2011. december 27., kedd

2011. december 26., hétfő


Message from U.G.Sato san: the No More Fukushima! poster exhibition was opened. Click here to view all the 227 posters by Japanese graphic designers, and 13 works by other artists.
The selected works of the 17th Colorado International Invitational Poster Exhibition (CIIPE) are now viewable online. Also there is a searchable database of posters from the 7th to 17th shows (1991 – 2011)

2011. december 25., vasárnap


Click here to view some photos of the opening.  And here. And here. And here. And here. And here.

2011. december 9., péntek


december 9, 2011 7:00pm: Márton Orosz in New York Lecture at the Hungarian Cultural Center: From the avantgarde to the cartoon industry. Innovation and Hungarians in the early history of animated filmmaking.
The lecture and screening presents early animated films, including avantgarde experiments with color film stock used for animations, invented by Béla Gáspár. In addition, it sheds light on forgotten chapters in the history of animation by introducing europe`s first cartoon producer Dezső Grósz and other emigrant Hungarian filmmakers who made significant contributions to the genre.

december 14, 2011, 7:00pm: István Orosz in New York
Exhibition at the Hungarian Cultural Center
featuring posters, graphic art and animated shorts on multiple screens.
The opening will be followed by a reception in the presence of the artist.

2011. november 28., hétfő


Go to the Forrás Gallery. Official closing Thursday 22nd December 6pm to 7pm with the presentation of the exhibition by Istvan Orosz. Just for the visitors of the UTISZ blog.

2011. november 21., hétfő


Was the anamorphosis part of  the original picture by Hans Holbein, or it is a later addition by a different hand. To go over again  what we know about the painting and to understand why someone might have added this strange distorted skull to the picture, please come to the Műcsarnok on Wednesday evening. All the rest are here and here.

2011. november 7., hétfő


The 5th China International Poster Biennial hosted by China Academy of Art was opened in Hangzhou in 29th of  October. Also the exhibition of the jury members was opened at the same day, and there was a design forum with lectures of the invited poster designers and they led a workshop in the period of the exhibition.

2011. október 2., vasárnap


Invitation to the first exhibition of the international poster project initiated by TypoDesignSlovakia art association in cooperation with the Polish Institute in Bratislava. The participants of the "First Poster Club": late Shiego Fukuda (Tokyo), Lex Drewinski (Berlin), Dusan Junek (Bratislava), Karel Misek (Prague), István Orosz (Budakeszi), Wladyslaw Pluta (Warsaw) and Vladislav Rostoka (Bratislava). Opening ceremony: 6th of October, 5PM in the Gallery of Polish Institute. The next steps of the traveling exhibitions will be in Krakow, Budapest, Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Helsinki, Paris, Rome, Zagreb and other cities of Europe. The Bratislava exhibition runs until 28 October. The posters of the poster show was designed by Vladislav Rostoka and Dusan Junek.

2011. szeptember 23., péntek

2011. augusztus 18., csütörtök


The 14th Beijing International Art Exposition takes place at Beijing World Trade Center from August 18 to August 22. The organizing committee invited more than 60 art masters from Germany, France and other European areas to participate in the exposition. As I read in the website of Forrás Gallery due to the success of exhibition "Contemporary Hungarian Art", Hungary is the guest of honour of the actual Art Expo. The Hungarian exhibitors: Bátorfi Andrea, Csáki Róbert, Incze Mózes, Lajta Gábor, Mara Kinga, Orosz István, Párkányi Raab Péter, Raffay Dávid.
Location: China World Trade Center Exhibition Hall No.1, Jianguomenwai Avenue, Beijing.

2011. augusztus 13., szombat


Construction of the Berlin Wall began early in the morning of August 13, 1961. It was Sunday. Just 50 years ago.

