Ákos Ezer: "At least we had fun today..."
Standing in front of these cinematic-scale “Tableaux Vivants,” bustling living pictures immortalised in lush layers of hyperactive material, one feels dwarfed by the constellation of colossal, unblinking figures. We step into a mode of history painting that commemorates what might happen in a blink of an eye somewhere within a grand narrative, a finale that has drifted into Mozartesque, Pintéresque or even South Parkesque absurdity — recalling the seconds when you can’t follow the fast-paced plot anymore, but have a nagging sense of what the dealt-out cards might have to offer —, a type of figuration that cranks up the intensity of its clashing visual codes and ever-switching representational dialects, juxtaposing jarringly monochrome sneakers with cool shirts embalmed in late-afternoon shadows and prickly patterns.
Ezer slices up your attention into bite-size painterly explosions: in one area of the canvas, frosty and fiery colours pop with humongous bangs. A few generous steps away, a prop appears with brutal materiality. You might set your eyes on an excessively sensual pie’s innards unleashed from a metallic plate or a sketchy — but at the same time disarmingly tactile — bark of a birch tree, a Spider-Man mask with highlights creeping around the surface as nimble, eight-legged creatures or a docile hobby horse, whose absurdly perfect tones are overpowered by an endearing smile. While the paint seems excited to perform various jumps and somersaults, you can kick back and feel at ease. The game has been mastered. It’s about pure enjoyment at this stage.
Look! It is as simple as plug-and-play. Peeking at the surface turns the scenes of convoluted bodies into a spectacle of paint jigging and jiving. This draws attention to that special shimmer that animates the unfolding events. The extravagant storytelling strategies of these self-deprecating fables, drenched in empathy and humour, showcase Ákos Ezer as an artist for whom the human figure is not there as the muscular-allegorical embodiment of mythological lore, religious-transcendental or political sentiment but as a blunt stunt double animating notions such as foolishness, clumsiness, awkwardness and uncoordinated action, in other words, a candid vision of humanity, stripped from all of its mythological robes and pompous accessories.
Cover image: Ákos Ezer: Butterfly collectors ╱ 2023 ╱ oil on canvas ╱ 235 × 400 cm (total) ╱ Photo: Juan David Cortés, courtesy of L21 Palma
Ákos Ezer: Food fight ╱ 2023 ╱ oil on canvas ╱ 235 × 600 cm (total) ╱ Photo: Juan David Cortés, courtesy of L21 Palma
At least we had fun today… ╱ Solo Exhibition by Ákos Ezer ╱ Installation view at L21 Palma ╱ 2023 ╱ Photo: Juan David Cortés, courtesy of L21 Palma
In these monumental, museum-scale compositions, Ákos Ezer switches into berserk mode. The “director’s cut” provides additional side narratives, extras, and goodies. It is rewarding to invest the extra “leg work” into exploring these two- or three-piece mega constructions.
Whenever I visit Ákos Ezer in his studio and walk among these wild beasts of unhistorical history painting — or “ironically twisted socialist-realist painting”, as the curator Sandro Droschl once categorised Ákos’s work — I am flabbergasted by the sheer power of figurative painting, which Ákos Ezer doesn’t shy away from. As the famous nursery rhyme hits on the simple truth: “Can’t go over it! Can’t go under it! Can’t go around it! Got to go through it!” And this is exactly what Ákos does, crashing through the walls and safety nets that the muses of figurative painting have constructed during the lengthy history of the genre. The gain and volume increase as the format grows to an unconventional extent. This is loud: stadium-rock-loud. The main quest is being fearless in an uptight and disoriented age.
Each extended episode throws you into an entirely fresh, thrilling environment, a new chapter where you learn more about the characters of Ezer’s multifaceted, unfolding universe. And… oh yes! Welcome to the cosmic boogie-woogie! Catch you on the flip side!
„At least we had fun today…”
Solo Exhibition of Ákos Ezer
@ L21 Palma
21st September – 8th November, 2023
Ákos Ezer: Movers ╱ 2023 ╱ oil on canvas ╱ 235 × 400 cm (total) ╱ Photo: Juan David Cortés, courtesy of L21 Palma