“From early on I realized that nobody was able to influence me pedagogically; I was usually always well-mannered and perfectly stubborn.”
Kovásznai’s resolute personality laden with a strong calling for the arts was soon to manifest when, at the age of fourteen he announced his family his intention to become a painter at all costs. “The curse-mannerism is something deeply foreign to art.” In retrospect, he thought much positively about the free school run by Piroska Szántó and Jenő Béres, considering their work as a true art pedagogical achievement. “Later on, throughout many years, I was in vain looking for the same charm in my other masters, the Hungarian art practice was characterised by some crossness, mordancy, savage self-destruction, grieving smothered in pipe-smoke.” Between 1950 and 1952, he spent two inspiring years eagerly preparing for the artistic path at the Art High School. The talented classmates are by now acknowledged Hungarian artists: Ilona Keserü, János Major, József Bartl.
Amidst the most rigorous political surveillance thrived the most incredible artistic and pedagogical dilettantism.” – the artist recalls the times spent at the Art Academy (1952-1957).
During the Stalinist dictatorship, not only the Academy, but also the art scene in general, was expected to serve the prevalent propaganda art under the banner of socialist realism. This is how he reminisced about these experiences two decades later. “The masters enjoyed a total autocracy, although – with all due respect to the exceptions – they were unworthy of any professional title.”
In 1954, his constant confrontations lead him to go away and work in mines (more information about this in room No.2.) In May of 1955, he approached Aurél Bernáth to help him enter the third year of studies. “My practice, memories, and my unchanging determination call for this specific genre of expression.” At the end of his fourth year, shortly before graduation, in the summer of 1957, he was thrown out of school due to unsatisfactory marks.
Curator of the exhibition: Brigitta Iványi-Bitter