2011. július 5., kedd


I just received the new copy of DesignIssues with my cover. This is the first American academic journal to examine design history, theory, and criticism. As they write: Design Issues provokes inquiry into the cultural and intellectual issues surrounding design. (Marci Orosz was the contact person:-)

2011. június 21., kedd


An unprecedented large-scale exhibition entitled Contemporary Art in Hungary takes places in Beijing, at NAMOC (National Art Museum of China). There are about 300 contemporary artworks in 8 halls including the works of László Fehér, Líviusz Gyulai, Bea Hauser, Mózes Incze, Lujos Kő, István Orosz, Győző Somogyi. Exhibition on view: between 14 June and 04 of July.  

In China I was asked to exhibit my anamorphic images (Anamorphic images are pictures that are distorted, and need to be viewed from a certain angle, or need to be viewed using a special mirror to appear correctly.) According to some art historians the idea of anamorphosis was developed in China and brought to Europe in the 16th century. Others state that anamorphoses were developed independently in China and Europe at the same time. It is improbable, but since the Chinese culture had a special relationship to the topic of mirror, it is at least probable that the Chinese artists were interested to learn from the European evangelizers the technique of the anamorphic distortion. It is true that during the 17th and 18th centuries the mirror anamorphosis was quite popular in China and it was used to distribute mainly erotic images. Hm:-) I have written more about it in the Hungarian blog

2011. június 11., szombat


The representatives of Hungarian and international animation gets together at the Kecskemét Animation Film Festival for the tenth time between 15-19 June. There will be quite a busy programme. Also, even for me:

My newest film, Chess! goes in the competition of short films in 15th of June (Wednesday) at the evening programme (7:30 pm).
The reconstruction, based on the recorded moves and a photograph retouched many times, of a chess game played one-hundred years ago. The political aspects of the match override those of the game: the two leaders of the Bolshevik party, Lenin and Bogdanov face each other. The animated film attempts, though in ironic manner, to do justice to Lenin, so that he somehow manages to get out of a tight corner in which he is threatened with checkmate and emerge the winner.
In the next day (Thursday, 16 June) at 5 pm a retrospective collection of my films will be performed also in the Theatre Hall of the Cultural Centre. If you come you can see these films: Toward the Salt Cellar (1978), Time Sights (2004), Mind the Steps! (1989), Private Nightmare (1980), Faces (1998), Ah, America! (1984).
On Friday evening (17 June) at 9 pm will start the opening ceremony of my art exhibition at the Ornamental Palace (local name: Cifrapalota). This exhibition will be opened till 7th of August.
"Self-pictures. Though none of them are real. They say everyone makes self-portraits even if they are landscapes, still lives, genre paintings or mere abstractions. Everything is a portrait of the self, no matter if the artist admits it or not. No matter if we believe him or not. Of course, for some time he keeps it as a secret and tries to appear objective: this is a forest, he says, or a heap of books, and that is a street corner. Then someone comes, blinks his eyes, steps back and spots the head. The face. Details of the personality.”
On Saturday (18 June) at 11am a presentation of new book: the Ambassador and the Pharaoh will be in the Cultural Centre in room nr. 32.
For more details please go to the website of the festival
Also chek out the best of KAFF and Hungarian animation here.

2011. május 27., péntek


István Orosz: The Ambassador and the Pharaoh (A követ és a fáraó). Published in Hungary by Typotex Ltd., 2011.
This book was written about, or rather on the pretext of two pictures. One of them was painted by Holbein, but somebody, sometime forged his name under the other one. Once in the past they were hanging in the same hall, in the customer’s castle, who was Jean de Dienteville, a French ambassador from the 16th century. Now, they are separated by an ocean.
Scholarly analysis, attempts on interpretation, literary fiction and a contemporary artist’s written and drawn notes – these constitute this book. The author, István Orosz just like Holbein, often worked on assignment. He tried several times the special portrayal techniques of paintings and the optical illusion called anamorphosis, and perhaps it is not of minor importance that he had the opportunity of living in a totalitarian dictatorship similar to that which had surrounded the German painter and the French ambassador in the royal court of Henry VIII.
The reader should select according to his/her pleasure from among the several and sometimes conflicting threads, select or reject explanations, we could add in good style, indeed as the most important criterion of the anamorphosis is that appropiate viewpoint and a redeeming visual angle must be found out by the viewer.
Here are some sentences from the beginning and some from the end of the book:

