Erik Mátrai


Erik Mátrai’s installation entitled Landscape was designed specifically for M0, the new project space of Műcsarnok/Kunsthalle Budapest. Over almost the entire area of the former assembly hall – with its historicist character and stuccoed, vaulted ceiling – a golden liquid swirls and flows down the four-metre high walls. The sounds of the water and the yellow light fill and dominate the exhibition space both acoustically and visually. The work – with its emphatically symmetric composition inspired by the visual elements of the baroque altar – is a locus, which simultaneously bears reference to the golden age and an idyllic world (landscape), mimics nature’s cyclical character and creates the notion of mythic time. The whirling, flowing phenomenon, with its blend of golden tempera and gold dust, retains the symbolic meaning of both live-giving water and gold as the source of economy. The painterly perspective, which is so characteristic of Mátrai’s works, and his earlier, recurring motifs (Mass in Barracas, The Parting of the Red Sea), are equally present in Landscape. This time, however, rather than using a projector and creating a videobased piece, the artist works with water, paint, wood and foil. Landscape is not about producing an illusion, but about vision presented as reality, about rendering an apparition real, about representing a picture of the imagination. It is mostly in this that Mátrai’s installation differs from the works of other contemporary artists engaging a similar thematic, such as the well-known – mostly urban – installations of Olafur Eliasson, Julius Popp’s high-tech word-waterfalls, and Fabrizio Plessi’s works reflecting on the boundaries between reality and illusion. The aurulent Landscape, which draws both on the traditions of contemporary art and art history, can also be interpreted here and now, within the context of the changes that affect Műcsarnok, as an institution.

Erik Mátrai graduated from the Painting Program of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts Budapest in 2004 and currently lives and works in Budapest. He generally uses a wide range of mediums; in his panel paintings and videos, inspired by the themes of religion and art history, he utilizes the latest technology and the tools of classic iconography. Mátrai is continuously experimenting with new materials and techniques. His work engages basic natural elements and phenomena, such as reflection, water, fog, with the intention of creating simple, clean pieces. His sight-specific installations – which explore the connection between the artwork and the space itself – are often situated in sacral spaces or lend the space trascendental meaning.

Supported by: EMMI, Naplopó Kft.


2013. September 14. - October 20.


2013. August 29. - November 17.
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Eli Cortiñas

2013. October 1. - October 27.
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Magyar Formatervezési Díj ésDesign Management Díj 2013