Database

György Jovánovics

Born April 3 1939, Budapest
Lived in Budapest
 
György Jovánovics, a member of the legendary Iparterv Group, is a prominent representative of the Hungarian neo-avant-garde movement. He graduated from the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts and studied in Vienna and Paris. Thanks to a DAAD scholarship he lived in Berlin between 1980 and 1983. He participated in a number of domestic and foreign exhibitions, and also presented himself at the Venice Biennale in 1995. He has been a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest since 1990. His sculptural and other works are in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Folkwang Museum in Essen.
 
sculpture, installation, mixed media, painting

1957

1957-1966
György Jovánovics studied at the Magyar Képzőművészeti Főiskola/ Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts (1957-1960) in Budapest under the leadership of professors József Somogye (1916-1993) and Sándor Mikuse (1903-1982). In 1964 he moved abroad: first, he continued his studies at the Akademie für angewandte Kunst/ Academy of Applied Arts in Vienna under Hans Knesl (1964-1965), and later under professor H. g Adam at the Académia des Beaux-Arts/ Academy of Fine Arts in Paris (1965-1966).
Was school of Hungarian University of Fine Arts (1957-1960)

1964

1965

1968

In 1968, Jovánovics participated in the exhibition at the headquarters of Iparterv, an industrial company, after which an entire generation of Hungarian artist was named (Imre Bak, András Baranyay, Miklós Erdély, Krisztián Frey, Tamás Hencze, György Jovánovics, Ilona Keserü, Gyula Konkoly, László Lakner, János Major, László Méhes, Sándor Molnár, István Nádler, Ludmil Siskov, Tamás Szentjóby, Endre Tót).
As a sculptor, he liked to work with plaster which made it possible for him to perfectly form the desired shape, experiment with its organization, and light. At the same time, it was a great basis for secondary conceptual installations. The sculpture Részlet a Nagy Gillesből/ Detail of the Gillese the Great (1967) depicted a dressed man's torso without the upper part of the trunk and legs. It is reminiscent of the enigmatic Watteau's painting Pierot (or Gilles, 1717-1721). Through the sculpture, Jovánovics measured the importance of history, myth, and memory; or courage and ridiculousness. He used the principle of shell casting (hollow mold casting) and the motif of drapery for the first time. A similar conceptual and formal principle is also characteristic of his later works: Férti/ Man (1968) and Fekvő figura/ Lying Dummies (1969), presented at the 2nd exhibition of the Iparterv Group. Jovánovics challenged the depth of illusion and expectation through them: even though the formal implementation evoked the feel of animation thanks to their realistic nature, the reflected objects remain inanimate.
Was member of IPARTERV (1968-1969)
Iparterv I (group exhibition, Budapest)

1969

Iparterv II. (group exhibition, Budapest)

1970

1970-1976
György Jovánovics was actively involved in domestic cultural life; he helped to organize presentations of avant-garde art. In 1971, with Imre Bak (1939), he received a scholarship from the Folkwang Musea in Essen, Germany. He became more interested in conceptualism: the theme of the contrast between the organic and the inorganic, the real and the illusive, the existing and the expected. He continued to focus on the highly philosophical problem of the existence and experience of the work he had previously dealt with. In 1971, he exhibited equipment which was capable of creating the illusion of an inverted surface (Gép tömöríti ellen a mennyezet/ Machinery for Compressing Objects against the Ceiling). At the same time, he made installations which played with the contrast between the temporal and the static (Sarokablak/ Corner Window, 1971; Nagy ablak/ Big Window, 1971). In the Camera obscura series (1971-1980), he examined the possibility of the animation of static objects: small objects, marionettes, pieces of cloth and cardboard in boxes were lit up at intervals; animated. As early as 1970, Jovánovics created, for his and Nádler's exhibition in Fényes Adolf Terem in Budapest, the first free drapery structure made of plaster, through which he also challenged the predicted seriousness or sacramentality of works of art.

1971

Received grant from Museum Folkwang
Bak-Jovánovics (solo exhibition, Essen)

1972

[György Jovánovics] (group exhibition, Warszaw)

1973

Biennale de la Jeunesse (group exhibition, Paris)

1976

Expozíció (group exhibition, Hatvan)
Serial Works (group exhibition, Szeged )

