Why do painters paint? (by József Gaál)

Why do painters paint?

Painting has been buried and resurrected right on many times. If subjective poets exist, so do subjective painters disregarding the whimsicalities of different theories and spending their everyday lives with pure painting. Kata Könyv is one of these „God given” painters concentrating on expression and visual contents without ever questioning her art’s reason of existence. This certainly does not result in the loss of steady search and scepticism constantly actuating her while asking questions on the basics of our existence, all this on the tongue of painting art. At the time, when everything seems to be substitutable, and originality in art drowns in the breed of simulakrums, first hand sensual experience, the unique, unrepeatable gestures, the impregnation of the materials with emotions, the metamorphosis of paint on fabric gains more and more importance. There are plenty kinds of so-called quasi- or pseudo arts imitating mechanicism and digital pictures which have subjugated themselves to the technologies of virtual realities and theories erupting from them.
Kata Könyv sets up her art from the synthesis of corpulent, almost sculpturesquely shapen dynamic brushstrokes renewing traditions, maintaining the respectabilities. In this manner she follows the heritage of European painting arts from Franz Hals to Lucien Freud, the names outlining the idea of pictorial realism. Taking down reality is cohesion of the artist’s movements, the depicted shape, the treatment of material and the colour-effects. We can call this one kind of materialistic art, hence the contrast between the material of paint and the depicted illusion creates tension by somatic impacts and stimuli of touch.
All this is enhanced by Kata Könyv’s unique symbol creating system which likewise builds tension by its dualism. One pole is the unverbalisable objective metaphor; the other is the overly particular, provocative actualism clearly showing a social criticism. There are barely any artworks in our current fine art that would react directly to social and political problems. Most of the reflections neutralize the problem through manifold filtered, distanced conceptual chilliness or sociologizing scientification rather than assuming the revelation of a clearly stated moral content. Kata Könyv’s honest attitude faces us from the humane, impartial point of view with reality. She unshells an episode from an actuality and turns it into symbols. In her still lives she focuses on the controversies of social existence, its unsolvable problems by the tension and fathomlessness of surreal subject-combinations. All this is exaggerated by the overtones of everyday banalities, because the unreal co-presence of everyday items does not seem to be set up, rather looks like a short glimpse onto a kitchen table in a country house. It is „Roastrealism” and hidden and abstract symbolism at the same time.
These are a few sentences I would characterize Kata Könyv’s evolving pictorial art with. My posing cannot be considered final since the young artist uses in her multidirectional search and her numerous solutions a language of shapes that is more and more complex and due to her efforts for synthesis, increasingly compressed.
This initial lifework is already definable and can be split into cycles due to its power of expression. With a careful look into the future I prompt that the painter-chronicler of the future has already found the foundations for the establishment of timeless symbols by depicting our present times.

József Gaál
Head of Painting Department
Hungarian University of Fine Arts

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