Beijing Biennale

Two Hungarian artists represented Hungary at this year’s Beijing International Biennale, Erika Szentgyörgyi and Péter Botos.


Introducing Erika Szentgyörgyi

I grew up in Kiskőrös, and as my parents didn't want me to choose art as a career, only after a short detour was I admitted to the evening course at the Secondary School of Fine and Applied Arts in Budapest at the age of 19. Next to school, I worked as a ceramicist. Later on I spent a year in Eger at the Károly Eszterházy Teacher Training College, majoring in drawing and visual communication. In the following year I was admitted to the painting department of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts, specifically to József Gaál’s class. During my university years, I was a Socrates-Erasmus Fellow at the painting department of the Accademia Albertina Di Belle Arti in Turin. I graduated in 2002 as a painter and high school teacher majoring in art drawing, art history, and representational geometry. I have been painting and teaching since graduating from university. I regularly exhibit my paintings in domestic and international group and solo exhibitions.

In 2003 I received the National Cultural Fund’s creative scholarship and catalog support, then in 2020 and 2021, in addition to the creative scholarship, the special award of the Rovás Creative Community in Kassa and the “Pro Cultura” award in Kecel, where I live.

My paintings have participated in several major group exhibitions, such as the International Portrait Biennale in Mauritius, the “Bovarche” Calabria Biennale of Contemporary Art in Bova Superiore, Italy, the Galerie Underground, Paris;

the 4th Small images Exhibition at the Free University Gallery, Subotica, Serbia, „Deployments 70" Hungarian Institute in Bratislava, Bratislava, Slovakia, etc.

The last period of my work over the last 5 years has been greatly influenced by my rural way of life for we have been renovating our house – which is in constant need of renovation – ourselves for years, and the subject and material use of my pictures is also influenced by this hard physical work.

As a visual sight, I am interested in the chaos caused by our house renovation over the years, whether the combined effect of the older patterns and layers found during the removal of the paint layers or the intertwined system of cracks. Chaotic clutter from a lot of slag, building materials or debris can also turn into exciting compositions. Furthermore, the ruined buildings of the abandoned farm world move my imagination. A special sight and excitement when I discover such a building in nature is sometimes completely obscured by trees and is difficult to access because of the undergrowth which almost weaves into the decaying building.

In addition to the traditional oil and canvas technique, I started using styrofoam as a canvas a few years ago. At first, I applied different construction debris to the surface of the styrofoam, later I created different negative forms on the surface by pressing them into the material and painting the pictures on it. My work on styrofoam can be linked to buildings both in terms of tool use and theme. In these plaster-like images, I depict, among other things, construction tools, materials, and the nature around us. I love the way the trowel helps shape the image and produces interesting coincidences for me, I like the way many colors that get stuck in the recesses or are stacked communicate with each other. Sometimes relief-like rich layers of paint form, which lend a peculiar physical, almost sculptural, plasticity. My pictures can be considered an intimate visual experience, lyrical abstractions. I gave these paintings on styrofoam the title Contemporary Plasters. My pictures painted on styrofoam are environmentally conscious due to their material choice, as they have a heat-insulating properties when placed on a wall.

The theme of the Beijing Biennale was not foreign to me. In the period before my series, Building Memories, I painted more realistic figures based on abstract spots. These alluded to the natural environment or had more spiritual content.

My “Guardian of the Olympic Flame” painting is both abstract and realistic. In the background of the picture, among the icicles reminiscent of a cold winter, there is a young female figure standing out from a natural environment, holding the Olympic flame in her hands, showing it to us. The upper body of the female figure is more realistic in elaboration, while an abstract landscape forms from her skirt.

Introducing Péter Botos

(Budapest, 3 August 1945)

Web page:
Facebook: Peter Botos

 A selection of individual exhibitions

2021 Habatat Galleries, West Palm Beach, FL, USA
2021 The Geometry of Light, Zsdrál Gallery, Balatonfüred, Hungary
2020 Lantos Ferenc and Péter Botos, Zsdrál Gallery, Pécs, Hungary
2020 Light Spaces, Ybl Buda Creative House, Budapest
2017 Rómer Flóris Museum of Arts, Győr, Hungary
2016 Geometric Baroque, with Ágnes Szél, Józsefvárosi Gallery, Budapest
2015 Shining, Gestalt Gallery, Pietrasanta, Italy
2011 Transparency in 2 and 3 Dimensions, with István Haász, Broft Gallery, Leerdam, Netherlands
2004 Square Deal, Glass Pyramid Gallery, Budapest

A selection of group exhibitions

2022 9th Beijing International Art Biennale, National Art Museum of China, Beijing
2021 Plateaux Gallery, London, UK
2021 Melbourne Design Week, Red Moon Gallery, Australia
2020 Ungarn 2.0, Glasmuseum, Frauenau, Germany
2019 VA Gallery, Hong Kong
2019 Craft Biennale, Cheongju, South-Korea
2019 Shine Space, Hungarian Cultural Institute, Beijing
2019 Taking Off, Glasmuseum Lette, Coesfeld, Germany
2019 Bauhaus 100, Vasarey Museum, Budapest
2018 Konkrete Leto, European trends in geometry, Galeria Umelka, Bratislava
2016 SOFA, Palette Contemporary, Chicago
2016 Art Palm Beach, Erdész Gallery, Palm Beach, USA
2015 Hungarian Cultural Institute, Brussels
2015 British Glass Biennale, Broadfield House Glass Museum, Stourbridge, UK
2015 Cutting edge, Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, UK
2014 SOFA, Chicago, USA
2014 Symmetry Festival, 100 years of suprematism, Delft, Netherlands
2012 Hungarian Cultural Centre, London, UK
2012 Roman Academy of Hungarian Arts, Rome
2010 Geomix 2.0, B55 Gallery, Budapest
2008 Geometry, within and beyond, Godot Gallery, Budapest

Barabás Collection, Budapest
Rechnitzer Collection, Győr, Hungary
International Mobile MADI Museum, Vác, Hungary
Konok-Hetey Collection, Budapest
Hungarikon Collection, Budapest
Rómer Flóris Museum of Arts, Győr, Hungary
Laczkó Dezső Museum, Veszprém, Hungary
The Beijing Hungarian Cultural Institute, Beijing
Glasmuseum Lette – Ernsting Stiftung Alter hof Herding, Coesfeld, Germany
Imagine Museum, St. Petersburg, USA
Szöllősi-Nagy-Nemes Collection, MOdern MŰtár, Balatonfüred