Patrick Heide Contemporary Art is delighted to present 39, an exhibition with new and recent works by Hungarian artist Károly Keserü. Marking Keserü’s sixth solo presentation at the gallery, the show brings together a group of 39 works, which could not be more varied and multifaceted; a selection, which is quiet exceptional and unprecedented. Some of the drawings in ink and graphite are static, dense and two-dimensional, others open and incredibly dynamic, rhythmically filling whole pages with wave like structures, compositions of dots and lines or scribbles that merge to territorial arrangements or primordially inspired designs.
Keserü’s drawings and paintings employ a reduced language, always playful, even light, yet at times disturbingly complex. Charged with open and hidden references to art history, folk culture, textiles and music, the thematic allusions are generally unpretentious and stripped to their essential basics. On first glance one risks taking some of Keserü’s drawings too lightly. As he quotes artists and movements from Modernism to Post-Modernism, we instantaneously claim to recognize compositions and colours. However, engaging with the works in more depth and questioning their aura of familiarity, the works astonish the viewer with new perspectives and interpretations.
Especially works such as UntitledXXth Century Series: Paul Klee, Take a line – and a few more for a walkdemonstrate Keserü’s mastering of appropriation and implementation. The drawing fuses Klee’s credo with the Hungarian’s distinctive vocabulary and allows him to re-investigate and expand the legacy that early modernist artists and 20thcentury avant-gardists have left behind. In another painting, Untitled XXth Century Series: Bridget Riley,Keserü alters Riley’s signature stripe paintings to an Aboriginal inspired composition with a colour palette reminiscent of African textiles.
While Keserü predominantly references 20thcentury aesthetics, his compositions appear to be of our time, linked to digital imagery of pixelated close-ups or visualized data textures, although his lines and dots are completely hand made in a labour-intensive manner. The paintings are less experimental than the drawings yet visually more radical, as the technique is still drawing-like, not painterly, but the materials are not. Executed in multiple layers of resin on canvas or wood, loose accumulations or linear structures of dots are levitating on the picture plane to create visual depth of almost sculptural nature.
As we start to decode Keserü’s multitude of lines, circles, dots and grids and to untangle his scribbles and retouches, the compositions always surprise with completely different and innovative approaches confirming the artist’s unrestrained curiosity in diverse stimuli from different cultures, religions, and philosophies. 39 can be experienced as something uncharted that unfolds on the picture plane - similar to pieces of music - still Keserü’s main remote influence. As viewers we take on this wealth of imagery, inspiration and skill to stimulate our own feelings and our understanding, memory and examination of art – and of the world as a whole.