László Tenk’s Timeless World
László Tenk sees painting as a means of obtaining self-knowledge and understanding the world; accordingly, he captures what he sees in moments of exceptional grace – when he feels that not even a mirror image could offer a more precise imprint of its being.
The struggle stemming from sensitivity also clamours silently – the artist vies with the longing to comprehend and understand, meanwhile the creatures and landscapes in his pictures become manifestations of a creation that surpasses what is visible. The end result is some kind of fairy-tale, definitively perfect unearthly peace.
From time to time self-portraits find their way into his oeuvre, and although these may be regarded as a reference point, in a certain sense he sees all of his works as reflections of himself and what he senses.
Whether it is a self-portrait, the “facial features of trees” or the presence that can be sensed in his depictions of the built environment that we are talking about, the objective is not merely to document or to record a mood: The pictures are born of a conjunction of observation and reckoning, the here-and-now experienced at the time.
His paintings are usually glossy and colourful, but also dark-toned. The static yet freeze frame-like compositions give a sense of temporariness. Tenk does not set out to dazzle us with the new – he consistently sticks to what is considered old-fashioned, because for him the only viable path is an attitude that invokes the uncontemporary and treats its universal nature as fact.
In his view of the world, all living creatures are shown as equally capable of feeling – his trees become anthropomorphic, while his human figures become relatives of trees – calling into question the correctness of thought that places humans above all else.
Curator : Szilvia Reischl
Between 1962 and 1966 László Tenk studied at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts under the tutelage of Aurél Bernáth. János Kmetty also helped him during a foundation course at the Academy. From 1969 to 1971 he was a Derkovits scholar, and between 1970 and 1975 was a resident of the Great Forest Art Colony in Debrecen. He has exhibited his works regularly at solo and group exhibitions in Hungary and abroad since 1970, and he has been a regular participant at art colonies in Hungary and Transylvania since 1987. Between 1972 and 2001 he had an active role in several professional organisations. Since 2007 he has coordinated the fine art events of the ‘Culture Barn’ programme in Viszák.
In 1990, he and his wife established the T-Art Foundation. Events celebrating the foundation’s 30th anniversary are being held at various locations in the city at the same time as the present Kunsthalle exhibition.
Their work has facilitated numerous Hungarian and several foreign solo and group exhibitions, monographs and exhibition catalogues on almost 50 of the artists whose works feature in the collection of the Foundation, which has the primary goal of bringing non-mainstream fine artists to the attention of both art professionals and the general public, providing networking opportunities for artists and taking care its collection of almost 600 works.
László Tenk has received numerous accolades, including a Munkácsy Award in 2001, the Óbuda Award for Culture in 2007 and the Aba-Novák Vilmos Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. Research papers have been published and films made on his art; a book on his oeuvre was published in 2007.
He has lived in Budapest’s District 3 since 1977 and has been an honorary citizen of Óbuda-Békásmegyer since 2016. His paintings are created in his studio in the house that he shares with several generations of his family.
Simultaneously – Studio Visits
Zoltán Bánföldi | Zsófia Bérczi | Győző Byhon | Gábor Fülöp | Réka Gergely | Tibor Pataki | Péter Rizmayer | Nóra Soós | László Tenk
MŰCSARNOK Kunsthalle Budapest | 28 October 2020 – 10 January 2021
virtual opening: https://www.facebook.com/events/788612371708763