So here I am in the National Gallery, in Room 4, looking at the great painting and of course that shapeless form at the bottom of the picture from all directions. I am trying to find the right perspective, the angle and distance that together present the most precise view of the skull. Besides studying it from up and right, as the guidebooks recommend, I crouch to look at it from left and from below, I am checking to see – just like I did with the reproduction at home - whether I can see the skull from that direction as well. Which is the right one? Could it be a third perspective? The guards have become used to me, thay have probably noticed that I come back every day or every other day; they completely ignore me. Now I find it easy to see the skull hidden in anamorphosis, what is more, I see it even when I am not looking at the painting from the side. It becomes independent, hurries to the front like the motto at the beginning of a book. The motto in books is a quotation referring to the spirit and worldview of the book, maybe in this case, it should also be used like a key. The anamorphosis might be an instruction for looking at the entire painting: it should be viewed differently, nothing is what it seems to be. We have the code. All secrets are here to see, so if we fail to notice them, we are to blame. While I am looking for the right angle of view and comparing the different perspectives, I naturally have to pay attention to myself, in other words, I am concentrating on where I am in relation to the painting, on how the picture reacts to my different gestures and changes of place. If I was looking for what made The Ambassadors so radically different from other paintings of the era and what precisely differentiates it so fundamentally from the other works in Holbein's oeuvre, I would have to point precisely to the strange effect by which the picture itself talks to the viewer. Before and for a long time after this painting, the usual way of looking at pictures was that the viewer stood in front of it and started thinking about it. Subconsciously and sometimes even consciously, of course, artists aimed at achieving some change in the viewer by their work of art, they wanted to make the viewer think abut themselves, not only about the picture. Of course, this change is hardly visible for the outside viewer and he has no tangible tools for this examination. However, when the visitor stopping in front of the Ambassadors or - to put it more precisely – stepping into their aura is looking for the right position, the ideal viewpoint and is forced to define the ever-changing relation system of the painting and himself moment by moment, is nevertheless doing something that we may rightly call self-examination.
I am trying to make a drawing of the two men. The boys. They are young enough to be
my sons. And I could be their fifth great-great grandson. I put the reproduction on the table, lean it against the lamp and make a sketch of the picture with a pencil. Then I use ink, a biro, a crayon, a thin brush and a pen dipped in ink. I close the book and try to remember their faces, their gesture. I know their names and profession, I know what they were interested in and what they did not care for, I know their biographies, families, passions and faults. I hear them say dispassionate things with a narcistic slowness, enjoying conversing in French. They use the most feminine language in a manly way. They address each other in the polite form. They discuss a chess riddle. One of them is exchanging letters with Rilke, the other one rides to Auxerre to see the new Hungarian player at the preparation match against Troyes (he is one of the sponsors of the team). They are haughty, meditating, clever, enthusistic, failed, dreaming, brooding, vain, sensual, stoical, boasting, lonely snobs. They are easy to love. We are looking at each other five hundred years later. I am looking in their eyes, trying to catch their look. I hardly know anything about them and I cannot figure out what they are thinking of. I am not comforted by the fact that at least they know my thoughts. They might not care much anyway. I draw them again, from closer and closer, this time from memory. Oh my God, their eyes are the same eyes that were trying to catch Holbein's sight.
And this is more than enough.

