Often referred to as a conceptual artist, György Jovánovics (b. 1939, Budapest) has been considered one of the leading figures of Hungary’s art scene since the mid-1960s.Jovánovics primarily uses the ‘poor’ and frail material of plaster to create, alike marble, smooth and lustrous reliefs. Cast from thin assemblages of geometrical pieces (e.g wood, laths, folded plastic) the white reliefs give the viewer, through the fine depth of the layers and the radiance of light, a permanent swap between reality and illusion. References include classical Greek sculpture, Renaissance spatial concept, the formal language of Auguste Rodin, Cézanne’s system of picture construction and El Lissitzky’s Proun Room. While seeking answers to the universal questions of vision and shaping space, he is also closely connected to Hungarian sculpture and traditions of visual architecture.
Jovánovics completed his studies in Budapest, Vienna and Paris in the mid-'60s. On his return, he strived together with a number of outstanding talents of his generation, to create a form of avant-garde art that would chart a new horizon and mark a departure from the earlier official principles. Those efforts gave rise to the Iparterv exhibitions that were held in Budapest in 1968 and 1969. The works’ conceptual framework was centered on the problem of a contemporary redefinition of surface and mass, these classical characteristics of sculpture. His works made of plaster frequently explored classic drapery based on spatial illusions arising from positive and negative forms.
Being awarded a DAAD scholarship in West Berlin in 1980 was a turning point in his career. It was at that time that Jovánovics began using a special technique to create his plaster reliefs with their delicate structure and layers that differ spatially by just millimetres. The vividness of the pure white reliefs is provided by the grazing lighting. The reliefs form one of the most important groups of the coming years and decades. The white works are joined by works in colour, achieved by using a special technique to mix paint with the plaster.
Jovánovics participated in the Hungarian pavilion at the Venice Biennial in 1995. In the early 2000s Jovánovics created the colourful wall panel series of the concert hall of the Palace of Arts in Budapest, and in 2009 a sculpture on the facade of Corvinus University by the Danube in Budapest.
The Mayor Gallery will present a selection of his relief sculptures in plaster, a nearly exclusive medium chosen by the artist since 1965.