Tothems Toth Gyula

toth_gyula-1-274x412In 1976 I was called up to the Taszár base. I suffered a year in the barracks, but there was the football. One day I broke my leg while playing. The commander saw me limping at the end of the line, so he transferred me to the Balatonkiliti Airstrip as radio operator. We were three there, no any airplane.The other two studied for archeology, they dug all days. The real archeologists were annoyed, for they were not allowed to enter heavily guarded military zone. As for me, I drew and painted. I got a nice year.


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My father was painter and sculptor. I learned everything by watching him. I also wanted to be a painter, but I did not learn well enough, so I could not enter to the Art College. What is more, I was from the baby boom, so we were too many

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I liked and imitated the painting of Ignác Kokas, and the surrealism of Dalí and Max Ernst. Wanting something big, I painted a five-meter canvas. I felt this was not enough for me. I wanted to step into the three-dimensional space. In 1984 I found an abandoned quarry in the Balaton Highlands, near Diszel. I made a scaffolding the curved concrete wall of a silo, and among the trees the five-meter draft was spread. This was the ‘Visions’. This completed my surrealist era. In 1987 I went to France.

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Paris opened the world of hundred variations for me. I had no special ambitions; I wanted to paint. I travelled a lot. Even now I prefer to live in Bretagne at the seashore. But, I had to live on something; I produced floral still life paintings of Dutch style for a landscape trader. He suddenly disappeared, surely finding a cheaper source of supply in China.

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Living abroad, I realized that French people are the same as others. The Hungarians have more vitality.

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In France, finally, I got powder tempera paint, while only ArtFund members got this at home. I prepare myself my tempera after the recipe of grand old painters. Using this, it is more pleasant than oil. The tempera produces as clear colors as water, I can paint multiple layers, and it is deletable.

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What do I paint? I make fictious prints on the memory of Earth. Signs, drawings, what the caveman scribbled. What will remain after us? Traces and bones, after the excavation. My figures are etched into the still plastic, rude cement surface. The sign of totem, what I use on pictures and sculptures, evolved slowly. This is my logo, my totem.

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I paint on plywood. Two meters long, just to pass through the door. My statues are made of concrete, but dismountable. Transportability is a must, I lived in the 4th floor in Paris, and now in Budapest as well, without elevator.

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In 2007 I moved back, bringing home my pictures and sculptures. I had a great exhibition in the B55 Gallery. By a friend of mine, I got in touch with a Frenchman, who purchased almost everything. So many objects of mine returned to France. These wanted to live in France, where were born. Interesting. “A work of art must have its way and fate!”

25/2/2012 Budapest



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