2011. április 23., szombat


1st Symposium of Art and Design Education: "Dün-Bogün-Gelecek" = "Past-Present-Future". Interdisciplinary seminar and international workshop in Ankara at the Fine Arts Faculty of Başkent Üniversitesi from 22nd till 29th of April.
The teachers: Ali Herischi, Andreas Treske, Erdağ Aksel, Genco Gülan, Hüsamettin Koçan, Istvan Orosz, Reha Benderlioğlu, Reza Abedini, Serhat Kiraz.
And my students: Azadeh Ghaeini, Baran Çağınlı, Barış Hasırcı, Ceyda Elçi, Doruk Yurtoğlu, Emin Görkem Ayan, Esma Sencan, Fatih Sazak, Selen Kılınç, Tuba Mücella Kiper.

2011. február 26., szombat


Poster exhibition in Barcelona in Centre’d Art Tecla Sala: „Agitadors de conciencia gráfika compromesa” 160 works of fifty designers from 20 countries. Between 28th of January 28 and 27th of March. The posters will be exhibited in other Spanish cities too. (My Berlin, Volk and Europe posters are exhibited.)
11. International Triennial of the Political Posters, Mons (Belgium) till 30th of April. (My Iran Poster is exhibited.)
"Golden Bee 9." International Biennial of Graphic Design, Moscow Central Artists Hall (Chaumont, Iran, Book-week, Volk and "Plakátok" posters are exhibited).
"Hungarian karma": exhibition of posters of political, social and cultural topics created by Krzysztof Ducki, István Orosz and Péter Pócs. The posters are owned by the Danish Poster Museum, so the last opportunity to view the collection in Hungary will be at the Bakelit Multi Art Center (1095 Budapest, Soroksári út 164., building 18.) from 17. March to 15. April.
And a book: The Poster: 1000 Posters from Toulouse-Lautrec to Sagmeister by Cees de Jong is published by Abrams. This complete panorama of poster design from the Art Nouveau to the present covers all of the significant developments in poster design and introduces many important artists and graphic designers who ever created a memorable poster including a generous selection of contemporary work. (Hungarian participants: Mihály Biró, Anna Korányi Soós, Győző Szilas, László Moholy-Nagy, István Orosz, Mihály Varga.)
On the homepage of Arts et Mathesis in the February issue of Bruno’s column (Bruno Ernst) there is an introduction of my anamorphic works (in Dutch).

2011. február 13., vasárnap


– I can't believe THAT! – said Alice.
– Can't you? – the Queen said in a pitying tone. – Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.Alice laughed. – There's no use trying, she said: one CAN'T believe impossible things.
– I daresay you haven't had much practice, said the Queen. – When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

(Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking-Glass)

Do you remember Josef K.? Kafka’s novel, The Trial, was a cult classic of the era, when I mainly spent my time reading, and time seemed endless, as opposed to space, which was narrow, articulated by closed and dense prohibitory signs. In the course of the narrative, once K. visits a painter friend, who as it happens, lives in a district that is at the far end of the city, namey in the corner falling farthest from the offices of the dreaded court. When K. prepares to leave after the visit, the painter proposes an exit in the tiny garret or so-called studio, which K. had not even noticed until then. Only by climbing on the bed was it possible to go through the door, which naturally opens onto exactly the wide corridor of the courthouse offices. Kafkaesque – we referred in those times to such twists, and then we added Orwellian, but of course, the absurd short stories of István Örkény could have also come to mind.

If I would like to explain, at least to myself, why I ever even began to deal with so-called impossible objects, or at least with these constructions that can be easily drawn on two-dimensional paper, but cannot be built in our three-dimensional world, a possible explanation might be found in that queer background world, sometimes playful, sometimes oppressively bleak, that appears in the works of the authors mentioned above.
If we seek the visual art equivalent of the impossible and tragic space closed in on itself of The Trial, we might recall Prisons of the Imagination (Carceri d'invenzione). According to legend, the twenty-two-year-old Giovanni Battista Piranesi began his series of Prisons etchings when he was ill with malaria. According to interpretations, it could only have been attributed to a high fever that he had pushed off so far from a “normal” depiction, drawing such distorted constructions impossible to build, reminiscent of multilevel labyrinths, of such strange structure. Large, oppressive architectural spaces appear on the etchings, with the exception of a few staffage figures roaming out of their element, strings of halls virtually devoid of people, which, though each reflects such a capricious, spectacular, fantastic world, we experience as a living organisam – to borrow the analogy from Victor Hugo: for enormous brains.*

