This individual exhibition of prominent Slovak artist Adam Szentpétery (born in1956), features a retrospective view of his painting career in the visual language of geometry. Line, color and plane are the basic building blocks of his visual system, and over the course of four decades Szentpétery has created a monolithic painting program in the field of geometric abstraction which is the essence of mental contraction, rational practices and protestant economy of form.
The exhibition presents basic themes and series of works, but without any linear sequence. On the contrary, they run parallel to each other or emerge in a later period in a transformed shape. Starting with his first stylized industrial landscapes and still lifes, Szentpétery constructs stories of small “geometrisms”, dispersed structures of imaginary elements and forms (Levitujúce formy / Levitating Forms, 1989 – 96; Hravé formy / Playful Forms, 2015), or he moves toward the creation of image structures – a multilayer tissue where the algorithm of strokes in three basic directions is rhythmically repeated (Štruktúry / Structures, od 1988; Štrukturálna deformácia / Structural Deformation, 2013). This visual composition of intersecting horizontals, verticals and diagonals comprises the basic platform of his strict geometric system or raster on which a layering of individual colors is added, which pile up and cover over each other. This regular visual grid generates Szentpétery’s characteristic visual tension and frequencies.
The series of paintings where the leading part is played by lines – horizontals and verticals against a background of yellow and red monoplanes, comprise the second sphere of his works. They are symmetrically balanced compositions where verticals stoically come down to steady the surface of a horizontal in rhomboid formats (Horizonty / Horizons, from 1994), or they follow restless diagonals which slash through the plane of the painting (Posuny / Shifts, from 1995). Horizontally segmented fields, linear information streams (Monotónne prúdenia / Monotonous Streams, from 1999) or one space compressions, building a radiant “superstring” in the middle of a monochrome plane (Stlačené priestory / Pressed Down Spaces, from 2000; Deformovaný monotón / Deformed Monotone, 2016) are created in a similar way. Szentpétery similarly reduces the visual plane to a stern construction of a right angle in the painting’s corner. In this threshold rational system, the right angle becomes the universal principle of a painting and binding codex (Kompozície na hrane / Compositions on the Edge, from 2000). He uses a classical oil technique and many canvases were created specifically for this unique space in Danubiana.
The most recent series of paintings with the overall title Deformácie / Deformations (from 2007) play the central role at this exhibition. On one hand, Szentpétery presents a change in format – with monumental circles - rondos on one hand and on the other hand a change in formatting of the visual space on the other. It is the “curving” of the space in a plane, the illusion of a 3D effect which refers to the entry of new technologies of today (the photographic optics of a fisheye lens, computer modeling, digital manipulations, etc.). Thus, the most recent paintings represent an inner model of the world – a visual “data globe” which refers to a breaking through to the extended media space of the present days in a different non-Euclidian space.
Thus, Adam Szentpétery creates his own “intellectual essence” of painting, a special position of geometric abstraction and its piercing coding in an image field. This makes him one of the more distinctive painters even in a wider, Central-European cultural context.
doc. akad. mal. Adam Szentpétery, born in 1956 in Rožňava, Slovakia. Studies: 1976 - 1982 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava (specialization monumental painting); 1971-75 School of Applied Arts in Košice (specialization graphic arts). From 1999 – from the foundation of the Department of Fine Arts and Intermedia, to the present, he is head of the Studio of Contemporary Image at the newly founded Faculty of Arts at the technical University in Košice; 2004 – associate professor; 2007 – laureate of the Hungarian state prize Munkácsy Mihály díj in Budapest. He lives and works in Rožňava and Košice.
Solo exhibitions (from 2013): 2017 – Geometrické kódy / Geometric Codes, Tatranská galéria Poprad, Slovakia; 2016 - Kódy geometrie / Codes of Geometry, Galerie Caesar, Olomouc, Czech Republic; 2015 - Geo kód III. / Geo Code III (along with Ján Vasilko), Galéria SI, Budapest, Hungary; Štruktúry a kompozície / Structures and Compositions, Magna Gallery, Piešťany, Slovakia; 2014 - Geometrický kód II. / Geometric Code II (along with Ján Vasilko), Galéria Médium, Bratislava, Slovakia; 2013 - Geometrické polia / Geometric Fields (along with Milan Houser), Galéria Alfa, Kulturpark, Košice, Slovakia. He has also participated in group exhibitions throughout Slovakia (Bratislava, Trnava, Žilina, Nové Zámky, Košice, and Rožňava) and in many cities and towns abroad, including Berlin, Wuppertal, Prague, Brno, Plzeň, Vienna, Budapest, Miskolc and Oradea.