Péter Szalay

On the Surface

Venue: acb Attachment
Date: Jan 13 – Feb 24, 2017

Opening speech by Péter Szarka, visual artist

In his latest exhibition, Péter Szalay presents a complex installation which demonstrates the findings of his experiments with polygonal spatial abstraction. Mass produced, commonplace statuettes – painted porcelain figurines – serve as the starting point of his exploration, which he then turns into geometric abstract sculptures. He performs this transformation – without any manual intervention – in two ways: he either induces a chemical reaction to build a crystal structure on the surface of the statuette or digitally reduces the polygonal mesh of the scanned figurine and prints it in 3D. Both processes result in statuette-pairs with polygonal surface structures. The contrasting of these two types of abstract form systems addresses the issues of sculptural abstraction.

In the installation created by separating off part of the acb Attachment exhibition space, the green background behind the statuettes and their photos is a reference to green box technology. With this method, known from filmmaking and television productions, objects and human figures photographed in the “green box” are lifted from their actual physical surroundings and, with the help of digital montage technology, inserted into the desired environment. In the case of Szalay’s small sculptures, since they are robbed – even if only in the virtual sense – of their physical space, the emphasis shifts to the spatiality of these free-standing objects and, especially, their bordering surfaces. When Szalay amalgamates the scientific method of the formal analysis with the humorous distance arising from the themes of his objects, besides examining the formal issues of sculptural abstraction, he also takes an ironic commitment against those abstract sculptures, which, thanks to the current proliferation of the genre, are created solely on a formal basis.

Although Péter Szalay (1981) earned his degree in sculpture, he works with a diverse range of media, including object, installation, lightbox, performance, and video. His works often consist of functioning machinery, which he creates from simple materials and found objects, or their components. His art effectively combines the DIY/tinker aesthetic known from Eastern-European conceptual and neo-conceptual art with the latest achievements in technology.

In Szalay’s works, which are essentially intellectual in nature, the meaning-creating function of objectual realization (operation, use of materials) – which comprises an important dimension when it comes to their interpretation – is always accentuated. The thematics of his works are incredibly varied, ranging from wonderment at the metaphysical aspects of simple physical occurrences to reflections on present day social, cultural and art-related phenomena. His critical attitude is also revealed by the often ironic undertones of his work, which take the form of either visual playfulness and gags or plays on words.   



Rendering: Ferenc Szakács

3D printing: Basiliskus

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