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Attila Diénes

written by Kovács Ágnes
translated by Zoltán Bartko 2015-03-15


Attila Diénes


"Statue: dematerialized substance; abiotic factors with the illusion of life; ecstasy hammered into matter; emotions perspired onto a brushed surface; life frozen into crystals; magic; a message appearing to be material only in its form."


These are the thoughts of Attila Diénes, sculptor, winner of the Munkácsy award. 


Attila Diénes was born in Târgu Mureș, Romania – let us not tell his date of birth – Attila is one of the forever young. 


After graduating from the University of Fine Arts in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, the first years of his career were filled with the Transylvanian feeling and the search for his own way: this period was marked by his work entitled "Metamorphose". During this first artistic phase, the figurative elements converted into floral and geometrical shapes or formed a still-life-like composition ("Metaphysic composition"). 

The other important work of his initial period is the "Proud Woman". In this work, he cast pride, motherhood, strong and non-expedient female features into stylized form.  

In the next step, he abstracted these almost to the level of non-figurative works. (see: "Feast", "Mother and Daughter", "Girl", "Proud Woman", etc.).


Attila Diénes has been living in Hungary since 1988; similarly to others, he left the strangling atmosphere of the Ceausescu regime. Under the dictatorship of Ceausescu, artists could express their ideas about the system only in metaphors. 

"My sentiment for the truth and the schizophrenic state of being forced to say one and feel something else, the fact that you could not give the things their proper names made philosophy about life pointless and made me feel my art being laconic. So I changed my abstracted form language into a figurative, metaphoric way of expressing myself", confessed Attila Diénes about the later changes in his art. The works pertaining to this period are the "Expedient Harlequin", "The Multi-faced Harlequin", "The Manipulated" and "The Mask".


The third period of Attila Diénes is the one of Transsubstantiated Forms. He developed this new way of expression after moving from Târgu Mureș, Romania to Hungary. This is how his works with polished surfaces, made mostly of bronze – such as "Ecstasy", "Landscape Observer", "The Great Hugger", "Knight", "Muse" – came to life. 


The subsequent period comprises his current statues – his newest works are continuations of his previous periods. The artist creates his abstract and abstracted works in the spirit of the classical ideals of sculpture, applying traditional materials and means. His compositions made of wood, stone and bronze are both small statues and monumental works. In the works of Attila Diénes, figurative and abstracted shapes come to life in parallel, never following any trend. The sculptor still thinks in terms of shapes, his statues materialize as a result of an internal urge.


As he once said: "with my statues I tell things inexpressible in words or other means". Since statues form environments, they convey things inexpressible in speech: the sensuality of touch.


In spite of being a sculptor, he started his career with surrealistic graphic art, abstract paintings; nevertheless, in his former atelier, which later became a factory, he produced vast wool goblins sporting abstract shapes and he cast, carved and tempered both small and large statues and industrial objects of stone, metal, wood, ceramics and combinations of these. The pieces of furniture, designed and manufactured by him, but also requiring the leather work of his wife are worth a note, too. 


Attila Diénes is a laconic person, but he belongs to the authors doing a lot of philosophy and thinking; his works are the images of this spiritual approach.


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