1977

From the early 1980's, photography started to play an important role in Jovánovics work. In April 1977, he presented the Liza Wiathruck: Holos Graphos series for the first time, which he interpreted as: a blind manifest about seeing, or visual pedagogy. It was a photonovel, expositions of snapshots complemented with a text, which took much longer to create. It depicted a mysterious woman, Liza Wiathruck, and she became more mysterious, the more she hid her face behind a plaster mask. Jovánovics created her body using a technique similar to assemblage; Liza had a real linen dress like a marionette and a face made of porcelain / plaster. The chosen style of language, references to sound (the painting is tapped), and the difficult readability of individual images which, in spite of the factual immediacy, gave a feel of montage, made the interpretation uncertain.
At the same time, a cycle of six snapshots Valóság tükörképe a valóságon/ Reflection of Reality in Reality (1974) was created. Again, it is not pure photography; on the contrary, he used the method of montage and concentrated on the organic character of the elements; light was given the role of the director.
Sorozatművek (group exhibition, Székesfehérvár)

1978

1978-1989
In 1979, György Jovánovics created the first plaster relief, Függöny eksztatikus bábok/ Drop-scene to the Ecstatic Marionette. His interest in such form intensified in connection with his scholarship stay at DAAD in Berlin from 1980 to 1983. He dealt with the purity of the plaster form; its monochromatic white colour. Strictly in his artistic and historical intentions, he attributed a deep internal value to the colour white. He even gave it mythological meaning and saw a great spiritual dimension in its typical surface perfection. However, he used more colours than white several times in the following years (Színesrelief/ Colourful Relief, 1997).

1979

Fotogramm (group exhibition, Budapest)

1980

Received grant from DAAD – Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (1980-1983)
Ungarische Künstler (group exhibition, Wilhelmshaven)

1981

[György Jovánovics] (solo exhibition, Berlin)

1982

[György Jovánovics] (solo exhibition, Berlin)
[György Jovánovics] (solo exhibition, Hannover)

1983

[György Jovánovics] (solo exhibition, Berlin)

1985

Pillanatkép (group exhibition, Budapest)
Contemporary Visual Arts in Hungary (group exhibition, Glasgow)
[György Jovánovics] (solo exhibition, Székesfehérvár)

1986

[György Jovánovics] (solo exhibition, Berlin)
Eklektika '85 (group exhibition, Budapest)

1987

1987-1992
In the late 1980's, Jovánovics produced two large exterior installations: Trójai papírgyár/ Paper Factory of Troy (1988) in Seoul, and a memorial to the uprising of 1956 in Budapest 56-os Mártírok Emlékműve/ Memorial to the Martyrs of 1956 (1989). The former commission was connected with his participation in the sculptural symposium which was held on the occasion of the Olympic Games, and the latter was motivated by his strong memories.
Jovánovics' Memorial to the Martyrs of 1956 is an autonomous work of art and, at the same time, it plays the role of a shrine. It represents a functional interconnection of the material, philosophical, and environmental levels. It is characterized by sophisticated and properly processed material (white concrete), thoroughly thought out placement and orientation in space, and the continuity of internal and external space.
Kortárs magyar művészet (group exhibition, Budapest)

1988

Received grant from Phillip Morris Scholarship
7. Nemzetközi Kisplasztikai Kiállítás (group exhibition, Budapest)
Aktuelle ungarische Kleinplastik (group exhibition, Dortmund)
Expressive – Central European Art since 1960 (group exhibition, Washington D.C.)

1989

In the late 1980's, Jovánovics created another of his temporal and spatial illusions Képi Utazás Turner a bibliai jeleneteket/ Pictorial Journey with Turner on Biblical Scenes. It was similar to the earlier Liza Wiathruck series: it also dealt with a narrated fictional, archaic story whose heroes (commemorative of real people) were Tiepolo, Menzel, and an undisclosed contemporary Hungarian writer. Contrary to the previous series, the narration is indirect in this case.
[György Jovánovics] (solo exhibition, Budapest)
Más-Kép (group exhibition, Budapest)

1990

1990-1995
In 1991, Jovánovics participated in a symposium in Israel. In the same year, he was appointed professor of his alma mater, the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest. At the Venice Biennale in 1995, Jovánovics presented a selection of his works from the early 1960's. His stay in Venice inspired him to reflect on Giorgione's The Tempest (1508-1509). He created two works: Nagy Hasáb/ Large Column and Részlet a Nagy Viharból/ Detail of the Great Tempest (1995).
In 1996, the Fővárosi Képtár/Kiscelli Museum in Budapest held Jovánovics' domestic retrospective exhibition. Because of the venue (Temple Quarter), it was titled: Ut manifestius at que apertius dicam/ And the Weakest Ones will Understand. Both Italian works were installed in a new space in such manner that the model and Jovánovics' reflection intertwined using technical equipment. Thus he revived, albeit indirectly, the theme of memory and history, which he had dealt with in the 1960's: late Renaissance canvas opened to new interpretation, it regained its spiritual dimension (also thanks to the free reminiscence of Poussin's Et in Arcadia Ego from 1637-1638). The environment also played an important role as an 18th century church tower was used for the projection. Similarly, as in early films, figures were animated and materialized in a surprisingly authentic fashion through the reflection, duplication, and creation of relations between the real situation (spatial pillars and columns) and the artificially created image / sculpture.
[György Jovánovics] (solo exhibition, Fellbach )

