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In the period after this he retreated to the countryside for several months of each year to immerse himself in nature and spend his time in contemplation, drawing and painting. From this time onwards his main motif has been the tree, which he generally approaches in series of mostly Indian ink or charcoal drawings.
Nature was first seen as an entity separate from man at the time of the Enlightenment and ever since has been regarded as the malleable raw material of the universe that assumes many forms. The great artists of the nineteenth century created the genre of landscape with its main theme being existence. In their landscapes and depictions of trees Camille Corot, Théodore Rousseau, but more especially Paul Cezanne and Van Gogh, sought to ascribe form to existence.
Hollán has also set out on this path of artistic expression without traditionally understood themes while discovering the true content of old art. 1984 saw the end of his wandering lifestyle; the pace of his work slowed down and became more concentrated. From this period onwards he also painted still-lifes, the colours of which demonstrated a tendency towards total darkness leading to a deep internal world. Hollán calls these compositions referred to in neo-Latin languages as dead nature (nature morte, natura morta) “vie silencieuse”, i.e. he uses the French translation of the Hungarian expression, which is linked to Dutch-German tradition. Hollán’s water colours depicting fruit, flasks and vessels are indeed still and silent, thus reflecting all the original meanings of the word.
These motionless, simple objects cast in identical light serve as an ideal model for Hollán, who redefines the role of colour in form-creation. In his still-lifes colour defines deeply hidden internal space. Colours and their relation to other colours and to light, as well as their variations forming part of the compositions uncover the process that still-lifes left in the solitude of studios would speak of. In addition to close to 80 works by Sándor Hollán the exhibition will also showcase works by old artists (Camille Corot, Claude Lorrain, Theodore Rousseau, Stefano della Bella and Nicolas Poussin).
The exhibition organised at the Museum of Fine Arts in autumn 2011 is due to be presented at the Montpellier museum in spring 2012.