After working for 30 years in Toronto, artist Tibor Hargitai returns to his hometown Budapest to bring his captivating vision to Hungary, and to the visitors of S/ALON BUDAPEST 2021. By diving into the work of Tibor we dive into a mysterious world where time, space and the human experience form an infinitely interconnected network of reality. This is reality, says Tibor, who has been fascinated by life itself and the differences - or, rather, the similarities - between us all. We sat down with him and asked him 10 questions so that we could look into the mind and workings of a renowned contemporary creator.
For those who are not familiar with your work: how can you sum up what you do in one sentence?
I am asking questions as a visual artist about Time-Space-Life, sometimes in an unconventional and thought-provoking way.
How different are the two realities of Toronto, Canada and Budapest, Hungary?
After more than three decades living and working in a number of multicultural metropolises, meeting tens of thousands of people and sharing my canvas with many of them, my philosophy remains the following: "We are all the same, just different ways”.
Did your family have a background in arts, or was that something you discovered on your own?
Inherited talent is only part of what makes a good visual artist. It is more important how one observes and interprets life. In my family, pretty much everybody was always very talented and they inspired me greatly. I’m probably the least talented of them all.
One of your main subjects is the relation between time, space and life. How do these serious subjects inspire your work?
Put simply, I wanted to paint everything, and this is only possible if I start at the very basics of it all: time, space and life.
Interactivity plays a huge part in your creations and exhibitions. Why is it so important for you that people come in personal contact with your work?
Art is always interactive, whether it’s a performance or an installation. Sometimes we have to change perspectives to recognize this. We are always interlaced with everything and everyone. My work makes it easier to see how we are all connected. I wanted to go to the basics and find the simplest way to show it. This is how DOTART came to life.
DOTART is a concept you call an "evolutionarily new philosophy in art". Why is it so groundbreaking?
The DOTART philosophy is so simple and down to the point it encapsulates everything for me. One way to describe it is as a sound. It can have one single source yet spreading in all directions in space at an equal rate to fill it up with music. A DOTART painting always produces the same results, but in different ways. It is an equalizer, like a skull. Makes everyone equally important!
DOTART paintings also react to the environment and record some of the public consciousness at a given time and space, and for that reason, a time capsule is created. It makes the time-space-life triangle visible. It is evolutionary and revolutionary, since it was founded on previous milestones of visual art. A hundred years after Malevich’s black square Suprematism, in 2014, we reached Supersuprematism with DOTART.
Why have skulls become so prominent in your latest work, and what does this rather ominous shape represent?
Skulls represent life. No skull exists without life. I started to use the motif the very day theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking died in 2018. He was very cautious about artificial intelligence. A.I. that we create and keep feeding algorithms driven by our greed and selfishness is threatening our very existence. This is why my paintings and sculptures are riddled with lines of binary code.
How are you feeling these days? Did the pandemic and this new way of living change the way you look at the world or your art?
I always feel great, I love living as much as it is possible at any given time. During most of the pandemic I stayed in my spacious studio in Toronto. There, I was given a lot of time and freedom in isolation to reflect on my art and to create.
Who are some other artists that inspire you?
From our time I do think the work of Banksy is relevant, but I never look for inspiration in the works of other artists.
We are very happy to welcome you at S/ALON BUDAPEST 2021! Which side of Tibor Hargitai are we expected to see at the event?
Thank you! I’m very happy to be here and to show some of my latest work from the pandemic period. Talking about sides, 30 years ago in North America I founded my company and named it ARTSIDE. That is the side I always stand on.
The revelatory work of Tibor Hargitai will take new shape at S/ALON BUDAPEST 2021 - be sure to buy your ticket today, and don’t miss out on the new horizons of contemporary art and interior design at the Budapest Arena between September 24-26!