Exhibition opening 30 March 6 pm
Ilona Keserü’s (1933) œuvre – which spans nearly seven decades – is widely known among the Hungarian public. As one of the most important artists among the generation usually referred to as the Hungarian Neo-Avant-Garde of the 1960s and 1970s, she exhibited at the Iparterv exhibitions and participated in the activities of the Pest Workshop. Already in the early years of her work, her method can be characterised by a balance between the Tachist immediacy of self-expression and the defined world of intellectually organised, closed compositions. It was in 1967 that she discovered the heart-shaped gravestones of the Balatonudvar cemetery, which became a central motif of her painting. The ornate forms of the gravestones, rich in associations, recur regularly in her embossed textile pieces, reproduced prints and subsequent paintings of the 1970s. Her work often features constellations composed of curvilinear forms, sometimes clean-cut, in other cases passionately ’entangled’.
In recent decades, her work has been shown in numerous national and international solo and group exhibitions and has been included in several significant public collections. Her recent international appearances have been a real triumph, attracting considerable attention in the professional press. The emotional intensity of her canvases and the wild, elemental gesturesof her paintings have made her emerge as one of the most influential representatives of Hungarian Lyrical Abstraction. These successes were preceded by a systematic, art-historical catalogisation of the entire œuvre. In 2016, the first volume of the artist’s bilingual catalogue raisonné, entitled Self-powered Works (edited by Katalin Aknai), was published, covering theperiod between 1959 and 1980, containing more than 400 works. Following the launch of the volume, the London-based Stephen Friedman Gallery presented Ilona Keserü’s work at FriezeMasters in the October of 2017 alongside three internationally renowned women artists: JudyChicago (USA, 1939), Barbara Hepworth (UK, 1903–1975) and Barbro Östlihn (SW, 1930–1995). The highly successful exhibition was widely acknowledged. The first volume of the catalogue raisonné was followed in 2020 by a second volume covering the artist’s creative period between 1981 and 2000. The third volume is currently in preparation.
The mini-retrospective showcasing Ilona Keserü’s work at Q Contemporary brings together significant pieces from each decade of the artist’s career.
curator: Mónika Zsikla