Fayoum portraits

By 2014-09-11Project @en

All of the paintings were preceded by a series of preparatory sketches, mostly done with ink. The extensive development phase of the pictorial cycle shows elements of the characteristic structure of the graphic pre-pictures, and at the same time it expresses another value: Fürjesi had the advantage of experiencing Egypt not as a tourist, but as an artist, saturated with close and receptive observations.

„What is it that Csaba Fürjesi found in Egypt – among the Bedouins – that he sought for here in Hungary to no avail?” is the wrong question to ask, since his themes seem mostly to be excuses for creating a thought-out, but still a brave color- and form-scheme. Similarly to Paul Gauguin, who surely was not either led to the island of Tahiti for the Maori fables or for exotic objects. In Gauguin’s art the literary object had a minor role; he as well was more inspired by decorative goals or musical impressions, which were closer to his feeling. The redundancy, which was brought into Fürjesi’s art by the exotic, burning yellows, blues and reds, can be organically integrated into his former artistic approach.

The paintings titled Arab elegy and Everyday life in Fayoum, their orderliness built up of homogeneous, clear color spots abstracted from the natural scenery, remind me of the composition of music. The almost tangled jungle of his forms, colors and figures, and all his pictorial elements remain on the safe midway of stylization and natura. The separate details of these large-size paintings comprise the whole in such a way, that at the same time they all keep their sovereignty. The 2-part painting titled Birth of mythology resembles the biblical and symbolical works of the excellent German expressionist painter, Emil Nolde. The colors that directly express emotions, the intensive vision, and the l’art pour l’art approach as an independent visual language are concretized in the paintings.

Besides, Fürjesi’s works are not about the longing for the exotic, they are not even a social criticism; but first of all a further-thinking, a further development of a color- and form-composition kept within a certain logical system characterize this cycle. His roots could most likely be associated with post-Nagybánya traditions, although, the school’s colorism in his case twins with particular and thoughtful construction of pictorial elements, or rather with liberality of presentation, which assigns a lively, decorative character to his style. His core questions mainly root in everyday life. He remains fond of painting human and animal figures, from the closed microcosm, though, with a reference to the greater correlations of reality. His landscapes and figure compositions as well, are dominated by the calculated, comforting visual orderliness of the depicted event or phenomenon.

Márta Pallag
art historian

Fayoum portraits

Prints from Fayoum nr. 14.

Prints from Fayoum nr. 10.

Paintings from Fayom

Everybody’s fountain III.

Everybody’s fountain II.

Everybody’s fountain I.

Procession of the calvary