1991

[György Jovánovics] (solo exhibition, Berlin)

1993

Magyarország előtte és utána (group exhibition, Budapest)

1994

[György Jovánovics] (solo exhibition, Berlin)
80-as évek - Képzőművészet (group exhibition, Budapest)

1996

Mítosz, Memória, História (group exhibition, Budapest)
[György Jovánovics] (solo exhibition, Lienz)
[György Jovánovics] (solo exhibition, Székesfehérvár)
Művek és magatartás. A 20. század magyar művészete (group exhibition, Székesfehérvár)
Abstrakt/Real (group exhibition, Vienna)

1997

Received award from The Kossuth Prize

1998

Ungarn Avangarde im 20. Jahrhundert (group exhibition, Linz )
Ungarische Anwesenheit (group exhibition, Warszaw)

1999

Ungarische Kunst der neunziger Jahre (group exhibition, Berlin)
Kunst der neunziger Jahre in Ungarn (group exhibition, Berlin)
MOST 1999. Aktuelle Kunst aus Ungarn (group exhibition, Bochum)

2000

Samizdat (group exhibition, Berlin)
Holos Graphos (solo exhibition, Budapest)
Books and Reliefs (solo exhibition, Budapest)
Artist Collection (group exhibition, Ljubljana )

2001

2002

2002 – 2007
In the new millennium, Jovánovics dealt with and further developed the issue of the boundaries of illusion and the authenticity of a work of art. Installations from the early years of the new millennium, Dobozszobrok/ Sculptures in Boxes (2002) and Camera Obscura (2004) were freely inspired by the works of the inventor, designer, and artist Johann Wolfgang von Kempelen (1734-1804), the inventor of the chess-playing automaton which was supposed to creatively respond to the opponent's moves. He denied the accusation of deceit (there was supposed to be a man hiding in the box – the principle of Jovánovics' Sculptures in a Box) by illuminating the automaton (Jovánovics' Camera Obscura).
Jovánovics created a sculpture A sötét király árnyék nélkül (Kempelen Frenhofernél)/ Black King without a Shadow (Kempelen at Frenhofer's) which was inspired by Kempelen's experiments. He also worked on a videofilm Monomotapa in cooperation with Péter Forgács. Both works were displayed at the Kempelen – ember a gépben/ Kempelen – Man in a Machine exhibition in Műcsarnok, Budapest, in 2007. In the film, Jovánovics acted as Kempelen watching the chess-playing automaton and adopted the look of Jovánovics' wife, Liza Wiathruck. It contained an allusion to Duchamp's Large Glass/ Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors (1923). In the course of the film, the artist revived and adopted the look of an important Hungarian historian of art, Ernő Marosi (1940). The soundtrack consists of twenty words which Kempelen used in the preface to his theoretical work Mechanism of Human Speech (Mechanismus der menschlichen Sprachenebst Beschreibungeinersprechenden Maschine) of 1791.
Vision Image and Perception (group exhibition, Budapest)

2003

2004

2004-2008
In 2004 and 2008, two exhibitions of Jovánovics' works were held at Ludwig Múzeu a Kisterem in Budapest. Contemporary works in the former, and photography cycles of the 1970's in the latter. In 2008, Bratislava City Gallery held a retrospective exhibition under the fitting title One's Own Light (2008).

2005

2006

Prohibition and tolerance (group exhibition, Budapest)

2007

The Artwork through Time (group exhibition, Budapest)
White-Black (group exhibition, Budapest)
Kempelen - Man in the Machine (group exhibition, Budapest)
Hommage à Kassák 120/40 (group exhibition, Budapest)
The Northern Shore (group exhibition, Debrecen)
Fekete & Fehér (group exhibition, Budapest)

2008

Own Light (solo exhibition, Bratislava)

2009

The Art of Tolerance (group exhibition, Bratislava)
Dél-Francia táj 1965-66 (solo exhibition, Budapest)
Sassetta – Jovánovics (group exhibition, Budapest)
New Acquisitions – Rarely Seen Works (group exhibition, Budapest)
re-connaitre (group exhibition, Paks )

2010

Stories from past futures (group exhibition, Budapest)
Painting, Process and Expansion (group exhibition, Vienna)

2011

2012

2014

LUDWIG 25. The Contemporary Collection (group exhibition, Budapest)

2015

Siliconvalse. Hungarian Reality (group exhibition, Brno)

2016

2017

Muzeum umění Olomouc 2011-2016