Tamás Konok – The Anatomy of the Digital Brain

- 26 June 2014.

The dossier exhibition of Tamás Konok to be showcased in one of the first floor halls of the Museum of Fine Arts’ Department of Art after 1800 responds to the ideas of the world famous German art historian, Hans Belting, on the end of art history. Professor Belting, whose works are seminally important both in Hungary and internationally, wrote the catalogue for the exhibition of sculptor György Jovánovics, which constituted the first of the ten dossier exhibitions organised thus far.

In his volume The End of the History of Art? A Revised Version of the First Edition – 10 Years Later(2006, p. 160), Hans Belting wrote: “The computer […] as an archive of images, calls for a rethinking of the museum, because it behaves indifferently to museum pieces in their physical existence. Museum and computer technology thus in a way are rivals. The museum displays and symbolizes the experience of physical space (object space) as well as the experience of the time stored in the age of the objects. The computer, on the other hand, transforms images beyond place and time and into immaterial agents of information.”

In connection with this Tamás Konok states:

A fundamental principle of human development is the visual representation of our thoughts through processes of signs, images and letters: through reading. Like writing, a picture is a message and communication. – Ever since the beginning of my career I have been preoccupied with the idea of representation using lines and sets of lines, which is the most abstract form of visual expression. It is abstraction since lines per se do not exist in nature. Our minds are capable of expressing the demarcation of dark and light forms through systems of line-processes, similarly to writing, with which everything can be depicted, whether it is a landscape, a human figure or a still-life. Theoretical physics also uses numbers, symbols and letters formulated from lines to communicate and express the order and discoveries pertaining to the depths of our existence. – We have entered the era of digital communication, which is perhaps the greatest revolution to radically change mankind’s existence since the invention of the wheel. Nowadays every achievement of our civilization is condensed into sets of microscopic labyrinths of lines, which at the same time carry within them the beauty of order. My interest in recent decades has turned towards this ‘sensation of life’, which is manifest in the artistic representation of my works. I have sought to render visible the invisible behind what we see. Let me quote 19th-century Hungarian poet János Arany: “Not earthly reality but its heavenly counterpart will give the song magic…”

The exhibition’s curator, Judit Geskó, placed Tamás Konok’s painted diptych The Anatomy of the Digital Brain and Hans Belting’s text side by side, prompted by the fact that the new permanent exhibition of the Department of Art after 1800 is presumably the last one in the history of the museum that opened its gates in 1906. The 19th-20th– and 21st-century works now in the Schickendanz building will be moved to the building of the New National Gallery in a few years, while the historicising building is being renovated. A painful goodbye, which at the same time will open up a new chapter.

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