Géza Perneczky –
Protagonist of the Hungarian Neo-Avant-Garde
*1936, Keszthely, Hungary
Perneczky is a protagonist of the Hungarian conceptual art, his early conceptual works and also his publications had a catalyst role on the Hungarian neo-avantgarde tendencies. Since 1970 Géza Perneczky lives and works in Cologne and was an important mediator between the Hungarian/Eastern European and the international art scene. On the international scene he became known as one of the founder of the post-fluxus mail art movement, which also defined the character of his conceptual works.
The oeuvre of Géza Perneczky is divided into work groups. The most prominent work group is the conceptual photography together with experimental film (1970–1975). This early work group was accompanied by rubber stamp art in the form of artist’s books created between 1973 and 1984. Most of Perneczkys’ artist’s books were distributed in A4 folders containing small series of 8 sheets showing stamped concepts for Little Objects (1973), Slience (1974), Bird Twitter (1980), Secret (1980), etc. From 1973 Perneczky participated more intensively in the international post-fluxus movements – as an artist and dedicated chronicler.
From 1984 onwards, Perneczky became increasingly involved in painting. In an intense three years period between 1984 and 1987, he painted more than 800 so called String Pictures (also know as Works from the Poll). The String Pictures are a large series of painted canvas, paper and wood works raging from small pieces to a monumental scale of up to 2 × 10 meters. Most of the time produced with custom paint rollers – used for wallpaper designs – the artist created “pictures” that transformed the miniature scale of the rubber stamp art into a “grand art” and “monumental” genre.
From1987 to 1994 the artist created The Story of the Colorful Ribbons, a series of conceptual book objects made from wood, cardboard and ribbons. Instead of text, the structure of the various strings threaded through the “books” give the meaning. The sequence of the resulting spinning pattern stands for the story, which is tantamount to a time-based and rhythmically articulated manifestation – like music.
Géza Perneczky’s works can be found in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), The Museum of Modern Art (New York), Franklin Furnace Archive (New York), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Getty (Los Angeles), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakau MOCAK, National Gallery Prague, Ludwig Museum (Budapest), Hungarian National Gallery (Budapest), Museum of Fine Arts Budapest, King St. Stephan Museum (Székesfehérvár), etc.
Works of Géza Perneczky have been exhibited internationally in the Centre Pompidou (Paris), The Museum of Modern Art (New York), The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Museum of Conceptual Art (San Francisco), Secession (Vienna), Kölnischer Kunstverein and DuMont Kunsthalle (Cologne), Frankfurter Kunstverein, Oldenburger Kunstverein, Olomouc Museum of Art, National Museum Warsaw, the In-Out Center and Stempelplaast (Amsterdam) and in Hungarian institutions as well, such as the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center, the Vasarely Museum, Ludwig Museum, King St. Stephan Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest Gallery, Art Pool Budapest, etc.
In 2016, Perneczky donated his important Soft Geometry Archive to the Center for Artist Publications at the University of Bremen (Weserburg). Perneczky has been steadily expanding the internationally important Soft Geometry Archive in Cologne since the early 1970s. It comprises approximately 10,000 artistic positions in assemblages, graphics, collages, photographs, and correspondence.
In 2006 he received the Great State Award (Széchenyi Price), which is a prize given by the Hungarian State in recognition of those who have made an outstanding contribution to academic life in Hungary.