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Ottó Szabó: Eternal Incognito

written by Kovács Ágnes
translated by Zoltán Bartko 2020-02-05

 

Ottó Szabó: Eternal Incognito

 

The paintings exhibited here are brand new, one may still feel the scent of turpentine on them.  They are new also because they represent a new era in the art of Ottó Szabó. The previous cycle - the Howl - also ended an era. Currently, the artist analyses the concept of thrownness.-

 

He says: “I′m analysing, but I don′t want to assemble the gory details anymore. Until now, I would correct the mistakes of others, I would help out the speaker with the right expression, who should have remained silent ... I would help someone to get into a position not fit for them, I would raise things that should have not been raised at all. I would help the one who did not ask for it, I would resolve others′ conflicts, I would explain what I shouldn′t have explained, I would apologize for being where I was ... "

 

This straightforward directness, openness, ostentatious display, this utterance without any unnecessary courtesy - all these were influenced by Kierkegard. This brought new observations and astonishing lessons even for the artist himself - lessons he could not describe very well. As he put it in his own words, that this is why he became a painter.

 

Well, the ten-odd images exhibited here present thoughts that are still up-to-date and valid today. The title of the exhibition could have been even Update, but the author decided to call it Incognito. Why so?

 

According to Kierkegard, every human being is a closed, separate world, every individual lives in an eternal incognito that may be considered to be one of the basic concepts of human existence. Otto Szabó completely agrees with Kierkegard. For all of life is a cognitive process bringing us closer to ourselves until we finally discover the inner path. Others only know the mask, the disguise we wear. If you let someone close enough to know your body, you will still try to make it look beautiful, more muscular, more exciting and sensual than it is, but you will not reveal anything of the truth. We maintain this incognito even when we are naked. Opening up is not real disclosure either - we play a role here, as in the case of reception and unification.

 

When we express our feelings, we try to articulate and express our thoughts in a chiselled way to point out our own greatness or specialty, repeatedly pretending and cheating. The other person will never get to know me, no matter how close (s)he is, even if (s)he originated in me.

So, this is what was in him and wanted to be expressed... well, sort of.

 

And here is another quote from Mahatma Gandhi, important to Ottó Szabó:

“First they ignore you,

then they laugh at you,

then they fight you,

then you win.

 

 


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