Galerie Derouillon, Paris
A proposition from Hugo Vitrani
Interview by Antwan Horfee
A.H.: City – age – origin please?
B.K.: I’m living and working in Budapest for 10 years now. I was born in Romania in a Hungarian majority, when I was 3 years old the whole family moved to Hungary. I raised up in a super boring miner town next to the capital but I had to learn there to find simple things more interesting.
How would you describe the type of iconography you are creating by putting things together?
It’s some kind of Wikipedia of images in my head which I put together. I’m using a lot of art historical references (I was euphorised by the classical museums since I was a child). My other fetish is the object, any kind of Plastic, metal, non functional, functional.
Sometimes the form itself, sometimes the colour gives me something. I can be a formalist. I like the surrealistic relationship between two different things, or age. When you search for an image on google for example and you realize that you ended up on some shitty memes. So basically I am just reflecting on my generation’s visuality I guess. In the medieval ages people met with 3 paintings in a lifetime, now we check 300 or more per a day.
Are the spaces you describe dreamy in a good way, or decadent and chaotic?
I think dreams are decadent and chaotic for sure. I almost never remember my dreams exactly. But I remember the structure, which is chaos. Sometimes I have a dream about walking on the streets of Berlin and the next corner I find myself in my hometown. I like this system on my paintings as well.
Should people feel threatened by your vision of imagery or should they consider they are invited to be part of it?
I would say its more like an invitation yes. I like the different interpretations of different people. For me these paintings are very subjective and its okay to stay the same subjectivity from the viewers. For example, one image can scary me and by the other hand some people have rather good vibes from it. We have different backgrounds and I like it.
The retro look due to building systems I see in the world of art nowadays seems to count for you as well, what do you think about it?
I felt the same. And the funny thing is that these artists usually born the same year as me. I think its a generation thing, as I was born in 1987, at the end of the 80’s, raised up in the 90’s and be a teenager at the early 2000’s. So I have some good child memories from the analog world but i am also okay with the internet and the Spotify things instead of cassettes for example. Maybe the stranger thing madness is about my generation as well. We are living in a world when almost all of the information from the past are became visible by one certain point in time with the internet.
Is this a punctual wave for you or is this the vocabulary you will be speaking forever ? I don’t really know what will I do in the future. Things are always changing except the human nature.
I am really curious about my generation’s old people what will look like. The human body is almost the same for thousand years, but maybe we wont need memory in the future just a good cloud or hdd. I really don’t know.
Robocop, tools from the hardware store, machinery that are living together in the desert etc., are these metal-made machinery an obsession for you ? ; or some kind of nostalgic buttons you press on in your compositions , for people to be transported in the period of time these (mostly iconic ) subjects are from ?
As a painter, I really like metallic surfaces. But for me for example the Robocop is like a modernist mask which I am also obsessed with. The 20’s 30´s in art history is a very inspiring period for me. Maybe that’s where my mask and machine fetish came from. I almost never painted human face for example. Its always an artificial mask for me.
Are you touched by artists they make real machines as art pieces? If yes, any in particular?
Jordan Wolfson’s machines are blowing my mind, but I would say it´s not my main focus. I saw a speaking robot in the Kunsthalle Vienna which was quite interesting. Or a video by Pierre Huyghe (Human Mask) is one of my favourite which is not really about machines but reminds me a lot.
How do you consider your practice? Drawing, painting, orchestral? Invent your term please if needed.
90% of my practice is about painting in a quite classical way. I’m not really a graphoman type, I am almost never doing drawings, or sketches for the paintings. But in this year I started to do one colour airbrush paintings on paper, which I usually call drawings instead of painting. Also sometimes I am using installation elements on my exhibitions because i like to play with the space.
X-Z, all kind of folkloric genre movie references are visible in this world and they are loud, are you a film nerd?
I wouldn’t say that, but I like movies or sometimes rather series (dark ones like X files or Lars von Triers: The Kingdom). My favourite movies are about the surreal banality lets say. One of my favourite is Emmanuel Carrere’s La Moustache or Quentin Dupier’s Reality. Both French somehow.
