Disciples of Dóra Maurer: Geometry, Experiment, Process

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a private view of the ‘Disciples of Dóra Maurer’ exhibition at the Hungarian Embassy organised by the Hungarian Cultural Centre in London. After sharing several coffees with some of the other interesting visitors, we were immersed in a story about Dóra’s life. Dora Maurer is a Budapest-born visual artist, respectfully breaking down the boundaries of the figurative to explore playfulness within her work. Shifting from one media to another, cycling through film, photography, sculpture, painting and performance, she employs complex mathematical systems to make work that is rarely still, constantly moving, just like her practice. Dóra is also the first Hungarian artist to be exhibited at the Tate Modern, her retrospective was featured between August 9th 2019 and January 24th 2021.

Dora Maurer @The Hungarian Cultural Centre in London

Dóra’s expansive teaching practice is another major part of her life as an artist. Sharing the freedom of expression but the complexity of her systematic approach, she has worked with many students, including the eight emerging artists exhibited by the Hungarian Cultural Centre. These creatives have vastly different practices, but are connected by their experiences being taught, influenced and inspired by Dóra Maurer. As the morning continues, we hear from some of them remembering her fascination with the creative process, yet an unmatched precision with her final outcomes. Having started out as a printmaker, Dóra is used to the unknown, and letting the work live a life of its own while guided by her skilled hand.

András Wolsky, Inner-Space NO3, wood, canvas, acrylic, 55x165cm, 2021

Originally, she wanted to be a gardener, a meditative occupation not far from fine art in its appreciation of subject, life and natural form. Her work is an attempt to offer audiences the space to discover themselves through simplification, and a focus on specific elements. This is likely why she is also an outstanding educator, able to highlight specific areas for exploration for her students and share her appreciation for making.

Mária Chilf, Mother-daughter, stain and photocut on paper, 70x100cm, 2019

Such interest is evident in Mária Chilf’s work, who is one of the exhibiting artists. Through her ephemeral practice she explores nostalgia and dimension. She has been able to maintain the sense of movement or brief suspension that Dóra often speaks about, where the viewer sees not a documentation of the movement, but that itself.

Barbara Nagy, Floating Shapes I, painted, engraved wood panel, 63x63cm, 2021

In conversation with the curators and supporters of the exhibition including Art Market Budapest, we discover that Hungarian art is gaining global traction and as Budapest becomes renowned for its contemporary exhibitions, the artists on show in London at the moment open the door to more influential creatives from the region. Their often “neo avant-garde tendencies” and “geometric art deeply rooted in Hungarian visual culture” are taking global museums by storm. In collaboration with art collector David Kovat’s Gallery, a pop-up space will feature the opening of the show to the public this summer: 12 August – 19 September 2021, David Kovats Pop-up Gallery 28-32 Shelton St, London WC2H 9JE. Another venue will also host the exhibition and will be announced at a later date.

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