“In my paintings, I try to combine my art historical preferences: primitivism, modernism and also Memphis design, fairy tales, or pop cultural iconography, surrealist influences and the combination of figurative and abstract elements play their roles. My paintings start with a form I know and I then try to move into new areas. In particular, I am interested here in ontology, or the almost existent, the non-existent, but which nevertheless exists. Something like a borderline between philosophy and biology. This way I try to get to places that are not yet familiar to me, and even if I drift in the direction of the surreal in this way, I would not consider it appropriate if one classified my painting as surrealistic, as I think they are rather based on my set of abstract rules and do seem to remain in the realm of the (ontologically) possible.“

In the summer of 2023, Jószef Csató spent a few weeks on an island by a lake, figuratively speaking. It is a place that defines its island existence in a different way than being limited only by the water. A place where three people live for a certain time in specially prepared structures and are invited to be artistically productive. An island of possibilities, with the charming view of a mountain lake.

We perceive 16 images per second, a glance into the distance, a look at the face of a counterpart, in the blink of an eye we can see what is going on. A conversation about the eyes, faster than the spoken word, inspires a poem, leads to a painting. Thus, in the time given to them, the three set out in search of the special. The island became a fertile place, a garden where new secret plants grew. The moments when these grew wild were the most beautiful for Csató, because the wild and the growing have always been part of the theme of his painting. Thus, from the time spent on the island, which was spatially limited but possessed an infinite garden, a series of works emerged, each bearing the most diverse fruits and outgrowths of this time on the lake.

Hungarian artist József Csató (b. 1980, lives and works in Budapest). Csató completed his studies at the painting department of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in 2006, under the instruction of Dóra Maurer. A three-time recipient of the Gyula Derkovits Art Scholarship, he is also the winner of the Esterházy Art Award in 2013, a prestigious award for young artists in Hungary. He has held solo exhibitions at Erika Deák Gallery, Budapest; Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna; Semiose Gallery, Paris; Double Q Gallery Hong Kong. His works can be found in numerous private and institutional collections, including Ludwig Museum, Hungarian National Bank and Beth Rudin DeWoody.

This is the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.