“From Time to Time” is the English translation of István Pető’s exhibit “De temps en temps” and it’s definitely his time in the spotlight at the Várfok Gallery. His abstract paintings take us through a dreamy time tunnel with an imaginary soundtrack.
I told the artist, who has lived in Paris since 1984, that his paintings suggested to me a mix of the music of César Franck and Pierre Boulez. Not surprisingly, both are French composers—the first straddled the 19th and 20th centuries, and the second straddled the 20th and the 21st. Franck’s music is moody, melodic, and mysterious; Boulez’ scores are meticulously detailed, formal, and non-melodic.
Pető’s “From time to time” collection of 33 canvases opened to the public on November 15th. This solo show marks his debut at Várfok, and the exhibition represents the most extensive showcase of his art in Hungary to date.
Born in Mezőkövesd in 1955, he received his training in Budapest’s College of Applied Arts before moving to Paris. In the City of Light, he studied painting at the Ecôle des Beaux Arts, and then became a member of the Maison des Artistes in 1987. Prior to this Várfok debut, his extensive list of world-wide exhibitions involves decades of solo shows, numerous group shows and art fairs, and inclusion in many public collections.
Pető slowly inveigles us into his inner sanctum, bit by bit, then bursts into glorious chorales blazing with orange fire-fields and distant tendrils of smoking remains. His visual spectrum reveals an emotional range from a symphony of sounds to a spiky solo harpsichord improvisation. In some of the smaller pieces, he speaks to us, via black line drawings and smudges, spooky circular sequences, short clauses and phrases. I walked through the gallery slowly, absorbing his unique language, then walked out immersed in my own dream sequence with a soundtrack.
The Várfok Gallery’s exhibition of Pető’s works will continue through December 22.