Ákos Birkás: A Human Being Is Always Interesting

2023-11-28T17:00:00.000Z  -  2024-01-26T17:00:00.000Z

A concise part of Ákos Birkás’ oeuvre, which came to the end with the artist’s death in 2018, is on view for the first time at Vintage Galéria, selected by the Ákos Birkás Art Foundation. The joint aim of the foundation and the gallery is to research and introduce the oeuvre of Ákos Birkás to the Hungarian and international public, the current exhibition is also part of the work in progress.



Ákos Birkás (1941-2018) visual artist. After completing his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, Birkás painted expressive portraits and self-portraits in the 1960s, and realistic pictures influenced by conceptual thinking in the early 1970s. From the mid-1970s, he continued his research on the relationship between a work and its environment, a work and its viewer through photography. He was interested in the image as an object and examined roles raised by photography. He returned to painting in 1985 with the abstract Heads, which he later expanded into a monumental series. The only motif of the pictures here is the oval shape enclosed in a rectangle, which allows many possibilities of interpretation. From the 2000s, Birkás turned towards a new direction with realistic paintings that thematize social issues, and from the mid-2010s, he started dealing with the relationship between text and image, abstraction and realism. Self-reflection and questioning the possibilities of painting are a constantly recurring feature of his artistic practice built upon bold changes. His major solo exhibitions were organized by the Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz (1987); the Slovenská Národná Galéria, Bratislava (1991); the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien – Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Vienna (1996); the Ludwig Museum, Budapest (2006) and MODEM, Debrecen (2014). In addition to his artistic practice, his pedagogical and theoretical work is also significant. His exceptional intellect and open-mindedness also made him known abroad. From the end of the 1980s, he lived and worked in Vienna, Munich, Berlin and Budapest. From 1989, Birkás worked together with Hans Knoll, then from the beginning of the 1990s, he also started working with two other galleries, the Berlin and Leipzig based Eigen+Art, and Zürcher based in Paris and New York. In 2009, the French channel Arte made a portrait film about him (Akos Birkas – Painter, director: Judith du Pasquier). His works can be found in renowned international and Hungarian museums, including the Guggenheim Museum (New York), the MUMOK (Vienna), the Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum (Graz), the Neue Galerie (Linz), the Ludwig Museum (Budapest), the Kiscell Museum (Budapest), the Museum of Fine Arts (Budapest), the Hungarian National Gallery (Budapest) and MOCAK (Krakow). He received numerous awards and prizes, his work was awarded with the Herder Prize (1989), he received the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic (2008) and the Prima Primissima Award (2017). In 2007, the Széchenyi Academy of Letters and Arts elected him among its members. After his death, the Birkás Ákos Art Foundation was established in 2019 to take care of his oeuvre.


Vintage Galéria

Vintage Galéria is an art gallery founded 1997 in Budapest. Vintage exhibits and represents Hungarian as well as international artists. The gallery program focuses on modernism 1919-1939 (André Kertész, Imre Kinszki, László Moholy-Nagy), conceptual art 1965-1989 (artists of the Eastern-European neo-avantgarde: Gábor Attalai, Tibor Hajas, Dóra Maurer) and a younger generation of contemporary artists (Andreas Fogarasi, Gábor Ősz, Dezső Szabó, Kamilla Szíj). We aspire with the exhibition and publication programme of Vintage Galéria to be an active participant in both the Hungarian and international professional discourse.

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