Róbert Batykó

Image Trap

Venue: acb Gallery
Date: Mar 19 – Apr 19, 2024
Opening: Mar 14, 2024, 18:00–21:00

Róbert Batykó's (b. 1981) painting programme over the past twenty years represent a constant crossover between abstraction and figurative tendencies; his most recent work, produced during a six-month artist-in-residency in the Netherlands, is another significant milestone in this hybrid process. His new works continue the playful figurativity that characterises his paintings and mark a shift in his previously dominant post-digital painting programme.

As a defining element of Batykó's art, the latest series of paintings also reflects the hypnotic visual power of consumer culture. In doing so, they also refer back to the artist's earlier series of various packaging materials from 2015-2016, which has since become iconic. But they also evoke a series of paintings he painted (partly) during a previous stay in the Netherlands between 2010 and 2014, which address the problem of urban waste with more complex painterly qualities. However, self-reflexive, self-referential themes of art (paint masses coming out of tubes), social and existential motifs of burnout (burnt matchstick, fire, lava), metaphors of slowing down and surreal symbols of the unconscious (deep-sea creatures), or even references to the mechanical nature of industrial production (parts of various tools and machines) are also present in the paintings.

At the same time, in contrast to the "ghostly" expressivity that has recently become almost a trademark of Batykó's painting, a more purified pictorial world unfolds before us. However, the spectral layers have not disappeared but are part of a more complex pictorial logic composed of multiple qualities. One sign of this is that following the iconographic codes and metaphors of digital culture, the more sensual, material, meticulously layered qualities of painting are reinforced in the paintings. For example, large, continuous, planar color fields blend with the metallic shimmer of three-dimensional objects. The creation of these layers and references operate as "visual samplings" whereby the various motifs and references assembled into generous large-scale, airy compositions in the egalitarian medium of the image field. Traps of images that captivate the viewer while at the same time offering a dispersity of possible interpretations.

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