Artkartell projectspace is happy to present the first individual exhibition of paintings of the young, emerging photographer and fine artist, Péter Puklus. The huge and expressive paintings and sketches were created during the last two years to express emotional registers for which photography did not seem appropriate.

Puklus Péter: You Told I Had Beautiful Hands
Curated by Gábor Rieder

September 11 - October 4, 2020
Artkartell Project Space, Budapest

 Artkartell projectspace is happy to present the first individual exhibition of paintings of the young, emerging photographer and fine artist, Péter Puklus. The huge and expressive paintings and sketches were created during the last two years to express emotional registers for which photography did not seem appropriate.

Péter Puklus (1980) has participated in several exhibitions home and abroad and is recognised as one of the most successful and most characteristic contemporary photographers. His refined and conceptual works are usually taken in studio environment and the photos and compositions are set on boards of supernarratives, where Eastern European history is mixed with personal emotions and impressions. His large scale topics are presented as series, exhibitions or art books.

Behind the cold and sterile, conceptualist approach towards the studio object there is always a second, deeply personal layer of intimacy, familiar micro-reality and everyday sexuality. This can be very well observed in his photos of the sawbucks climbing each other or in another photo depicting the nude actor from the back with an erected wooden beam from his series The Hero Mother – How to build a house (2016-). Another fine example of this are the closed women figures of The Epic Love Story of a Warrior (2011–2016). 2019 brought a dramatic and surprising change in Puklus’s work. After long consideration, he returned to the more expressive tool of oil painting to give more space to spontaneity. While he studied photography at the MOME university he painted all the time and it took serious self discipline to focus on photography instead. After a very productive one and half decade, following several exhibitions and successful projects he started to feel the urge again to return the bright colors and expressive energies of his oil paintings. His approach reflects the style of the European new painting of the ’80s, which is now being rediscovered. To a great surprise, his first paintings brought him the prestigious Esterházy Art Award of Ludwig Museum in 2019. This year, his photos will be exhibited installed on a huge picture in the Esterházy Castle of Kismarton representing the unity of his past and present.

The huge paintings, as big as a king size bed often depict erotic scenes of intervowen pairs, embracing lovers, spread female legs and excitant male fingers. Besides those lively scenes the portrait of the painter can also be seen, broken to pieces in cubist style, as Puklus’s art is predominantly confessional, even though he uses passive intermediary objects, such as the LEGO figure or Kippkopp, the chestnut kid from the Hungarian children’s book. The almost Art Brut style, extremely enlarged hands of rough contours are also the actor’s own, bringing our focus to the fingers which are holding the brush, creating an atmosphere of closeness which he could not achieve through digital photography. During the act of painting these hands are getting swollen, losing their form and starting to live their own life, getting out of the actor’s control. Puklus obsessively repeats these motifs in sketches of different size, pencil drawings and then in paintings, repeating the same topic over and over again. He learned it through the act of painting how his hand can lead him to new, instinctive territories, which are not entirely ruled by consciousness. The exhibition You told I had beautiful hands is a summary of this two year long expedition: from control to attraction and from spontaneity to instinct.

Péter Puklus (1980) is a photographer and fine artist. He lives and works in Budapest. In Budapest he is represented by Glassyard Gallery, in Berlin and Hamburg by Robert Morat Gallery, in Düsseldorf by Conrads Gallery and in Paris by Folia Gallery.