New Tendencies in Figurative Painting
A figuratív festészet nemzetközi tendenciái
Fine art exhibition at MODEM Center for Modern and Contemporary Art, Debrecen, Hungary | 2012
Curator: Jane Neal
The exhibition takes its title from a short story written by Isaac Asimov in 1941 about the possible effect of darkness on the human psyche. The plot centres on a planet that has known only constant illumination from its six suns. An archaeologist finds evidence that once every two thousand years, there is a complete breakdown of civilisation that coincides with a cyclical eclipse of the planet’s only visible sun, resulting in a night of total blackness; they believe this phenomenon is about to reoccur.
Asimov’s story resonates with many artists, particularly painters, working today. Call it restlessness, or an obsession with seeking out something tangible amidst uncertainty, but the majority of the featured artists of Nightfall are expressly known for their tendency towards darkly atmospheric, uneasy subject matter: charged exchanges, threatening situations, disturbing imagery and often dark and muted tones. As these artists were born during the Cold War and are working in a climate that has been described as ‘The Dawning of the New Dark Ages’, we should not be surprised that they reflect something of the anxiety that has settled like a mantle over the world’s skies. With growing concerns over the global economy, political tensions and an increasing tendency towards autocracy in certain, powerful countries, the world is troubling.
However, Nightfall is testimony to what art can do when people refuse to blind themselves to the darkness, as though many of the works in the exhibition are challenging, they are also uplifting in their celebration of paint.
© the artists