when they tried to pour it down our throats.
But life wants to live, and art wants to exist and serve. Fine art today is not like it was a thousand, five hundred or thirty years ago. And that is fine. Other art sectors are also not the same as they were once. Michelangelo and Bach, Botticelli and Mozart are geniuses, but if someone today would try to reach the same achievement with the same technique and the same themes, he would become alienated from this era we exist in and also would become meaningless.
But the source remains and it is good if the source is clear. But our self-comprehension cannot be reached with simple copying and also cannot be built on simple denial, in order to offer something else, just because what exists, it exists already and now we want to do anything just not something that already has existed before.
Tamás Potyók seems a good choice here in this exhibition space. Wherever he departed from, wherever he is headed, the place where he stands now is a good place, good direction and good path. Past, present and future appear in eligible proportions in his works of art. He is aware of the importance of tradition. But he doesn’t want to pretend anachronistically as if the calendar wouldn’t show 2011 today. He knows what happened in the past centuries, but now he lives here, and he is at home in the world now. I mentioned composers loved and admired by me. Mozart and Bach are actual today as well. But we also listen to other kind of music in the present. We don’t live the era of baroque or renaissance today. There is pop music today, and it has different genres, colours and moods. Wherever this artist has departed from, he is in our present day, and thus he can be related to pop music even. He sends a message about and he paints it with a sure technical knowledge and through attractive ideas what is our life. And he paints it like it is. He has pictures about joy and about our weird, hardly understandable moods. On his pictures there we are, like we are in the reality.
Colourful or trendy or bored at the moment. We are waiting for a bus, watching the approaching tram, daydreaming, would like to stay forever in the unforgettable moment of the Transylvanian landscape or the labyrinth of the streets of Rome, rush in front of the Csonka Temple, wonder about the fountain, watch the dusk. Or if we like, because we are in the mood, we can recognize the creatures of the myths in the animal figures, or the eternal woman in the nudes. These pictures include in their many details all that is important for the people in their twenties, thirties or forties. There is our life. There are our love, sadness and possibilities. This world that meanwhile has stepped on another level because thirty years ago, when we were children, there was no internet, we couldn’t write a letter to each other without a post stamp, we couldn’t call each other just like that, anytime and from anywhere. If I would have wanted then to take a look at Tamás Potyók’s paintings in advance without stepping out of my home, that wouldn’t have been as simple as it is now when I turn on a PC and type his name into the searching program, and watch the fantastic colours flooding towards me with the help of the monitor.
Yes this world is like that too. This artist sends us, his coevals a message about this age, and for those who once will come after us and try to find themselves in that world, and in their heads will echo as well that life is good after all, and it would be better to feel at home in that world and that time, which they were allowed to possess because of the kindness of destiny in their one and only, unrepeatable and therefore more important and more beautiful than anything life. I don’t know what music will be around then, what new genres of art will enrich the world, at what stage will science be then which has an explosive effect on today and shapes tomorrow. But I have a feeling that among the pictures that can be seen here today there will be some that perfectly replicate that era where we the predecessors of our successors were at home: we listened to music, drank wine, boiled spaghetti, bought bus season ticket, turned book pages, got on the tram, loved, laughed, cried, remembered and daydreamed.