franyo aatoth.
Recent works - 2012 / 2014

128 pages, published by
Várfok Gallery Budapest1 2012©

Textes by Cserna - Szabó András
Gerlóczy Márton / Kovács Krisztina
Danilo Lombardo

see the book

Kovács Krisztina / A little Botanic

In 2009, Franyo Aatoth painted «The Yang Shuo River.»1 This work is composed of five panels, representing the famous Southern Chinese landscape of Guilin (Guangxi), with its characteristic mountains. Viewing this polyptych from right to left - as in Chinese books - the scenes become more and more sketchy.
In the last of these panels, the painting is reduced to several black calligraphic lines swallowed in a white-gray background. It is Franyo Aatoth’s first landscape - a Milestone.

The introduction of these subtle elements into his compositions marks a true metamorphosis.
This becomes evident in his current work: the different treatment of the surface, the withdrawal of the red color - the «Mongolian Red» which was the artist’s trademark from the nineties. The tint of the thick surface changed from bordeaux to orange during the red period. In the last five years, we can observe a kind of dissolution of the composition. The appearance of ocher, gray, and green merge more and more with the genre of the landscape, inspired by the forests of Thailand, and presented for the first time at the Varfok Gallery exhibit in Budapest in 2012.

The 2014 exhibit celebrates the artist’s sixtieth birthday and his more than thirty years of creative activity, offering us the opportunity to experience his incredible metamorphosis. Freshness, dynamism, dissolved treatment of colors, and a personal calligraphy characterize his recent works. The symbols are scratched into the background or transformed into translucent spaces composed by sketch lines or expressive blots, approaching the philosophy of Cy Twombly.

His meditations on the landscape sublimate the texture of the earlier compositions to create never-ending spaces. The choice of themes originates in his new environment: the jungle of Thailand.
Recently - after periods in Mongolia and China - he decided to establish a workplace in Prachuap Khiri Khan. Impressed by the impenetrable jungle around his atelier, he also discovered the cruel destruction of this forest.
The lianas’ illusory and mysterious calligraphy inspired him to find new forms of expression. This «forest writing» stimulated his daily reflections about the same question: Are we so far from nature that we can’t understand its message anymore? Some lianas evoke the form of letters but the impossibility as well of reading the integral text. We’ve lost the unity, the basic rhythm. The result is a scream: Lily, with her hair standing on end,2 as we see in these works. We witness The Scream of Edvard Munch once again.

The artist decided to rehabilitate the martyred forest - the ancient trees stolen and transformed into garden furniture, even the ready-made variety - by recuperating furniture from the streets of Paris. Mahogany doors, teak chairs - all relics of the crucified, commercialized forest. Through his art, they were given a new, painted life: a resurrection, a reincarnation.

It is difficult to situate his work within artistic movements, but this artist does have roots in abstract expressionism. In the 80s, he was engaged in the «figuration narrative.» At the same time, his painted TV screens bring to mind neo-dada, with an ecological message: Combat the visual pollution diffused by the media. While always keeping his spiritual, intellectual freedom, he follows his own artistic way, guided by his expressive powers and deep meditation, a path directed by instinct as well as by essence.

1 The Li river in Yangshuo (Guangxi, China)
2 Lilly receive a letter - page 49.