Artist: Judit Reigl
Exhibition title: Works on Paper 1954-2019
Curated by: Peter Bencze
Venue: Longtermhandstand, Budapest, Hungary
Date: April 11 – May 4, 2022
Photography: All images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Longtermhandstand, Budapest
„Even though my oeuvre is complete in terms of painting, what I draw lately is like a musician’s encore after an exhausting recital… I am tired even before I start, but it feels good to be drawing, and however much strength it saps out of me, it feeds back even more. I draw as I did when I was three years old, everything that’s happened to me since, where I’ve been, what I’ve seen—and what I suppose I see nowadays.”
-Judit Reigl, 2020
Judit Reigl, the Hungarian-born French painter, is recognized as one of the most original artistic figures to have emerged in Europe after World War II. She was, in her own characteristically defiant words, “a woman painter who, for many, paints like a man.” Reigl had an innate distain for borders and boundaries. In 1950, leaving Hungary for Paris braving the minefields, she remained in a virtual “no man’s land” until the end of her days. Reigl’s oeuvre is marked by a complex rhythm of recurrence within progression, and it is unified by her abiding determination to materialize boundless space and unimpeded movement in her art.
The means and the impediments are one and the same: everything depends on manipulating the physical substance of the material and on the action of her own body. She paints and draws her way to and through a problem, and then beyond the comfort of the solution to the next problem. Reigl never sets out to demonstrate a theory of painting, to tell a story, or to exorcise her psyche.
The Surrealist concept of automatism helped her to disengage from the constraints of literary representation and recognize how memory and desire infiltrate her work. Indeed, from her earliest Surrealist images to the abstractions and the resurgent figure, the elements within Reigl’s paintings fly, hover, and soar. This fascination with suspended and mobile forms is often obscured by timeless and timely
Apocalyptic imagery: the low horizons, barren landscapes, toxic skies, swarming beasts, and monstrous birds. And the horsemen: the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse riding towards us heralding the end of times.
The exhibition has been realised in collaboration with Janos Gat Gallery, New York.