Gizella Rákóczy

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"In my assessment, the world of spirals is a system of symbols that functions according to universal laws..."

Gizella Rákóczy born in 1947 in Budapest, where she lived until her death in 2015. She is a central figure in Hungarian and international geometric art. She began her art studies in 1971 at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts as Géza Fónyi’s student. At first she experimented with realistic easel paintings, then briefly delved into collages. She was an active member of Miklós Erdély’s mosaic workshop (MURUS) from its start, and we can still spot several of her mural art pieces across Hungary today.

In 1976, a Scottish tomb carving prompted her to start studying four-armed spirals and related mathematical laws. She used the spirals as her point of departure for a system that could be transferred onto the canvas. Her tempera on paper and screen printing works reflected the mathematical relationships of this system for two decades. After 1998, she replaced tempera by aquarelle paint, and the four-arm spirals by the Fibonacci sequence. As a result of the recursive nature of the mathematical sequence, many of her paintings completed after 1999 bear as many as 168 layers of translucent aquarelle paint. Through experimentation, the artist developed a technique that, despite the excessive layering, still yielded homogeneous, brilliantly translucent colors. The mathematical laws governing the overlapping color arrangements invariably resulted in grid structures.

The last Cretan Labyrinth series remained unfinished due to the artist’s unexpected death in 2015. The recipient of many distinctions, she is remembered as one of Hungary’s foremost creators of geometric art.


24 N, 2000

aquarelle on paper, 24 pieces – 62,5 x 62,5 cm each

The arrangement of the precisely, mathematically defined and overlapping strips of colour all result in a grid-like image structure. The 24 N series, made up of 6 X 4 units, operates on a system created by Rákóczy based on six basic shapes: in accordance with the system, the number and location of the colour fields are always given and finite.

Deconstruction of Four-Armed Spirals by Nuclear Units, 1982

tempera on paper, 36 pieces – 59 x 59 cm each