If we don’t seek such ancient analogies of the visual art representations of impossible situations, generally it is M. C. Escher’s name that comes up. The Dutch graphic artist’s notorius lithographs, particularly his masterpieces referred to as “the most Escheresque Eschers” by Bruno Ernst, Belvedere, Waterfall and Ascending and Descending come to mind first. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to make the acquaintance of M. C. Escher’s elder son; George said that his father had a Piranesi album, and it was evident that the frequently turned pages of Prisons reproductions influenced his work. Naturally, much more rational, calculated working phases preceded Escher’s lithographs than the creation of Prisons; the passion for creating atmosphere is practically lacking from them completely, and yet with his intervention, artistic tendencies of the late 20th century that could be apostrophised as a Piranesi-Renaissance are consummated, which are represented by the works of Shigeo Fukuda, Jos de Mey, or even Tamás F. Farkas; moreover, even the artist who is considered today’s most direct incarnation of Piranesi often cannot avoid completely Escher’ mediating role: Erik Desmaziéres. Of course, impossible objects can also emerge from the hands of clumsy draughtsmen, at least according to Hogarth, who wrote this beneath an amusing engraving, in which visual paradoxes were collected into a bouquet: “Whoever makes a design without the knowledge of perspective will be liable to such absurdities.”**

Erudite mathematicians have also participated in the construction of visual paradoxes alongside the artists – and sometimes even before the artists. Most probably the best-known and “simplest” impossible object is the “tribar”. It has been used so often in the visual arts, design, advertising, and even in fields of psychology, has become such a familiar symbol over the course of the 20th century, that by now it almost does not even enter our minds to inquire into its origin. Scholars generally refer to the unusual triangle as the Penrose Triangle, because it was the later celebrated mathematician Roger Penrose who published it first.*** In 1956, still a student, Penrose was introduced to the works of Escher at a show in Amsterdam, and under this influence, he began to draw “impossibilities”, and to dissect paradoxes from a mathematical angle. Penrose could not have known – moreover, at the time, nor could Escher, that a young man living in Sweden, Oscar Reuterswärd, who had engaged with impossible objects for quite some time; in fact, he had already invented and drawn the “tribar” decades previous. Alongside Roger Penrose and Reutersvärd, we should not forget other scientists, as well as the names of other forms made famous. Such is the Necker Cube, the Blivet, the Duchamp painting made infamous as the “Impossible Bed”, or simply the recurring staircase, invented by Lionel Penrose, Roger’s father.****

Of course, it is also valid to mention these antecedents in connection with my own work, among them the inspiration of Escher’s oeuvre. I could not meet personally with Escher, as he died just when I, in Budapest, at the Academy of Applied Arts, began my acquaintance with the highlights of geometry under the instruction of professors Dénes Gulyás and Ernő Rubik. I felt as if Escher was a distant relative, when I worked with his own papers, as well as when I could arrange a solo show as one of the first guest artists at the Escher Museum opened in The Hague.***** I also had only an indirect connection with Oscar Reutersvärd, called the “father of impossible objects”. Bruno Ernst sent his last letter to me, which he had written shortly before his death, and he asked for my help in deciphering a passage in the letter. Reutersvärd ruminated on the realisation of new “impossible figures”, differing from the ones until then, which so far he could see only with his inner vision, though – as he wrote – if he would succeed in drawing them, he “would even be capable of depicting an inside-out Eiffel Tower”.****** The text containing scanty concrete information, yet interesting implications set my imagination in motion, and it had an indisputable impact on a few of my works, though I could never be sure if I had truly proceeded, following Reutersvärd.

