"I made Portraits for my current exhibition. Portraits from Lockdown. I tried to grasp the subject much more expressively, much more soulfully. To formulate a figure."
Dénes Maróti, March 2021
Andrés Clase and Francesca Fiumano are delighted to announce the opening of Internal Mythologies; introducing a new body of work by Hungarian artist Dénes Maróti. This exhibition, his second solo show at Fiumano Clase, comprises a series of portraits mostly created during the recent periods of international lockdown.
Maróti has long been fascinated with historical and mythological figures. Through 2020 and the first quarter of 2021 he has painted a series of portraits representing protagonists from Greek mythology. Unlike traditional depictions Maróti does not seek to paint the physical presence of these figures instead he uses a loose brush and open gestures to capture their essence.
Abstract portraiture requires the viewer to engage on a different level. There are no obvious visual clues as to the identity or demeanour of the sitter, instead colour, form and brushstrokes provide us with clues. Melpomene, for example was one of the nine Mousai (Muses), the goddesses of music, song and dance. Melpomene was named the Muse of tragedy and in many representations is identified by the presence of a lyre and the tragic mask. Maróti has given us a simple outline on a textured background, leaving the face almost featureless. The story of this figure, and the many others that she inspires, is left for us the viewer to construct.
Alongside these historical figures are three paintings depicting three different 'people', Gardner, Deliverer and Serial Killer. None of the figures represented are specific, their features are outlined on a solid block of colour against a bright white canvas. Each piece deals more with the realm of ideas, or notions. They avoid the purely representational and a rather notion of what each figure could be. Serial Killer appears to be watching us, his eyes not quite clear but clear enough to observe. The blood red lines defining his features a reminder of his disturbing obsessions.
Like many great painters before him, Maróti often turns to himself as subject and inspiration. Me, myself and I, shows the artist in his trademark spectacles, head tilted to one side. This is one of the more resolved portraits in the exhibition, there is no doubting that this is Maróti. What we are left to contemplate however is who he really is. What is this enigmatic figure thinking about, how does he feel, does he enjoy being viewed? The complexities surrounding the self-portrait are here made more mysterious by the contradiction between the openness of Maróti's pose and the elusive expression on his face.
Ultimately Maróti sees the depiction of the human figure, be it a specific individual or a more generic notion, as more than capturing a physical likeness. He paints with sincerity and humility, constantly searching for a new visual vocabulary to convey much more than what meets the eye.