Ef Zámbó István


In my childhood the reality was so important to me, that I had a diary, and I tried to illustrate my adventures as climbing down to cellars, investigating cock-lofts, swarming up to cliffs, crossing rivers. Maybe this was the first step to my artistic career.                                                                                                                                                .

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Having been a teenager, I was impressed by the interiors, decorations, icon paintings of the Szentendre churches, so I made antiquity-looking objects.

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Although I never wanted to be a painter, later, having met the history of the ‘modern’ painting, I started to paint using the styles of my preferred grandmasters (Monet, van Gogh, Paul Klee, René Magritte, Dali, Marcel Duchamp, Lajos Vajda). I created ‘Edwinist’ pictures (Edwinism: wind-blown flag when the wind is not blowing). I met László feLugossy, who was thinking about the things just as me, turning into my creative partner for many years.

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In 1968 we jointly displayed our pictures on the wall of the castle hill, Szentendre. We created the first outdoor exhibition, repeating the event on the first October Sunday of each year for ten years. This event attracted there many self-taught artists (painters, sculptors, musicians, writers and poets), some of them moved to Szentendre. As a result, the Lajos Vajda Studio was established there later.

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In the summer of 1969 I organized a performance-type show named ‘Nalaya Happening’ to commemorate the ‘entering of an idea to the lock-hospital’. The ‘idea’ was feLugossy, who escaped from the compulsory military service using the method of beer and sedatives. I, as a young Dadaist that time, reckoned all of my acts and gestures to a work of art, so it was matter-of-course on my part to respond to this case as well.


The proposed twenty-minute presentation returned to a police action, ended in a six-month remandment. The totally innocent performance, born in the spirit of the Dadaism, was transformed into a ‘premeditated vandalism in group’, thanks to the nightmarish schizophrenia of the given historical era (1970). Of the participants ten were sentenced.

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This event made domestic sensation, even the foreign press dealt with it. We became a political issue, involuntary resilients. We realized that there is a cultural politics. So far, I did not even think to ask permission from anyone for anything. We were informed that this is impossible. We need to notify all of our plans, and they will help us. And so it happened. The Institute of Public Culture considered our open-air exhibitions, our meetings received rooms. The Lajos Vajda Studio was established in this way at the most beautiful cross-vaulted cellar of Szentendre, active even now.

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We organized there more than 500 exhibits in the past 40 years. At the seventies, it served as venue for uncountable avant-garde events. The intuitive-associative-improvisative noise ballets of voice therapy were developed there. Our Bizottság (‘Committee’) band played there many times, and it was the well-known hangout in promoting the performance style. This cellar serves as workshop at times, too. The resin sculptures at the post office were made here in part. Several times I had individual exhibitions in this legendary place.

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With my pictures and statues I want to awake in the viewer the thoughts, what even myself do not think. This features my symbolist-surreal works. Motifs are ringed in endless variations. Sometimes I feel like to paint one picture along my whole life. I like merging the antipodes, placing them side-by-side. For me, a timber-saw lying at a watering can is a jinx, while a hole in a coffin is an optimistic action.

13/8/2013 Szentendre



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