Katalin Káldi’s remarkably consistent œuvre shares numerous links with the traditions of Radical Painting and Conceptual Art. One of the standout artists of her generation, she studied painting at the Hungarian College of Fine Arts between 1989 and 1994 as a pupil of Zsigmond Károlyi, who was invited to teach at the institution when it was undergoing radical changes after the fall of communism. “Monochrome: the academicism of our age” – a notion borrowed from Ad Reinhardt – was the principle underlying Károlyi’s teaching programme, launched in 1990, and the master’s first group, of which Káldi was a member, carved out a place in Hungarian art history as the “legendary monochrome painting class”.
In Káldi’s painting, the monochrome tradition is an ever-present reference point, although in her case it is not a guiding doctrine, but the most feasible solution for focusing attention and reducing pictorial space. The compositional principle she applies to the surfaces of her easel works, however, is attuned to the formal language of mosaic, installation and – at a stretch – even sculpture. From the very start, in all the various media she uses, her surfaces exude a palpable sense of intense concentration on the contemplative nature of the objects, and over the decades, this concentration has gradually intensified.
The exhibition at the Budapest Gallery presents a selection of the plaster castings and oils on canvas Káldi has produced in recent years.
Opening speech by: Dávid FEHÉR, art historian
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