The art of Emil Kazanlár is direly at variance with both Hungarian and Western European painting tradition and as such is a unique colour on the palette of Hungarian fine art with its blending of the most diverse cultures, religions and the tales of One Thousand and One Nights with ancient Hungarian mythology. Like in Persian and Islamic art in general, tradition is dominant in his art too along with the belief that ideas formed about the world can be much better expressed with visual symbols, i.e. the tools of visual language, than with words and linguistic concepts.
The Kazanlár Tarot series creates an entirely new context for the imagery of Tarot cards, typically known as cards used for divination and included in the realm of esotericism. Kazanlár, as a young man, discovered a kinship between the Persian studies in form, he mastered from the Iranian miniature painter Hossein Behzad, Manichaeist miniature painting, Sufism and the Tarot. He painted his cardinal series between 1988 and 1994, the 80-card Kazanlár Tarot deck, which was published in 1996 in Switzerland in book and card form too. The complete series was exhibited in Vienna and Switzerland on several occasions, but it was never displayed in Hungary before now.
Emil Kazanlár’s art and way of thinking exerted an influence upon 20th-century Hungarian art history. From 1963 Kazanlár worked in the State Puppet Theatre, which embraced the legacy of the European School. It was here that he met Lili Ország, of whom he was a student and fellow artist for eleven years. They co-created not only puppets and stage designs for numerous productions but also mutually inspired each other in their painting. The sacred nature of Persian miniature painting, which Kazanlár also represented, along with Arabic and Persian calligraphy as well as the Tarot and its kabbalistic aspects opened up a unique world for Lili Ország.
His exhibition at the Műcsarnok presents Emil Kazanlár’s large Tarot series, rich in symbols and intended as objects of meditation as well as his works in the genre of traditional Persian miniature painting.
Curator: Gréta GARAMI
Consultant : Szilvia Fatima KAZANLÁR