In Ákos Ezer’s (b. 1989) paintings, the artist predominately depicts male figure subjects radically magnified and unconventionally rendered in dabble movements and positions. Pushing the boundaries of representation, Ezer employs a distinctive art practice introducing images that do not follow orthodox painting rules; uncoordinated and ungainly bodies seem to form a unified depiction through an internal reasoning of the painting itself. An array of ordinary men is creatively incorporated on canvas, who purposely or not explore with their gestures the meaning of the word “mess”; an environment that allows the viewer either to focus on the amusing side of a messy image with twisted and distorted bodies or to reflect in a situation of confusion, disorder and embarrassment. In this context, the consistent notion of falling down obtains a rather crucial emphasis.
Words: Yannis Kostarias
Ákos Ezer creates paintings that infuse an eye of awkwardness juxtaposing the contrast of the joyful combination of colours against the downhearted and sorrowful facial expressions. Applying thick and expressive brushstrokes, the artist develops a characteristically dynamic and bold style of oversized figures. Tall and hulky men with enlarged body shapes dominate Ezer’s figurative imagery rendered in a comically distorted way that brings up an emotional force to their eyes. This lengthy bodily formation also reflects a remarkable plasticity and flexibility over the gigantic physicality of the artist’s protagonists, highlighting an apparent contradiction. Nonetheless, his painting language suggests how these masculine silhouettes at work or leisure are thoughtfully constructed. Furthermore, the action of crumbling down and collapse looks simultaneously cute and careless, highlighting a painting rhythm of a careful choreography.
Ákos Ezer (b. 1989) lives and works in Budapest, Hungary. In 2014, the artist graduated from the Hungarian University of Fine Arts and since then he has started exhibiting in several art galleries, such as the Tanja Pol galerie in Munich, the Beers in London and the Art + Text in Budapest. In 2017, Ezer received the Esterhazy Price.
Art Verge: Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
Ákos Ezer: I make my paintings quite fast, and spontaneous. At first I paint the patterns of the background, until something pop in my mind. When I have more ideas I just try to find ‘that’ figure or ‘that’ light as soon as I can. That speed can cause failures, and if I like those failures I keep it, and leave it on the canvas. I don’t use any references, and let the painting to be even more painting like. I hope this makes sense…
AV: How would you define your work in few words (ideally in 3 words)?
AE: Loud, definite, indefinite.
AV: Can you name any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
AE: I like Jonathan Meese’s mentality, and Max Beckmann’s pictorial universe.
AV: Creating a new artwork can be a solitary process. If this applies to you, when you concentrate on a new artwork does it affect your social life at all?
AE: Exactly, in practice I don’t live a social life. At least, in the last two years it can be said about me.
AV: How do you know when artwork is finished?
AE: In my case that is a definite recognizable feeling. You don’t hate the painting anymore. At first you start it calmly and in the middle of the process the picture will be muddy/turbid. After the fight begins, and you don’t have rest until the end.
AV: What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space like, and how does it affect your process?
AE: I worked in several shared studios before, but in this year we bought a weekend house/studio with my partner (she is also artist, specialized in ceramics). And we work there together. It is very inspiring, because I can say it so: I moved in the scenery of my paintings. We don’t have a big hangar style studio, so I need to systematize my work. That’s why the tidiness is bigger in the studio than ever before.
AV: Which exhibition did you visit last?
AE: “Bacon, Feud and the painting of the school of London” at the Hungarian National Gallery.
AV: What do you hope audiences will take from your work?
AE: I like it when someone is laughing in front of my paintings or somebody tries to find out, what it is happening on the canvas, and telling me his own story. Humour and self-reflectivity, self-critique together I hope.
AV: What does your mum think about your art?
AE: I asked her so that’s a mini interview in the interview: “It’s clear. You should look around in our house, and you see there are lots of paintings from Akos.”
AV: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
AE: No doubts. I am night owl.
AV: Is the glass half empty or half full?
AE: The glass is broken, but I keep it overfilled.
AV: Which are your plans for the near future?
AE: Next year, in May I will have my first solo show in a museum/art institute. I am sorry but the location is not public yet. This will be a great challenge for me. So far this is a fixed date in my calendar.
© All images are courtesy of Ákos Ezer