Artist: Gábor Kristóf
Title: Picnic on the Driving Range
Venue: Schemnitz Gallery, Banská Štiavnica
Curator: Vladimír Beskid
The year of 2020 was meant to be yours, dear Paul, and a great year in general (such a beautiful and mystic number, twenty-twenty…) but let’s face it, we failed and your precious anniversary is completely spoiled…
I never got it why we would celebrate the jubilee of someone’s death. Of course, we need to maintain the memory of a person, the more and more idealized image of this spotless mind, but still, I don’t like this framework. And indeed, even though we were planning big celebrations, exhibitions, wannabe-objective-and-still-slightly-nostalgic lectures about you – our inspiring celebrity, the honorable man, the gentleman, the legend – all this became unimportant, postponed and finally forgotten one morning.
I am going through your paintings right now, and can’t help myself comparing it with the current landscape. Where did we go wrong? I’m so curious if you had believed in God, or have served anybody else? The notion of the landscape has been expanding for a very long time, but what did it mean for you? It couldn’t be merely the biosphere, the set, as you depicted it – a backdrop for your gentry friends, a nature with no soul.
I have a feeling that now the landscape is equal to one’s mental state or that of a collective, or of the times we live in; we cannot be really sure, whose augmented mindset we are wandering in when we go for a walk, virtual or real. One thing’s for sure, the set is driven by rage and a global fever. And it feels as if this – our contemporary composition – could recompose or rearrange any second now. We hear and feel the gears – lubed by old pus – start moving after a really long break.
When we encounter the unknown, most of us get scared, afraid and start closing down. We hide in our bunkers (which are of course very comfortable) in the company of our close, beloved ones and wait for better times – hopefully coming soon.
History repeats itself. All this is starting to remind me of a re-enactment of the Theophany from the Book of Exodus.
There are rumours that it might be Gaia who is trying to get rid of us. No doubt we made her upset, we have gone too far – too deep with our tools, too high with our fumes, garbage and speculations. Transforming the landscape till we hit the autoimmune button when we are no longer welcome – our symbiotic contract has been violated. When I look at your landscape of the melting snow, I wonder how to explain to you what a nuclear meltdown is?
My eyes are burning, I forget to blink while looking at the screen, trying to zoom into your painting of that certain picnic. Now, gathering is banned, no matter if in nature or in clubs. Most of these places are closed down now anyway as some of the borders from time to time.
There is this cathedral next to us and also a park in front of our home. We moved here because we liked the neighborhood but since then we have never visited that cathedral, and the park became also just a passage. I guess we didn’t go there ‘cause it’s so close, and if you can reach something anytime it might lose its attraction? Now everybody’s craving for these parks and local churches, cheap flight tickets, expensive flight tickets, or just a disgusting pub, whatever.
I guess at the moment you’re a jet-setter compared to us…
I was walking my dogs the other day and we came across a field of conspicuously well-maintained grass. Rough, fairway, green, tee and the driving range with all those yellow and white spots on it. Like your poppy fields with all your bourgeois friends strolling around in those pictures. Have you ever tried golf by the way? You can enter these exclusive, vast landscapes if you are a member of a certain club. You have to follow strict rules even concerning your clothing. Every other public space, sports facilities and playgrounds are closed down at the moment, except these clubs… A ball landed just a few feet from us. Obviously, the dogs took the ball and we vanished.
A few days later we went back. The weather was perfect, there were many players on the field. We took the courage to enter and asked for a tour. After a few distrustful questions, we were allowed to go around guided by one of the greenkeepers. He was actually quite nice and only asked me to curb the dogs. He also explained everything about the club and the rules of the game. He told me about his duties and how precious the green itself is – which is the smoothest and softest part of the field and where the hole, the goal is located. The estimated value of such a green is almost the same as the starting price of one of your latest paintings at last summer’s auction! Outrageous!
Later I learnt that it’s almost impossible to guard this value. Wild boars dig the green from the top while moles undermine it and birds come for the fine seeds as well – a constant struggle.
