Gaál József


“Do we really need a head sculpture completely riveted and tied together with leather straps, to make it like a man wounded in war? What is the point to silence the man with tubes, while his hollow eyes are staring into nowhere? We get to be confused of the awesome heads! Mistaken if we think that the function of the art is the soul-warming expression of the beauty and goodness?

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“The real question is: do we have to tell the truth? In a depressed, incommunicable, frustrated world, we feel bad if meeting with the ugly or frightening. We are afraid of what repels. Unable to word, we just feel it.”

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“Somebody told on a painting that it is too dark. When he realized that it effected to him because he lost somebody that time, and it reminded him to the emptiness, he reconciled to it, for it helped him to process his pain.” A socially sensitive artist is stretching a theme until a conflict of this type appears.

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“I had a teacher of literature, who always conflicted with me. He traced back everything to the Jacobin revolution. I argued in vain to the contrary, quoting excellent literary historians, it was just fuel to the fire. However, I became very fond of literature. I understood and I confess even now that the essence of any artwork is a discovery: it must contain at least one moment of a blissful certainty: it is good living in this world!”

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In the eighties he made graphics to poems. “ A holster is my lover, pistols are my children, blue smoke is their chant, be with us, Hubert the Saint ” – Sándor Weöres and Béla Pásztor wrote in the ‘Songs of the Clowns’. “We improvised quatrains, strangle and tangled verses, if one started, the other continued… Perhaps these were not poems but concerted plays” – Sándor Weöres wrote these dedication for the “Book of Moon”.

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Since then he deals with the fundamental problems of the life. The ‘Portraits Engraved ‘ is a series of pictures. Again and again, these woodcuts are being renewed in content. They start very simple, then the color prints coming from the blocks will get more and more layers of paint and time. He deals with the subconscious, calling ‘metaarchism’. It presents the man’s rustic beauty.

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Man has always lived together with the simple, the clown, the grotesque. Our ancestors expressed the goodness and the wickedness, the desire, the pleasure and the pain, using disfigured bodies. Nature served as example. The half-human, half-animal presentations were popular for these reasons. In our recent culture these ancient, very simple, ancient expressions started to extinct.

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“I met the wayang in Indonesia. In Javanese culture, these popular shadow performances, presented by wayang puppets of distinctive human characters, are not only for fun, but serve as moral lessons as well. How could we import to Europe these performances, what they present, understand and prefer in unchanged form for centuries in Asia.“

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“Following their traditions, I started to create something new in content. I intend it as a dialog with the Past, while what is Past in the West, it is living Present in the East. “

It is a very special experience to spend an afternoon with somebody who communicates with those living centuries, millennia before.

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Important awards:

Munkácsy-díj (1991)

Palladium-díj (2007)


Current exhibition:

„Tradition and transmission”

Address: Hopp Ferenc Kelet-ázsiai Művészeti Múzeum /East Asian Art Museum

Open: until 31-08-2014


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