Arvo Györköny

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Arvo Györköny (born November 23, 1968) is a Hungarian minimalist painter and sculptor. Györköny offered a fresh approach to Minimalism by combining sounds, and music with all his artwork.

Early life[edit]

Born in Szanticska, a remote village in Hungary, in 1968, Arvo Györköny was raised by his parents Dani, and Dorottya. In 1983, Arvo, Dorottya, and his sister Anasztazia fled their home to escape the physical abuse from Dani. They found refuge in a small Lutheran church in a nearby village. It was here that Györköny began painting with whatever few supplies he could find.[1] Rather than painting the physical objects he saw around him, Györköny painted the emotions and thoughts he had in his mind.[1] Since there were so few supplies to work with, Györköny often took pencils from the basement of the church, ground up the lead, and mixed it with water to make pigment. In the two years he spent there, Arvo had created some 200 paintings.[1] Arvo's sister, Anasztazia, had received severe wounds from her father's beatings, and died in 1985 from infection.[2] Györköny and his mother traveled back to their home to confront Dani, but upon returning, discovered that their home had been burned to the ground. There was no trace of Dani. One year later Dorottya died of natural causes. Arvo took his paintings, and sold them one by one. In 1990 he had gathered enough money to buy a plane ticket to America, and settled in the northern area of Maine.[2]

Career[edit]

Györköny spent his early years in poverty, traveling from place to place working odd jobs to fund his artwork. He became an active participant in the countercultural upheavals surrounding the Hungarian contemporary art movement of the 1980s. Györköny came to prominence in the 1980s as a pivotal figure of the Hungarian Minimalist Movement. He offered a fresh approach to minimalism by making both sound and music a part of his paintings.[3] In his first exhibition, Dalok az Anasztazia (1987), Györköny combined sounds he collected around his village with each of his paintings. The collection was dedicated to his late sister Anasztazia, and was a tribute to her life. The sounds were recorded and played back on eight old tape recorders. Györköny chose not to distinguish between visual and aural art, referring to them as azonos, or the same.[3] This was a completely new approach to minimalist art, and would propel Györköny into international fame.[3] In his last exhibition before moving to America, Memória írás(1988–89), Györköny used a combination of both sounds, music, and paintings. It comprises eight paintings and songs. Each painting was a separate piece of a puzzle that when combined created the final master painting. Likewise, when the eight songs were combined it made one master song. It was Györköny’s successful attempt to create a series that would change, even after all the artwork was finished. It also allowed a limitless combination of different paintings and songs.[3] Since moving to America in 1990, Györköny has only created three new series. The resurrection, Isolation, and The Skeptic.[4] Each collection was hugely popular, and was showcased around the world.[4] In 2001 Györköny was in a severe collision with a vehicle, the accident destroyed his larynx, and left him unable to speak. Despite being extremely asocial, and mute, Györköny still traveled and presented his art to the world.[5] Györköny hasn’t presented any new artwork since 2006.[5]

Exhibitions[edit]

Györköny’s first solo exhibition, Dalok az Anasztazia, was held at Soros Center for Contemporary Art, in 1987.[6] It was extremely successful, and spread to the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art, Ernst Museum, and Szepmuveszeti Muzeum of Fine Arts.[6] His second exhibition Memória írás, was even more popular than his first exhibition. It was held at the Magyar Nemzeti Galeria, State Art Gallery of Riga, Prague City Gallery, Mucha Museum of Prague, Museum Kampa of Prague, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Rijeka, and the National Brukenthal Museum of Romania.[6] Since moving to America his collections, The Resurrection, Isolation, and The Skeptic, have been shown all over the country.[7] A few examples include, California: Berkeley Art Museum, Crocker Art Museum, De Young Art Museum, New York: The Alternative Museum, Brooklyn Museum of Art, das Neue Gallery and Everson Museum of Art. Virginia: Contemporary Art Center of Virginia.[8]

At Auction[edit]

Györköny keeps all of his artwork in a vault at his residence, and is notorious for rarely selling his art. When he does sell his artwork, they regularly fetch five to six-figure sums at auction. A canvas from his first collection, Dalok az Anasztazia, for example, sold for $380,000 at Sotheby's in New York in 2006.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c “Györköny,” DHart, Budapest, No. 44, 1987, p.14.
  2. ^ a b Yvone Friedrich, “Arvo Györköny,” Das Kunstwerk, Germany, aug 1987, p.76
  3. ^ a b c d “Györköny,” Katowice, Poland, No.3, 1988.
  4. ^ a b T.J.G. Harris, “Arvo Györköny,” Art International, Switzerland, Vol XLI, May 1988, pp. 22-23.
  5. ^ a b Janet Koplos, “Clamor and Quiet,” Art in America, U.S.A., March, 2001
  6. ^ a b c Maiten Bouissiet, “Arvo Györköny,” Opus, Hungary, No. 82, P.16.
  7. ^ Carol Vogel, “Art in the Present Tense: Politics, Loss and Beauty,” The New York Times, New York, U.S.A., 11 June 2002
  8. ^ Robert C. Morgan, “Arvo Györköny,” Art Seen, The Brooklyn Rail, New York, U.S.A., November 2004
  9. ^ Stephen Westfal, “Ears and Eyes; Arvo Györköny,” Art in America, U.S.A., December 2005, pp 110- 118.
  • “Györköny,” DHart, Budapest, No. 44, 1987, p. 14.
  • Yvone Friedrich, “Arvo Györköny,” Das Kunstwerk, Germany, aug 1987, p. 76
  • Yvone Friedrich, “Arvo Györköny,” Das Kunstwerk. Germany, Oct. 1988, pp. 44–48.
  • “Györköny,” Katowice, Poland, No.3, 1988.
  • T.J.G. Harris, “Arvo Györköny,” Art International, Switzerland, Vol XLI, May 1988, pp. 22–23.
  • Maiten Bouissiet, “Arvo Györköny,” Opus, Hungary, No. 82, P.16.
  • Janet Koplos, “Clamor and Quiet,” Art in America, U.S.A., March, 2001
  • Carol Vogel, “Art in the Present Tense: Politics, Loss and Beauty,” The New York Times, New York, U.S.A., 11 June 2002
  • Barry Schwabsky, “Arvo Györköny,” Art Forum, U.S.A., September 2003.
  • Robert C. Morgan, “Arvo Györköny,” Art Seen, The Brooklyn Rail, New York, U.S.A., November 2004
  • Stephen Westfal, “Ears and Eyes; Arvo Györköny,” Art in America, U.S.A., December 2005, pp 110– 118.