MODEM, Debrecen: The Burden of History

The Burden of History

Retrospective exhibition of Gábor Roskó
28 April – 28 July 2013


Sándor Rózsa Is Arrested by the Wine Commando , 1999-2002, oil on plywood, private property
© Hungart

Gábor Roskó created one of the most exciting oeuvres in figurative painting in the eighties, representing an utterly individual voice on the art scene dominated by newsensuality. Beside his practice as a painter he made a great number of graphics in the nineties while also experimenting with ceramics. His works are populated by biblical kings, classical heroes, celebrities, and figures of historical allusions. This is a truly postmodern oeuvre, which contemplates the narratives of modernity and modernism from the Enlightenment to the war on terror with an ironic sense of aloofness and criticism. Solomon, David, Odysseus, Achilles, King St. Stephen, Descartes, Sándor Rózsa, Madonna, and Cindy Crawford exist in the same fictitious, fragmented, and allegorical painterly space, which brings History itself, and historic reality, alive through its numerous delicate references. Roskó creates not only an exquisite Budapest-based private mythology with his fox-faced David, Sándor Rózsa with the looks of Frank Zappa, and Osama bin Laden depicted as a Persian ruler, but also makes viewers uncertain whether history is real and universal.

The show itself displays Roskó’s life-work from the early gigantic paintings through fine graphics and watercolour to the latest ceramics installations – from the end of the seventies up to the present – mainly based on private collections and the materials of the First Hungarian Visions Collection and the King St. Stephen Museum. The exhibition at MODEM – curated by Sándor Hornyik – first gathers the most important pieces of Roskó’s career of over thirty years; and the catalogue designed to accompany the show attempts to put Roskó’s work into an international perspective that is hallmarked by the artworks of Jeff Koons and Jake & Dinos Chapman beyond merely introducing them.


Minyan , 1993-2003 , installation, high fire ceramics, dimensions variabl,  private property, photo: József Rosta © Hungart

Gábor Roskó graduated from Vocational School of Arts as a goldsmith in 1976, then became a student at Budapest College of Fine Arts as a graphics major. His masters were Ignác Kokas and Károly Raszler. He went on field trips to the Netherlands and Ireland. He had the opportunity to be presented in several individual exhibitions such as in Székesfehérvár (1989), and Budapest Gallery (2000). His works were parts of group exhibitions at Ernst Museum (1984 and 1994), at Kunsthalle Budapest (1986), in Vienna (1988), in Székesfehérvár (1988), in New York (1998), at Hungarian National Gallery (1999), in Rome (2000), at Preview Berlin (2010). The artist was awarded the Munkácsy Prize in 1995. His pieces are on view at King St. Stephen Museum in Székesfehérvár and at Hungarian National Gallery. He has been teaching at the University of Szeged since 2009.

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