Slovak-Hungarian painter Rita KOSZORÚS won Maľba – The VUB Foundation’s award for young painters in 2021, in the Slovak contemporary art scene where the abstract painting is only an outsider. The 2022 STRABAG Artaward International winner Andreas WERNER is a German-Austrian artist whose drawings using a unique technique have now become emblematic.
Rita KOSZORÚS uses the collage in her abstract paintings as a subject and form, reflecting on avant-garde and Dadaist artistic predecessors and aspirations. KOSZORÚS works with the language of abstraction, communicating with the viewer by pairing layers and shapes: different qualities, contradictions, gestures, painting methods, and textures meet and oppose each other in her compositions, where the relation of elements to each other and to space shapes their final image. Her canvases are both a surface and a material, shaped by folding and creasing, placing the randomness in his consciously evocative compositions. Her „material use“ thus involves the surface and the shaping of the entire material, while abstraction allows her the free flow of unconscious processes and contents. Her key concepts of collective memory, nostalgia, home, or identity reappear. In collage-like paintings, new contexts are created through multiple materials and techniques, even with completely different materials, leading the viewer through new combinations a suggestive artistic reality.
Andreas WERNER combines the tradition of Romantic landscape painting with the utopian worldview of science fiction literature (Stanisław Lem). His monumental buildings float like a heavy architectural model in a sterile contextless space. The architectural imagery of the geometric elements in the structure-emphasized drawings is linked to brutalist architecture, while the non- functional constructions drawn from an exaggerated perspective lead the viewer towards surrealism, evoking the specific atmosphere of the heyday of filmmaking (Alejandro Jodorowsky, Fritz Lang) simultaneously. These shape-dominated pseudo-buildings can be seen as sculptures, robots, or even futuristic spaceship designs, deliberately balancing on the borderline of interpretation. He creates structures and systems out of architectural elements; he suggests strength and classical values while contradicting them. The dissonance that permeates WERNER’s work – the floating nature of heavy constructions and the aesthetic/symmetrical yet un-functional building parts that operate with classical architectural elements – creates tension that transcends architectural or artistic references and therefore can be seen as a pillar of a particular (fantasy) world. In his recent works, the monochromatic compositions of solid contrast are given their final form through post-coloring, evoking the archival photographic and film color post-production of the early 20th century. WERNER’s gesture can be compared to the phenomenon of retrospective falsification, known from psychology, which allows a retrospective, unconscious reworking of memories according to our inner needs. The post-coloring of the works testifies to the need to process the past, giving the compositions a nostalgic overtone and expanding their associative field.