Ákos Matzon’s artistic career got off to an unusual start. He didn’t train an artist because he was reluctant to paint professionally in the shadow of his father, the sculptor Frigyes Matzon. Instead, he graduated from Budapest University of Technology and later from Pollack Mihály Technical School in Pécs.
He was forty-four years old when a few of his works created for pleasure were selected by chance for an exhibition. One year later, however, in 1990, a solo exhibition of his work opened at the Xantus János Museum in Győr, and since then he has continued along this path with no breaks, pauses or significant diversions. Even his earliest pictures show the distinctive features of form and the way of thinking that define his art, although his techniques have become richer, more complex and refined as the years progress. This organic development has led to a career that is characterised by coherent series of pictures that are difficult to categorise into separate stylistic stages; rather, they are best described as variants on a theme.
Matzon’s works have been non-figurative from the start. With a handful of exceptions, they mostly fall into the category of geometric abstraction. It is unusual for an artist’s entire oeuvre to be exclusively non-figurative; in fact, we know of hardly any painters who did not arrive at the abstract via a path that started with the depiction of nature. In European art pure abstraction, as an autonomous form of artistic expression, came into being in the early 20th century during the classic avantgarde period, and it is easy to trace how its main proponents Wasiliy Kandinsky, František Kupka, Piet Mondrian, Kazimir Malevich or László Moholy- Nagy, ventured beyond visible reality for the sake of total non-figuration. Even Tamás Konok—who Ákos Matzon recognises as his spiritual mentor—had a brief figurative period. Lajos Kassák may have been the only significant Hungarian artist who went from typography to planar constructivist painting, the picture architecture of his own devising. Ákos Matzon, meanwhile, started to construct his works on the basis of his technical and architectural training.
However, for Matzon geometry is no mere visual game but something that carries transcendental meaning. And with this interpretational factor he is actually denying the tenet of abstract painting—and thus of the geometric abstract—the traditionally objectless approach which, in the absence of a mimetic intent and narrative, treats artistic creation as a purely visual and aesthetic problem. Matzon’s works—or at least a substantial proportion of them—have meaning that goes beyond formality. For him, space is not only material but spiritual also. When we seek the possible space for a given artwork, symbolically we are looking for the opportunities and limitations of existence.
With these creations Matzon presents, in the language of geometric abstract art, the way of thinking that the 17th century baroque composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, and the 20th century French theologian, Teilhard de Chardin represented to him. What we are witnessing here is an exciting attempt to link music, philosophy and painting across the boundaries of time and the branches of art.
In Ákos Matzon’s art illusion and reality are mixed on several planes of interpretation. While his precision-engineered works exude cool objectivity, perhaps the most surprising thing about them is the richness of feeling and infinite humanity concealed in the background of these paintings.
Curator: Zoltán Rockenbauer