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Burai Retrospective Memorial Exhibition

The MODEM Centre for Modern and Contemporary Art celebrates the 70th anniversary of the birth of István Burai, a painter, graphic artist, and sculptor from Debrecen, who died in 2017, with a retrospective exhibition. The commemorative exhibition will open on 13th November and will run until 20th February 2022.

István Burai (1951-2017) was influenced by Béla Kondor and Lajos Szalay in his early ink drawings, and his painting was inspired by the works of Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, and György Kovásznai, while he created his own means of expression for his world of images, which he built with rigour and consistency. The distinctive Burai characteristics are easily recognisable, but the richness of the technical experiments in his oeuvre has been less well explored. The exhibition also includes his early paper engravings, his realistic landscapes with a plan air effect, his sensitive, abstractly demanding panel paintings, and his free canvases.

Burai’s active professional career, during which he organised numerous national and international exhibitions, was a leader of artists’ associations and professional organisations, has left a significant legacy in terms of his artistic work. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the birth of the Debrecen painter, graphic artist, and sculptor, the MODEM Centre for Modern and Contemporary Art will guide the public through the most significant stages of István Burai’s career with a retrospective exhibition and catalogue.

The world into which we are born is a complex, rich, and often extreme world that tests us daily; whether we are aware of it or not. In all circumstances, man seeks a place where he can feel safe. The artist wants to create a new contextual process, which cannot be created by anyone else, out of the effects of the diversity of the perceptible world, and each one of us attempts to do this with his or her painting, writing or music. Successful work is a concentrated unfolding of the unconscious that can produce the product we call art. A white surface in front of us contains all the elements of life, tragedy, humour, colour, grey, grotesque, and rationality. We know all of these, but how the lines and colours of the artist’s inner subconscious energy give meaningful results, we can only guess. Experiences lived, whether pleasant or not, are stored in the mind, and we can feed on this stored knowledge when it is expressed in images.

István Burai
Painter and Graphic Artist