Kitti Gosztola



"Casting" the etchings, Gosztola exploits the very orgainc associatios they gerenrate by making a dense steel sturcture, reminiscent of the world tree –
and possibly suggesting further natural structures (corals, stalactites). The way Gosztola relates these old etchings and topoi with the contemporary, the Anthropocene, may remind of Aby Warburg detecting the ecstatic nymph in Manet’s art or palpating the fierce psychic mechanisms of Luther and the counter-reformation era in WWI propaganda. Gosztola’s orgainc formations thus can be interpreted as critical pathosformels of the technological civilisation, reaching from the early modern ages to the latest industrial revolution.


There is, however, a less pathos-laden – art historical – genealogy to this cluster of shapes, recalling the history of the abstraction and surrealism.[…] For in the fifties, Sztálinváros came to be the epicenter not only Hungarian steel industry but also of Hungarian visual culture. […] This total reformulation, bordering on asceticism, found one of its major antagonists in Western hedonism, consumer culture, something dialectical materialism vied to negate not only through pedagogical but also philosophical arguments. Nonfigurative art – esoteric, abstract and mostly harmless – fell a victim to this campaign. […] After 1945, it was György Lukács leading the charge against the irrational and anti-materialist ideas of surrealism, going beyond ridiculing the books of Béla Hamvas and Ernő Kállai and trying to make them seem alarming. This despite in A természet rejtett arcai ("The Hidden Faces of Nature") Kállai simply aimed to answer earlier criticism by legitimizing abstraction as a different kind of realism: the depiction of reality’s physical and biological structure, hiden to the naked eye. […]


Bioromanticism (bioromantika) however pointed back not only to Goethe and Schopenhauer but bundled the surrealists’ biomorphism with the vitalist (Hand Driesch, Edgar Dacqué) and life-philosophical (Henri Bergson, Ludwig Klages) critique, a capital offfense in communist ideology. And the fact that it was the techno-romanticism, the new, technological sublime of the Bauhaus and Moholy-Nagy which Kállai originally contrasted with a bio- romanticism transcended by the organic shapes and the irrational depths of the psyche – all in the hope of superseding the partial notions of nationalism and populism with universal ideas – becomes newly thrilling in Gosztola’s contemporary ecological perspective.


(Sándor Hornyik, art historian, critic)