Portraits of the Last Golden Age
Portraits of the Last Golden Age is the latest major monograph on the work of Budapest-based artist Attila Szűcs (b.1967, Miskolc, Hungary), one of the leading painters in Hungary today. Following on from his 2016 monograph, Specters and Experiments, published by Hatje Cantz, Portraits of the Last Golden Age features a substantial in- conversation between Szűcs and Sándor Hornyik, an art historian, curator and senior research fellow at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest. ‘Mankind is in an extremely tense situation,’ Szűcs asserts, ‘with the escalation of natural disasters, with artificial intelligence getting out of hand, the world can easily take a dystopian turn.’ During the course of the conversation, the two men discuss topics ranging from portraiture to posthumanism, meditation to metaphysics, intuition to the irrational.
In addition to presenting examples of Szűcs’ accomplished and haunting monochrome works on paper employing materials such as acrylic, charcoal and graphite, the publication features over seventy oil paintings made between 2019 and 2023 depicting dark dreamscapes and transcendental scenes of alternate realities. Disembodied hands grab or caress, as if apparitions from another dimension; sleeping figures exhale multi-coloured breath that verges on the supernatural; long golden hair flows down the side of a bed, pooling on the floor like an uncanny waterfall; heads float in dark water as if decapitated; otherworldly fires rage while apocalyptic explosions highlight environmental disasters and humankind’s seemingly unstoppable drive towards auto-destruction. Szűcs’ work is both an exploration into the human psyche and into the universe itself, much of which is as-yet unknown: quantum worlds and multiverses, the complexities of time and space, and the possibilities of an afterlife. Bleak yet beautiful, dark yet dazzling, Szűcs’ practice asks what painting can bring to twenty-first century thinking and image-making.
Produced by Erika Deák Gallery, Budapest, and co-published by Anomie Publishing, London, the publication features texts in English and Hungarian, translated by Dániel Sipos.
Attila Szűcs (b.1967, Miskolc, Hungary) is an artist based in Budapest. Solo shows include Portraits of the Last Golden Age, Erika Deák Gallery, Budapest, 2023; Duplicated Dreamer, FL Gallery/Wizard, Milan, 2022; Transhuman Etudes, Centrul de Interes, Cluj-Napoca, 2020; Preparing for Lightness, Emmanuel Walderdorff Galerie, Düsseldorf, 2017; and Specters and Experiments, Ludwig Museum, Budapest, 2016. Group exhibitions include Becoming. The force of existence, HAB, Art Center Budapest, 2023; Men, The male body in Robert Runtak’s collection, The South Bohemian Gallery, Hluboká nad Vltavou, Czech Republic, 2022; You know who, Ömer Koç Collection, Abdülmecid Efendi Mansion, Istanbul, 2022; and Ludwig-30-Costumize / Testreszabás, Ludwig Museum, Budapest, 2019.
285 x 235 mm
c. 100 images
RRP: £35 / €40 / $45
UK Release: 14 December 2023
US Release: 25 January 2024
Texts in English and Hungarian
Produced by Erika Deák Gallery, Budapest
Designed by Géza Ipacs
Printed by EPC Nyomda, Budaörs
Co-published by Erika Deák Gallery, Budapest and
Anomie Publishing, London
All images © Attila Szűcs. Courtesy of the artist and Erika Deák Gallery