A world of split personalities
January 31, 2008 10:13 am | Dénesh Ghyczy’s latest work, now on display at the Deák Erika Gallery, might be pleasing at first sight, but watch out for the trap that these mostly large, light, and colorful paintings will lure you into.
Some of them depict, in bright red and intense blue, solitary human bodies locked in their movement in one expressive pose, carefully split into symmetric fragments contained by the outline of the body itself, a style that gives a digital quality to the image as a whole.
A series of multiple eyes shift the focus from the body to the face, as they stare out from distorted images of young men, women and children, sometimes melted together in a slightly eerie disintegrating mass.
In light strokes two other paintings, loaded with sexual content, show a woman in a provocative pose and another involved in an explicit yet not immediately perceptible act of oral sex.
Ghyczy’s idea of fragmented individuals stem from a previous body of work in which nudes were seen through a patterned glass, addressing the idea of perception of reality obscured by the glass and transformed by the light. In this series, the vision is not obstructed by any interfering surface and individuals are revealed as the artist perceives the people around him, his generation, which exists in a multicultural urban environment increasingly ruled by digital technologies that besiege the notion of self.
“For a long time now, we ceased having a core identity as such. We are many people, with different identities and different personalities. Nowadays we can even live out these different personalities on the internet.”
And Ghyczy, with his mixed Hungarian and German background, having been brought up in Holland, should have better insights than most into existing in more than one culture and one language. In this sense the work is autobiographical as well. “It is an illusion to free yourself from the personal aspects in your work, and it is better when I don’t try to hide myself. I have to be vulnerable, I have to show myself; otherwise the work is not honest enough. I was putting on a mask, and hiding behind it always ended up as the subject in my work,” said the artist.
After spending 10 year in Budapest, the artist continued his multicultural journey by moving to Berlin in 2005, a move that, he claimed, brought more “lightness” to his paintings.
“My work had a little bit of an old-fashioned look, and I approached light a bit like a 19th century master.”
In Berlin, Ghyczy also started to use digital photography and Photoshop with more ease, revealing the connection between painting and photography, but also playing one medium off against the other.
© Andreea Anca, 2008