Once upon a time, there were Primeval and Chaos. It was cold in the world, in the artist’s studio, on the path leading there, and at the bottom of the woods. Then Primeval and Chaos came upon a garden and asked Mother to arrange it for her son born during the war to attend an art school instead of the military, so that he could later cultivate the garden. The child would have done this anyway, without being asked.
In Pázmándi’s oeuvre there are no less prolific periods: for him the creative process is unbroken, like the passing of time, with which he lives in a symbiosis and which we can only hope to stop when dreaming, in special moments of joy and peace, when playing or – to borrow a trending phrase – in a state of flow, when drawing, seesawing or playing with LEGO. In such privileged moments we can, again and again, experience infinity that is at once false and real. When creating his works Pázmándi continuously experiences flow.
Different periods – abstract, figurative, pop arty, architectonic, decorative, using graphic art and stickers or alien materials – follow one other in his oeuvre, overlapping and often melded together. The essence of his art, however, is something also referred to by Tibor Wehner1: a seeming randomness constructed with utter precision and, truly(!) only perceived – it can only be created over and over and in so many ways by an artist endowed with will, inspiration, humour and the attitude akin to that of a mathematician or an engineer.
Pázmándi’s Paper Planes taking off from our childhood and frozen in time – hence exuding gravity and appearing as mementos (he made his first ‘paper plane’ in 1985 for his Large Relief with a Paper Plane in the foyer of the Grand Hotel Hungaria, in which it was an emphatic element functioning as an information board), his Balancing Capital M (1993), his Peres I-III (2005) evoking oil rigs and the metal building games of the seventies, the Extinction of Prehistoric Creatures (2005), the white sci-fi-esque Twins (2013) are all equally suffused with fairy tale and reality. They are harmonious and genuine essences when compared with traditional (applied arts) objects.
It soon transpired that Pázmándi would not stick to tradition. His insatiable thirst for playfulness is coupled with a need to address issues perhaps seen as marginal but which are not to be missed: the questions of form, light, colour, style, technique and aesthetic, and their material manifestation. Of course finding answers is useful, too, in that – by virtue of its power to divert attention away from other things and allowing one to rest along the way – it protects the artist in his efforts to picture Space (and the Lord).
Pázmándi’s tangible works are always compact, complete and absolutely unique, existing in what Gábor Attalai defined as the unfinished present.2 The directness of his creative process greatly contributes to this: he never lets others handle the material: he does not use the reproductive techniques of casting and pressing but personally lays and builds his hollow sculptures (knowing them on the inside too!). From the ’90s onwards, he has frequently used the modular system of mortice jointing, also enjoying its practical benefits; however, this technique allows the artist to show off his bravura since the parts are moulded when still wet thus requiring a special skill to be jointed seamlessly after they have dried. Pázmándi does not create wholeness in an ordinary fashion – for example by making them round – but asymmetrically: we can witness the wholeness of entire worlds that are utterly human, aspiring to the skies, meandering through grids, hidden caves and cavities, evoking in us a sense of voyeurism and often the feeling of envy.
His well-known work, The Gate (2003), also takes us into another realm, perhaps into other religions, and so do his sculptural works co-created with other artists3 that add colour to the coordinate systems of urban environments.
While the relief (1988) at the entrance of the Debrecen shopping centre modestly blends into the space around it – yet arresting the attention of not only people with an acute eye –, the tricky mirrory interior (1992) cavalcade of the former MNB central offices in Hold Street and the porticoes of a residential home in Ürömi Road (1998) captivate even the most average passer-by. Like his works in general, these compositions also provoke ideas but also stir unrest, sooner or later challenging ready preconceptions, diverting attention to facts and opening up new dimensions. They exude an unusual postmodernity infused with a pinch of uncertainty but at the same time dispersing ambiguity by telling us straight: such worlds as these exist. And we undoubtedly owe him gratitude for making us aware.
The creator-composer does not waste his life and only creates worlds that take him by surprise; pretence is alien to his modus operandi. There are no as-ifs, no templates, only soaring imagination, implanted into earthy material, only Heaven and Earth melded together. No ‘was’ and no ‘will be’ – only the ‘is’. He is not afraid of forgetting or breaking something, he plays no games – he is fully aware that if he manages to do it once, he always will, and that everything is a ubiquitous once. He knows that material exists mainly to help us comprehend that we are alive, and to assist the spirit. And he exploits this, takes the opportunity and transforms the material into our companion.
The word leben is ominously placed in some of his ceramic works, often in the form >wir wollen leben< – of course, perhaps we will manage to live, perhaps our lives will stick onto infinity. Pázmándi’s certainly will.
Our exhibition will include – perhaps thanks to the prophane present – Pázmándi’s most recent Balancing sculptures, which are further ‘complicated’ compared to his older ones, as well as an especially ‘topical’ piece from his gas-masked Mannequin series, titled Next 21st-century Madonna displaying hunger, migration, barbed wire, traffic signs showing the mandatory direction to follow and forbidding entry, as well as the motif of (global) rumour rendered in the well-known genre of the strip cartoon which is easy to read and universal.
curator of the exhibition