Layers of Light

Layers of Light

An exclusive exhibition by painter József Bullás

Our latest exhibition, which opens on 28 July 2020, is a special selection from the oeuvre of Munkácsy Prize-winning painter József Bullás, presenting works selected by the artist from a unique perspective.


Spanning several decades of his artistic career, the works on display illustrate the shifting role of manifesting the effects of light in the various creative eras of his abstract painting. His work is characterized by the search for, and adaptation of, connections between different historical, folk or popular motifs. His paintings include layered patterns that can often be expanded infinitely in space or supplemented to form a composition. Key to creating these layers were, on the one hand, the use of lighter tones and, on the other hand, that of more intense coloring to show the effect of radiation.


The curator of the exhibition is art historian Zsolt Petrányi, the head of the Contemporary Collection of the Hungarian National Gallery. The Deák Erika Gallery, based in Budapest, is listed as the professional partner of the Ybl Buda Creative House in organizing the exhibition.


József Bullás graduated from the University of Fine Arts in 1984. His first career steps in the eighties were influenced by “new painting”. His works were first presented at the ‘New Sensitivity’ exhibitions organized by Lóránd Hegyi, reaching both the domestic and international scene almost simultaneously.  At the 1985 Sao Paulo Biennale, he exhibited figurative images as part of the Hungarian group exhibition. However, from then on, he has been preoccupied with the possibilities of abstraction. His early paintings included symbolic shapes that represented the quest for new ways of non-figurative expression. From the very beginning, the repetition and variation of motifs have played an essential role in his art. Series, cycles and even serial numbers used for titles are deeply characteristic of his work. 


To this day, Bullás uses successive methods and techniques, constantly renewing his painting, as if he were expressing the same ideas from different angles. He has earned numerous scholarships and positions, having worked and having been exhibited in several different parts of the world. He spent one year in Paris as a courtesy from the Victor Vasarely Foundation, and he also visited places like Greece, Rome or Frankfurt to enrich his art with the couleur locale. Frisian motifs, oriental rug patterns and blurred neon lights have all been mentioned as inspirations for experiments, designed to look for newer and newer solutions that may spontaneously occur in the process of creation. Bullás regards doing art as a process that increases self-awareness through optical effect. The viewers discover the illusion of spatiality in the images, and the alternation of lighter and darker layers provide extra depth to the image. A contemporary innovator of op art, József Bullás contributes to the exploration of new ways through a more picturesque approach, by adapting the artistic aspirations of the sixties to his own ideas. His painting is a consistent and carefully-designed oeuvre, characterized mostly by an experimental spirit. In spite of the constant experimentation, his paintings have a distinctive character that will make everybody who has seen any of his works to instantly recognize his art.


‘Layers of Light’ is free to visit until 30 August 2020.