In 1883 you were showing Skylark accompanied by some of your new paintings in the Künstlerhaus, Vienna. The critics were quite harsh, mostly regarding the “brutal palette” (especially the greens). While I am looking at your Skylark on my calibrated computer screen (itchy, dry eyes) I wonder if it was really just about the colour and the authority of those people? Maybe the CRI of the Künstlerhaus’ light system wasn’t the best? (sorry, you probably don’t know that CRI means “colour rendering index” and is a quantitative measure of the ability of a light source to reveal the colours of various objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source – in this case, and in most cases – sunlight.) In the end, you placed some grass bricks in front of the painting and thus the critics relented. Beautiful story. I always think of it as one of the first creative interventions, an example of expanded painting with a hint of institutional critique, huh!
RELATED COLOUR THEORY
We have many plants at home. This is really common these days and so the business of artificial lighting specialized on our beloved green pets has grown to so far unknown dimensions. Most of those lights are purple, with low CRI, quite disturbing for the human eye. I just learnt that this is due to economic reasons as red and blue chips of an LED system are the cheapest and are still sufficient in stimulating plants. Yet, purple light does not have any wavelength! You can perceive it by extracting the green from the visible spectrum. Is this why plants are green? They don’t need that certain wavelength so they reflect it back? On the other hand, if you take an infrared picture of a landscape (technical stuff, don’t ask…), most of the time the green colour of plants is rendered purple. Weird, isn’t it? All of the theories on colour fail here.
I need to find a way to incorporate this into my movies. And also how a landscape looks like for others. For those who can perceive the UV spectrum maybe?
In the cyclic periods of gardening, the time of the harvest is the peak point. A harvest is celebrated and celebration overrides the basic rules, giving space to the imagination. Agriculture and myths come hand in hand.
In some cultures, snakes were symbols of fertility. For example, the Hopi people of North America performed an annual snake dance to celebrate the union of Snake Youth (a Sky spirit) and Snake Girl (an Underworld spirit) and to renew the fertility of Nature. With fully loaded weapons of mass fertilization, we have driven out all the snakes and probably all the spirits too. There is nothing left in the poppy fields, just the promise of the opiate.
A few years ago the demolition of a long-abandoned recreational facility started. It’s been reported that 5 new species of mantis were discovered on site, living in an optimal microcosmic accompanied by new types of plants as well. The utopian project failed to serve its original purposes, thus becoming the home of some other culture, a culture harvesting on our debris.
There is a neighborhood of prefab buildings surrounded by highways from three sides. In the fourth direction, an 18-hole golf club is hidden between the hills. People of the colony were unaware of this until they started to go up sunbathing on the rooftops of the concrete blocks. A rumour started, and word of the conquest went viral. They armed and masked themselves, planning the whole reclaim. The reclaim of the green. There was supposed to be blood.
I just woke up. Tonight there’s a supermoon called Hunter’s moon.
Modern golf balls have a structured surface of dimples. One would expect that something smooth can travel through space much easier. But in fact, a smooth surface creates a void behind itself and leads to a wake vortex which drags the object backwards. A stronger drive results just in a more stubborn physical resistance. Dimples actually break the monolithic turbulence into smaller forces and result in a more regular spin. This is why your modern golf ball flies further and faster, with more control.
We have probably reshaped the surface of the Earth too much already. What would happen if we would mold it into a shape similar to a golf ball, would we spin and travel through space faster? And time as well? If there would be an atmosphere, the Moon with its many craters would probably be one of the Pro V1X-es of the planets? Can you imagine the core of the Earth? Do you know, what’s inside a golf ball?
Hardly anyone knows, but one of the longest golf drives was carried out by Alan Shepard on the 6th of February, 1971, on the Moon. Or more precisely, on the landing site of Apollo 14. He made three attempts and even the best one was quite bulky. Finally, the ball landed almost 300 yards further away. It’s a record that’s gone unchallenged on the Moon for 50 years now! One more anniversary that no one cares about.
If Pluto has reclaimed its status as an official planet of the Solar System, there are 9 balls in the game and just one black hole.
I beg for your pardon that we forgot about you in this chaos! And yet, please welcome my belated greetings and best wishes from the gates of hell 2.0, Happy anniversary!