Imre Bak

Situations. Works 2004–2022

Venue: Vaszary Gallery
Date: Jan 22 – May 01, 2023
Opening: Jan 22, 2023, 16:00

Imre Bak was one of the most significant artists of the Hungarian Neo-Avant-Garde. His œuvre was defined, almost from the outset, by geometric imagery constructed on the foundation of Hard-edge painting. Step by step, Bak reframed and reinterpreted his painting practice, which unfolded as a coherent train of thought in the context of Post-painterly abstraction in the 1960s, Conceptual art in the 1970s and later a postmodernist attitude to images. After the 2000s, Bak’s geometric painting practice became increasingly influenced by impulses ranging from digital visuality to post-medial imagery. For the first time, the exhibition at Vaszary Gallery looks at Imre Bak’s body of work created between 2004 and 2022, showcasing the evolution of the artist’s œuvre. Each section focuses on the œuvre’s main group of works created after 2004, revealing how Geometric Abstraction and the semantic play on figurative associations kept resurfacing in Bak’s work. Furthermore, the exhibition explores how the latest pieces are characterised by the duality of Hard-edge painting and digital allusions, the sensual vibrancy of metaphysical spaces, and how Bak continued to rethink the various traditions of (geometric) painting and his own set of motifs.

 In recent years, Imre Bak’s work has attracted considerable international attention: his paintings have lately been acquired by the collections of the Tate in London and the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and has been the subject of essential overviews such as István Hajdu’s monograph in 2003 and the exhibition Timely Timelessness. Layers of an Œuvre at Art Gallery Paks in 2016. However – since the publication of the 2003 monograph – no overview of the œuvre’s latest epochs has been published. With the exhibition at Balatonfüred, we aim to address this omission. The exhibition’s title evokes the enigmatic title of an image often cited by the artist in recent years. It refers to the situation of forms, the new constellations that emerge in the (re)development of the œuvre, and the existential situations that motivated change.

The exhibition was created in close collaboration with Imre Bak, and is the last exhibition in which the artist was personally involved.

Dávid Fehér

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