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Géza Perneczky

The Art of Reflection
Conceptual Photography

Géza Perneczky is a protagonist of Hungarian conceptual art and part of the Hungarian Neo-Avant-Garde. In 1970 the artist, art historian, art critic and author emigrated to Cologne, where he lives and works until today.

Edited by Patrick Urwyler, this publication is the first comprehensive presentation of Géza Perneczky’s conceptual photography, the artist realized between 1970–75 as a dissident in Germany. The experiences of this period and Perneczky's self-conception as an artist and art historian characterize these early works. In his introductory essay the art historian David Fehér aptly describes Perneczky as a "critic of art" and "artist of critique," his conceptual practice correspondingly as "The Art of Reflection".

Important part of this publication is Perneczky's 1983 essay “How Can There Be Avant-garde If We Don't Have One – and Vice Versa” – now for the first time available in English. In this essay Perneczky describes and contextualizes all artworks within art history, his practice as an artist and his early years in Cologne. The book further contains a documentation of the past exhibition at Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center in Budapest 2019.

The publication is published and distributed by Verlag für moderne Kunst

Patrick Urwyler
Art Historian, Editor and Studio Manager of Géza Perneczky

Géza Perneczky, The Art of Reflection
Conceptual Photography, 1970–75
Patrick Urwyler
Verlag für moderne Kunst
Illustre Grafik Büro
David Fehér, Géza Perneczky
Daniel Sipos, Andrea Giuliano
English, hardcover, 180 pages
215 x 303 mm, 233 images, € 38.–
Concepts like Commentary, Anti-Reflex, no. 2,1971

Like many other artists who worked in the field of conceptual art in the 1970s, I was looking for a basic motif as a starting point that could replace the entire cosmos of fine art, and I found this – very simply – in the word “art”.

I thought that the concept of “art cosmos” – which could stand for the entire realm of art and all its conceivable forms – could be most easily illustrated by the word “art” written on a little ball.

Quote by Géza Perneczky from his introduction to the “Art Ball Series”.

Art and artistic creation appears in Perneczky’s photo-based artworks as playful experimentation, or to paraphrase Friedrich Schiller: as the “free play of the imagination.”

At the same time, the close-up reflection of the distant window evokes the melancholy sentiment of longing, while the fragility of bubbles and their vacuity filled with heavy content reflects on doubts and dilemmas pertaining to the end of art. The “art bubbles” are perhaps the most important pieces of Perneczky’s oeuvre, enriched with newer and newer layers of meaning today as in the years of the Cold War.

Quote by David Feher from his essay “The Art of Reflection” as an introduction to this publication.