Hilda Mécses

Embers/ Personal structures

The exhibition Embers / Personal structure of Ágota Veres builds on two basic elements: colour and structure. Upon entering the exhibition room, the visitor will notice that Ágota Veres preferred three colours while preparing her works: on her paintings, red, green and blue prevail. Here and there you can see a burgundy hue, dark blue, or mellow ruddy glow.

It was Károly Pekár who posed the question in 1902: what is the role of colours in art? He answered the question with a single word: Everything. He believed that colour was the most important element of the painting and that lines and shapes play a secondary role. Colours create certain feelings in their viewers. This is because impressions created by colours are linked with our associations, and so colours are given meaning when we look at them. It is no coincidence that red is primarily associated with the image of embers, but it is also linked to the image of flame and that of blood. Red is one of the most vivid colours, it grabs your attention, catches your eye. We call it a warm colour, while the blue and the green used in the paintings belong to the group of cool colours. So the painter expresses emotion through colours, leaving behind the usual structure of a composition and the limitations of depiction; she is able to render mood and state of mind, doing so sometimes through just one single colour. In art, this phenomenon is called chromatic abstraction. These homogeneous coloured paintings encourage the viewer to reflect on the work, and, relying on the viewer’s feelings, to develop a kind of inner vision. The visual image unfolds in the human brain – and not on the canvas. These paintings remind you of the works of Yves Klein, which the artist himself described as spiritually rich „nothing”. In addition to blue and red, Klein used gold too. He used blue to depict water and air, red for fire, and He believed that colors had their own physical energy. He used various structures in his paintings, which he created using several different techniques. In the imagery of Ágota Veres too, structured surface is another important component. To see colors, you need light, and the surface structure also responds to light. Depending on how light falls on the picture, the color changes, making the surface darker or lighter. With this technique, various patterns can be applied to the picture’s surface. In fact, the picture is constantly changing depending on what kind of lighting it gets or from what angle we are viewing it. For instance, a tall person, compared to a small person, will get a different impression of the same picture. This suggests that the picture is not a single whole part, but something that is constantly being restructured, something that transforms all the time – in the eye of the viewer. These paintings are heavy and have a rough surface, they are tangible, but the underlying thought is not at all obvious, precisely because these paintings mean something different to each viewer – each painting creates a variety of associations in the viewers. It is up to us, whether the blue surface is interpreted as a heavy mass of water or as airy space.

Many question if a homogeneous coloured canvas can actually be considered as a piece of art. Since the output of the creative process is a painted surface, Yves Klein believed that it is painting. His artistic concept is about reducing the elements of classic painting and focusing merely on the impressions and feelings of the viewers. In other words, the artist offers an opportunity for the associations of the viewer to create the art work together with the artist.