[ śūnyatā ]
—Sándor Molnár's Circles—
Sándor Molnár, Tamás Lossonczy, Tihamér Gyarmathy, Béla Veszelszky, Imre Bak and István Nádler
Exhibition: 19 February, 2016—20 March, 2016
The new exhibition of Art+Text Budapest presents the artistic and intellectual circles of Sándor Molnár (1936—). Works from the painter-yoga period will be displayed together with works of 20th century abstract painters (Tamás Lossonczy, Tihamér Gyarmathy, Béla Veszelszky), and with works from the contemporaries of the legendary Zugló Circle (1958—1968). The basis of the exhibition is the works of the founding member of the Zugló Circle, Sándor Molnár.
During his student years at the University of Fine Arts, Sándor Molnár found books about Kandinsky, Mondrian and Cubism in 1956 in a second-hand book shop; at this period he hardly had any access to information about western art. The books opened a new world for him. In the 1950s he started to create nonfigurative works — that were banned at the time — and he also started to make contact with the banned abstract painters of the period (Tamás Lossonczy, Tihamér Gyarmathy, Ferenc Martyn, Béla Veszelszky, etc.). Students with the same interests gathered around Molnár (Imre Bak, Pál Deim, István Nádler, Tamás Hencze, László Molnár, Endre Hortobágyi, etc.); all of them are well-known abstract artists by now. From this time, for the following ten years, Molnár’s home in Zugló became the place of numerous important discussions and debates; it was the place where artists exchanged information and literature about western art along with reproductions, translated books and manuscripts. In the strangled climate of the Stalinist period of the 1950s this circle was an intellectual Elysium and a free university, where new information about western art was available even behind the Iron Curtain.
Molnár built his oeuvre consciously. He created the system of painter-yoga, the path from birth to death. It has five elements: Earth transforms nature into artistic language; Water is the solution, it represents unconscious instincts; Fire stands for burning; Crystal forms the intellect, the body of the numbers; and Vacuity (Sunyata) represents the completeness which is not manifested.
Sándor Molnár’s consciously built up, unique artistic practice fitted in the Western European context of abstract painting of the 1950s and 1960s. The non-figurativeness of tachisme and abstract expressionism are broadly connected to Molnár’s art, more direct connections are the painting procedures of Group ZERO, founded in Dusseldorf by Heinz Mack and Otto Piene, and the zen-influenced avant-gardism of the Japanese Gutai Group. His dominant influences were traditional young French painters like Jean Bazin and his circle, and Polish abstract painters like Tadeusz Brzozowski and his circle. However, it was always important to him to create Hungarian painting practice parallel with Western European one.