In the studio with Gergo Szinyova.

Words by

Noémi Martini

In the studio with Gergo Szinyova.

Your latest solo exhibition, No Abracadabra, was a step away from the previous ‘black paintings’ phase. What is the importance of using more colour in your works lately?

Yes exactly, the black paintings have been a step away from those colour works I have made previously. I spent that year (2017) with black paint (oil, enamel, Chinese ink, airbrush paint, acrylic). For me, this period was about slowing down. Using only one colour is

like a metaphor of focused attention and a way of meditation. By the end of 2017, I already had the idea of the technique I’m still using, which is combining what I call ‘dead colours’ (pale, meat colours in pastel tones) with vivid ones.


You have a unique technique of creating a fine layer of repetitive patterns, motives and colours, which reminds us of screen printing, posters or risograph. How do you achieve that finish or illusion and what is the process behind it?

Technically the risograph and silkscreen techniques are my absolute visual reference. Quite often I get this question and every time I compare my technique to a simple card trick. It is easy, but if I would tell the process, maybe it would not be as interesting anymore. At the same time, I think the technique is only one component. A personal one. It is a result of all those years that I spent experimenting with various tools and paints. The process of making these layers is also part of a metaphor. It is not the essence of my work.

Untitled (Green curtain, Untitled (Pandemic Phantom)
What inspires you? Do you have a specific memory when you knew you wanted to pursue painting?

I have several inspirations. In my current series, I am focusing more on the human existence and everyday life from different aspects. Péter Popper was one of my most significant influences in the past few years (psychologist, clinical child psychologist, psychotherapist, professor, writer). His way of thinking and living is really inspiring for me. It is also a childhood memory. When I was 5 my father gave me his own pencils and crayons that he bought when he was a teenager. I remember that day vividly and it lasts since then.

In an earlier interview, you said that fine art is more of a “playground not a responsibility” for you and that you look at your work as a whole process, not individual moments. Where are you now in that process?

It is still a playground and I hope it will remain such in the future as well. Luckily, I am not a politician, activist or a heart surgeon, so it is enough to be responsible only for my life. I am a serious character, but I guess it is wiser to hold on to the part of our personality that is able to play freely with joy and ease.

Are there any artists who inspire you or look up to?

There are many, it is hard to say just a few of them. I guess it sounds odd, but the simple and honest ones inspire me the most. I am not so tolerant with pretentious artworks.

Untitled (System and Strategy)
There are some recurring colours and shapes in your latest works, like flowers, faces, chains as well as geometric shapes and forms. Are these conscious decisions and if so, what do they represent?

Yes, in the last few years I started to use more symbolic and narrative shapes that have several meanings. The basis of these elements come from daily life, news, banal things or oftentimes from personal experiences. The ones you mentioned I started to use like specific words in a poem. Recently the curtain became this symbol. As an object, as a decoration, as something that is functional or something that isn’t.

What is your biggest achievement so far that you’re the most proud of?

The ability to make my life more logical, slower and easier. At the same time focusing on important and great people around me, avoiding things that I have no control over. Being fair with myself and with others. This way of thinking is absolutely true for my artistic practice as well. To live a simple and at the same time meaningful, correct life filled with joy and quality moments. I constantly work on these to make it real.

Untitled (November Plan)
Are you working on anything that you could share with us right now? What’s coming for you post lockdown?

We are still in the era of Covid-19 pandemic, but since the beginning, I am constantly working on new paintings. I have no gallery outside of Hungary. It means I am absolutely not exotic anywhere else. For the international art world and art market it is totally unexotic to be a local human. I am not radical, not vegan, not gay, never attend protests = nothing special. International curators are not interested in Hungarian artists in general. The next group show I’ll be part of, will be here again, in Budapest.

Talking about it, how did you find creativity during these times, have your perspective of looking at art specifically physical exhibitions changed?

To make drawings, paintings is instinctual for me. I believe every human environment can be inspirational. 

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Photos by Krisztián Zana