Berlin – Budapest – Moscow, exhibition and catalogue, 2007

Cities, Constructions, Artist-portraits
A conversation with Éva Köves
Recorded by Katalin Spengler

“Budapest was in focus on almost all the paintings shown at your big exhibition in Ludwig Museum in 2001. You were among the first to receive the Pro Cultura Urbis prize in 2000. Other cities cropped up in your later paintings, but one did not sense that you forged as intimate a relationship with them as you have with Budapest. Yet the paintings of Berlin are once again expressions of deep ties to the city, and are witness to a closer understanding of the place.”

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Venice Biennale 1997


Éva Köves has created an extremely complex and rich painterly system: a carefully devised construct, which has elaborately been thought through right down to the smallest details. Painterly system: apparently, these two notions have shifted sufficiently far away from each other, probably precisely on account of the emerging polarity evidenced in twentieth-century art; however, Éva Köves has managed to re-connect them once again. In her art both notions are present with equal weight and in a dialectic harmony. Painterly is the pure, comprehensive and transparent visual world that she has created, as it is precisely the possibilities of the creation of par excellence painterly forms that provide the final structures, in which the visual system is differentiated by the dynamics of the surface: thick and massive paint layers versus thin and transparent ones. She thinks in a system, in which the various visual situations provide the consistent, logical and analytical survey of the relations between objects and space, light and shadow, two-dimensionality (linearity) and three-dimensionality (depth). When placed side by side, these paintings, which are linked to one another and form an organic unit, which reflect on each other’s formal system and apparently continue one another, yet each of which displays a remarkable autonomy, reveal a picture architecture constructed on the basis of a particular visual dramaturgy, in which the arbitrary elements and the associative painterly improvisations seem to work subordinated to the fundamental system. Yet, instead of being closed and dogmatic, this systematicness is open in the direction of all kinds of painterly improvisations and spontaneity and of all forms of painterly self-reflection.” – Lóránd Hegyi

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