To truly construct the “impossible objects” in three dimensions would be that which was perfectly inconceivable, wouldn’t it? Well yes, and no. Shigeo Fukuda undertook to build sculptures that are just like Escher drawings as viewed from a certain point, but be careful: the magic works only and exclusively from that specific point; if the viewpoint shifts, then the trick is revealed, and what was just a perfectly arranged composition transforms into a cavalcade of tangled building elements. In parallel with Fukuda, a number of European and American artists have also recognised that the forms alleged to be impossible are unfathomable only for a traditional school of thought determined by convention, while in a more artful reading – if you will, with anamorphic vision – they are not unrealistic. These works – among them, more than one paraphrase interpreting Escher pictures – were presented together at the international exhibition series organised for the one-hundredth anniversary of Escher’s birth. I have met Fukuda often and we have also taken part in exhibitions together several times. At an opening, when I referred to him as my master, he eluded the compliment by saying: we had a common master. Presumably we both had Escher in mind.

Is it lying if the artist depicts a space and places objects in it that contradict the customary vision? Is it escapism if he invents a world for himself in possession of unknown laws and new rules, so that he can cross over from the hated old into this? And does he not do all this, he doesn’t allow the trickery concealed in the image to be so easily noticed, sometimes calling attention himself to the cunning solutions, so that he will be caught as soon as possible?

Corner house at the intersection of Andrássy út and Népköztársaság útja. Those familiar with recent Hungarian history can determine precisely, on the basis of the title, the verbal paradox concealed in it, just when the etching would have been made. It is not easy to decide whether the picture represents a corner house, or a courtyard, if the lines indicate convex or concave forms. We might call it a question of viewpoint, entrusting judgment to the psychologists: whether we were born for freedom, or rather for slavery.

I am prepared to concede that the universe of paradoxes is not equally alluring to everyone. A well-known story about Einstein occurs to me, who returned the Kafka volume he had borrowed from Thomas Mann with the following words – as it happens, exactly that one about Josef K., which I mentioned in above: “I was unable to read it: human thinking cannot be that complicated.”

* “Le noir cerveau de Piranese / Est une béante fournaise / Ou se melent l'arche et le ciel, / L'escalier, la tour, la colonne; / Ou croît, monte, s'enfle et bouilonne / L'incommensurable Babel!"
** Hogarth wrote this in 1754 beneath an etching, in which he collected 16 obviously visual impossibilities and countless graphic goofs. With the picture intended for the book cover, he supposedly wanted to ridicule an aristocrat patron of the arts.
*** Roger Penrose published the drawing of his triangle in the February 1958 issue of the British Journal of Psychology. Escher made his lithograph entitled Waterfall on the basis of the drawing.
**** The impossible staircase also appeared in the February 1958 issue of the British Journal of Psychology, together with the tribar invented by Roger Penrose. Upon seeing the drawing, Escher produced his lithograph entitled Ascending and Descending.
***** In addition to an Escher sketch, Bruno Ernst gave me blank sheets of paper that he had found in Escher’s estate. In October 2005 my exhibition entitled Orosz bij Escher (Orosz at Escher’s) opened at the Escher Museum in The Hague.
****** "Since some weeks I am industrious, productive and innovative. Above all I am on the track of a quite different and another type of impossible figure, I can see it for my inner sight. It mixes up what is near and distant in an overwhelming way. I hope that I perhaps will carry out and realise this "discovery". I have gone through series of trials and errors, but not yet achieved a "credible" result. When I will succeed, perhaps I will be able to draw an inside-out Eiffel tower”. (1 April 2001)

2011. január 1., szombat


Some say «two thousands and eleven», others say «twenty eleven», or simply «eleven». In Hungarian eleven means live, alive, lively, vivid, vivacious, sprightly, animated (!) etc… Let it be an eleven year!