What kind of music is in your head when you do your art?
In the studio, I am always listening to something. Mostly music, but also the sound of documentaries. From music let’s say from A to Z, sometimes I do house days, sometimes trap ones. I’m also a big fan of 80´s pop music, so it depends on the weather or my inside mood.
Do you consider the planet in a tragic posture ecologically or it’s all good ?
Of course it’s not, but its really hard to see the planet as one whole thing, or just living in Europe, making craft beers from drinking water and meanwhile on the other side of the globe people drinking infected water and die from it. So it´s a super complex question and I believe we have so many problems everywhere. Global warming, you can feel it everywhere somehow. If not, you can see the people who had to leave their on deserts or war zones. Everything connects to everything in a tricky way.
Are you part of a special scene?
Yes. Hungarians, they are the most rhapsodic persons in the world maybe, and no one speaks our language. Also there is this famous quote: if you have a Hungarian friend you don’t need an enemy.
You use a lot of airbrush, would you use another tool if this one was gone, and what will it be? Just so we know your next step when the doctors will tell you to stop :- )? I have a lot of problems with my airbrush, so this is a good question. Usually its easier to use simple spray can. But I was wondering to go back to the oil paint as well, its a totally different thinking.
So, lots of objects and fetish sourced things are visible in your work, do you collect any of these items, or even collect anything?
I am not collecting anything specially but I have a lot of stuff from each thing. As I said before I am obsessed with objects. I have a lot of baseball caps which I only use sometimes.
Do you think the part of Europe you’re from is forgotten on the art side? Why?
Honestly a bit yes. Maybe because of the language dungeon, we are on an island compering to the Slavic neighbours or the German ones, even the Romanian language is more flexible because of the Latin roots. Of course there is English as the simplest way of communication but its a post soviet trauma, but I am quite optimistic in a new generation who are raised on the internet and think more international. So the most important should be to be more open to the world I guess.
Are you doing art in a very rhythmic processed way, like one of these machine at their task, or do you just pass by the studio from time to time?
I am doing art like a shark swimming or a horse standing. If they stop It they’ll die probably. So for me its really important to do it everyday unless I fell out from my routine easily, even if I am travelling I always keep one eye on the work and try to think about it.
Any computer involved in this work or only handmade?
I’m super dumb for the computer programs so its analog 100%. I am using a projector and that’s it, the rest is mental Photoshop.
To me its very surrealistic on many points, would you talk about any art movements or stylistics at all? Do you even care of the past?
For sure! As I am using a lot of art historical references its really important for me of course. Specially the surrealism, because my ultimate art hero is René Magritte lets say. Maybe I started to paint because of his works. Also very important the Hungarian masters for me. I have some important references in my mind.
Are you looking at other artists or you live in your cave and not look at what is contemporary to you?
I try to know what’s going on in the art world nowadays. I am specially focus on artists like my age. For example, Avery Singer or Jamian Juliano Villani. There are a lot of really good American artists, specially in painting! Also I am a huge fan of Jim Shaw or Peter Saul from the older generation, but for me contemporary is not a strict term , it can be anything which is actual in our present.
How do you see the French scene?
I never spent so much time in France so I rather know the German scene honestly. But I can see a lot of good emerging artists from Paris or in Brussels as well, I mean French artist. I really like the connection between these two capitals for example, and of course Paris is way better international than Budapest
To your opinion , is there any new path the art in general should take more? Is the point missed?
The art world is super complex, it has a really wide range which I don’t even know , so maybe I am not the best person to answer this question.
Any artists you wish specially to speak of ? Or any artist you want to support and see evolve asap?
Too many artists which I really like, but I hope maybe I can exhibit one time with Mario Alaya or Sven Loven. I am in love with their works! Or I am also a big fan of Sebastian Burger and Julius Hofmann from Germany. Or what was the question?
Any frustrations or huge delectations of all kind in any fields?
Money is always a frustration, If I have that’s why if not its opposite but same.
Photography: Grégory Copitet / all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Galerie Derouillon, Paris