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L Á S Z L Ó   L A K N E R

R E F E R E N C E S   —   C O N C E P T U A L   W O R K S   1 9 7 0   —   1 9 9 6

1 5 .   0 4 .   2 0 1 4   —   2 3 .   0 5 .   2 0 1 4 .

László Lakner is one of the most important artists in the Hungarian conceptual field, along his photorealistic paintings he made significant conceptual artworks as well between 1968 and 1974 (until his emigration to Germany in 1974). This exhibition presents a brief thematic selection out of the more than a hundred conceptual pieces, mainly focusing on artworks dealing with the questions of semiotics and linguistic philosophy as well as visual poetry, while reflecting on the socialist era as "protest works". The early conceptual period of Lakner gets more and more attention because of the academic researches and the reevaluation of "the long sixties" and an international interest in the Eastern European art of the era. These works show social sensitivity, while dealing with complex philosophical and linguistic questions, often with humour, playfulness and irony – they did not loose any of their freshness or actuality in the last fourty years. These rarely exhibited artworks in TRAPÉZ represent a different, conceptual aspect of the artist mostly known as a painter.

Most of the works were exhibited in the Foksal Gallery in Warsaw in 1972 on an exhibition showcasing Hungarian neoavantgarde artists. To accompany the text based conceptual works, there are two photographs (Me one of them, 1970 and Venus de Milo – Two feet from the "References" series, 1971) dealing with the issues of identity and (self-)referentiality.

Despite its significant role, there wasn't much focus on this important period of the oeuvre of Lakner, who is mostly known as a painter, although he considers himself a "conceptual painter". And not only the paintings from this period, but also the later ones have a connection with his conceptual practices. There are two examples for this at the exhibition, the paintings entitled Cocka-doodle-doo.

A silkscreen entitled Citation piece, Ludwig Wittgenstein multilingually from 1971 is also exhibited, which is a remarkable piece within the artworks that can be interpreted as an extension of Lakner's painting practices. It is based on the reading experiences and poetic activities of the artist and you can read the following quote from Wittgenstein on it: "What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence." This sentence is divided into four sections by vertical lines with "boundary" written between them and Lakner quotes every section in a different language. On the artwork – as Dávid Fehér phraised it – "the existential experience of the limits of language [...