Reminiscing the Golden Age

about András Arnóti’s painting

András Arnóti is a prominent figure in contemporary Hungarian artistic life, and so inseperably strand of the European heritage.
However, in his pursuit of format and distinctive use of colours he points beyond the European traditions and attempts to create some sort of synthesis of the so called world culture.
For this reason, the audience contemplating over his paintings in numerous cities and towns of the world may rightly think that this is for them, just for them because Arnóti’s paintings speak a language which can be understood by all those who are able and want to look inward regardless of language barriers.
His works, which are composed by strong mental sensitivity, help us understand ourselves more precisely.
In his compositions, his attempt is not aimed at the relevant formal realisation of a picture but rather the establishing of the system of relations which emphasises the duality of the world, the whole and the part, the dichotomy between good and bad, yes and no. The relations between these components are very important in Arnóti’s works of art since we live our lives of and with these segments. We have got no knowledge of the Whole. We have got beliefs, fantasy, dreams and cognitive, learning volition. On these are modelled our world, these define and shape our days, and these are reflected in Arnóti’s paintings. In the earlier, figurative phase of his work humanism, and the universal human values are shown, while in the last decade the artist has moved away form the concrete depiction of figurativity and has been signalling the fundamental human emotions, the universal human condition.
He is a philosophic, thoughtful painter and the impressions of this are getting appeared in his teaching, writings, and also in the work of his students. In the centre of it, there are morality and the indication of the priority of values and that of the included expression of opinion.
In creating his paintings the artist favours and consistently employs square shape which, as he says, ‘is suitable for emphasising the four equal sides as the expression of four equally important but different points of view’. He does not wish to live according to ‘the one and only real way’. The world can only be put together and sustained by the common wisdom.
In our world, which often faces us with damage and horror, his pieces of art are deliberately decorative. Since the pictures affect our various emotions, presenting the sublime, the beauty in its aesthetic sense, and harmony is not a task for him to avoid.
This, in itself, is the indication of a possible way.
The use of gold has appeared in his pictures of recent years as a kind of cultural-historical nostalgia, or as the recalling of the Golden Age. All these elements are organically present in the structure of paintings.

Peter Szecsody

Arnóti in Yellow and Blue

In András Arnóti’s world, Petra and Prague co-exist. As do the sea and the twilight sky, the inner world and the surface reality. The works exhibited from Arnóti’s yellow-blue period also serve as an emotional barometer of the artist’s inner self, signaled by the recurring waves of harmony and optimism.
Every painter lends his own interpretation to his art, out of which in the best of cases, emerges a style that is unmistakably his own. In the art of András Arnóti this self-definition is present in the window that we cannot determine is open or closed, and in the different directions the crows are facing. Just as the frequent use of gold conveys a sense of nostalgia for the history of culture and the curtain a sense of emotional ambiguity.
Virtually all of Arnóti’s works are decisive and structured – while his world changes almost dramatically from one painting to the next. This may be rooted in the all-encompassing expansiveness of postmodernism or in a dissatisfaction with – or rather rejection of – American canned art. In any case, Arnóti vacillates between the non-figurative and figurative, between the decorative and bare-bone starkness, between the artistic and the sharply defined. The changing color of the deck chair on the balcony exemplifies the paradigmatic breadth of his art itself: the style that is first reminiscent of post impressionism undergoes a seemingly natural transformation into first a cubist-like structure and again into the ethereal abstract. As if we are watching a film that tells a well-known story –but surprises us again and again with new twists.
I cannot say that the stylistic elements are applied equally in Arnóti’s works. In one case the underlying layer clearly brings European expressionism to life - evoking its captivating energy but avoiding its depressing overtones. I see the church-like structure in the work entitled Prague depicting a vision of continuous transition that takes root in its environment with the voracious tenacity of a tree of life, making it seem as if the entire landscape were continuously rocked by seismographic movements. The same dynamic energy can be seen in the nude whose legs stretch towards us like an exclamation point - we feel that of the whole painting this movement alone deserves our attention.
It remains a mystery why the magnification of the separate parts, which fill the entire universe of the painting, do not leave us feeling despair – although this would be natural, having been conditioned after all by the words of the Hungarian poet Endre Ady: “Every Whole lies broken/ Every flame burns in parts/ Every Love is in pieces.” In Arnóti’s paintings, the absence of the whole is not irreparable - in fact, its absence is not important. The parts stand on their own and the composition carves out its own natural boundaries. As naturally as a large- scale map in which the whole becomes just one detail.
The artist Arnóti is not only a creator of paintings but of carefully crafted words as well. Pictures and words are one and the same. The prime desire of their creator is to create a community. The viewers of his paintings and his exhibitions form an interpretative and perceptive community. In a world that has disintegrated into its parts and is incapable of communicating this is not insignificant.

Eva V. Balint

About Myself

I paint in many different ways. Mixed inside me must be the two different perceptual approaches to painting. There are those who look outward and paint the objective world they see around them, and there are those who create an inner world of consistent regularities based on the determining elements found in their intellectual and material environment – one could say the sacred objects and symbols of a private mythology. This art is composed of magical gestures – in contrast with the former with its own particular mixture of subordination and superiority. Because humility is essential in those first moments before the work has taken form if I am to accept and follow that which exists outside of me, the material and intellectual world which surrounds me. Then - as my relationships evolve – I am encompassed by the appreciation of superiority and the ambition that provide the faith and motivation to create a bit of whimsy, to create from one existence another. Am I then a mixture of both? Or is it simply restlessness and curiosity that lead me to choose first one and then the other?

Arnóti András


András Arnóti was a teacher of culture in the 70’s, a leader in art institutions in the 80’s, and a journalist, painter and teacher of the history of ideas in the 90’s. We stand now at the very beginning of the new century. Throughout, Arnóti has continued to write, create graphic designs and paint and paint.