Csikász Gallery
We all know this feeling which the painter condensed into the title of his exhibition. What does it mean to Peter Somody?

The date and the venue of the exhibition, in our case is the Csikász Gallery.


Peter Somody had a solo exhibition here in 2006. He knows the exhibition space well, but he comes again to assess and photograph it. He travels back to Pécs. His days are filled with university teaching and late night painting. In his thoughts, in his imagination there are the pictures of the new exhibition. While painting the realization comes again and again: "you want to hurry, but you realize that you are slow" or in brief as the title of the exhibition says: „too slow to hurry”.

This seems simple so far, but the difficulty comes now, because we are not in the gallery, we are not among the pictures - everyone knows the reason for this, I will not go into it. So I have to talk about the paintings in a way that you are not seeing them now, but perhaps it will be a good exercise of imagination for later viewing, seeing, experiencing the paintings. And anyway, you haven’t really come to listen to me, but to look at Somody paintings and meet each other after a long period of confinement. But for reasons of customary law - that is, that a painting exhibition opening consists of one or more painters - in this case Peter Somody -, paintings and an opening man and or woman who speaks - in this case 2, I am László Hegyeshalmi speaking. I am speaking also for reasons of custom, but now for the more important reason, that is Péter Somody asked me to open his exhibition at the House of Arts. The speaker stands before you with a bias, because forty years of friendship and professional discourse make his situation difficult/easy. 

Talking about pictures is a leap into the unknown and I may not be talking about the pictures, but about my experiences and feelings evoked by the pictures. The twenty-seven works in Péter Somody's exhibition in Veszprém were created in 2020/2021 and, with a few exceptions, are now being shown to the public. Somody's new works also show expressive painting language, informal, geometric abstraction. Homogeneous colour surfaces, reductivity and intense use of colour, which are also characteristic elements of Somody's earlier paintings. 

What does the painter do? Writer writes, painter paints. The painter deals with colours and the existence. From these two, in a fortunate case, a picture is made. A good picture in moments of grace. Somody is a good painter, paints good pictures. It is especially true that he is concerned with colours - and forms. The exhibition "too slow to hurry" is for me first of all a colour experience, "Connecting Colours", "Change of Colours", to quote two Somody titles. And the list goes on: "Violet-Green", "Lemon-Violet-Green", "Yellow Light", "Orange", "Red without Space". Colour is a fundamental principle in the work of Peter Somody, but it does not stop there. It makes you feel confused. For him it is not a deliberate distraction, a kind of provocation. No, because he takes his profession seriously, he shares his knowledge of vision with us, he gives it to us. All his pictures prove that vision can be learned and developed, because things are decided in the head and in the heart - in the soul.

Peter Somody does not paint an illusion of space - a central perspetive or an illusion of space with multiple perspectives - yet he "depicts" space - he does not "copy" space, but creates space by covering and displacing forms, by layering amorphous, biomorphic, geometric forms, by combining free gestures and colour bands with engineering precision. It creates the structure and essence of Space. It cuts into the geometric colour-band structure with an organic form. It dissolves and makes the picture plane optically transparent. He builds his universe of images from soft and hard forms, sharp and blurred surfaces. In some of the plexiglas paintings this excision is real, not just illusionistic. One could refer here to the works of earlier 'colleagues', but Somody makes everything into his own work. In the four-square-metre canvas of "Kitchen Still Life" 2009-2021, he disciplines the orange-red gestures in the upper left-hand quarter of the picture with blue-grey-red-yellow-white constructive colour bands. In the painting "Still Life in the Kitchen" the large oval colour fields are counterpointed by a green-yellow raster pattern. 

One of the earliest pieces in the exhibition is the canvas "Different Points of View" from 2009, borrowed from the archive of the "Colour Power" of the PTE Faculty of Arts, constructed with a similar image structure. The large, red-colour-spot-suspensions are supported by a checkerboard or palalerogram structure that creates the image space and dynamic contrast. 

"Somody's oeuvre as a painter is increasingly permeated by reflections on the various modes of vision, a combinatorial exploration of the processes of seeing", Áron Fenyvesi said in his 2018 catalogue "According to the Eye", in his reflections on Somody's exhibition at the Paks Gallery. The painter lives in totality when he talks about vision: "my eyes and my soul", says Péter Somody into the phone, because we are not so far away, but Pécs and Veszprém are still a distance, but only in space, not in soul. 

A real picture, an authentic work of art can only be created by experiencing one's whole being. 

To see how important question we are talking about, I quote György Kepes' thought from his 1944 work The Language of Vision: "The language of vision, as an optical communication, is one of the most effective means of re-establishing the harmonious unity of man and knowledge. The visual language can disseminate knowledge more effectively than any other means of communication. It allows man to express and transmit his experience in an objective form. Visual communication is universal and international: it knows no boundaries of language, vocabulary or grammar..." György Kepes: Languague of Vision 1944.; The Language of Vision 1979.

Peter Somody's biomorphic constructivism continues to be defined by his examination of the process of vision and its visual interpretation, the processuality of painting. His paintings are always multi-layered. Layers, filters and layering, familiar from the computer world, are a defining element of his work and vision. Here I am also referring to digitalisation, while layering has also moved from the analogue, physical reality to the virtual. I won't bore you with this, but a deeper essay on this would be important, but not now. The biomorphic shapes - circles, ellipses, droplet shapes - retain the paint-spattered forms of the earlier paintings and establish a link, a connection, with the paintings of the last fifteen years. 

"A Somody painting is not usually a picture of things." - György Várkonyi, 2006

It is not the "real" objects that become the image, the image becomes the "real" object - I think and say about the paintings of Peter Somody.

"Here and now. Here I am finished." Tandori

I'm opening the exhibition.

Veszprém, 21 May 2021.

László Hegyeshalmi


Péter Somody 'too slow to hurry'
Péter Somody 'too slow to hurry'
Péter Somody 'too slow to hurry'
Péter Somody 'too slow to hurry'
Péter Somody 'too slow to hurry'
Péter Somody 'too slow to hurry'
Péter Somody 'too slow to hurry'
Péter Somody 'too slow to hurry'
Nemzeti Kulturális Alap