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A Retrospective Exhibition by László Lakner Opens at Modem

The MODEM Centre for Modern and Contemporary Art in Debrecen invites you to an exhibition of extraordinary importance. On 28th May 2022, a retrospective exhibition of László Lakner, one of the most important representatives of the Hungarian neo-avant-garde, will open. The exhibition, which will be open until 11th September and curated by art historian Dávid Fehér, will present the artist’s oeuvre spanning more than 40 years.

László Lakner is one of the most important artists of the Hungarian neo-avant-garde: his art is characterised by thematic and stylistic diversity and continuous experimentation. Within his oeuvre, radically different stylistic tendencies fit together, but they do not exclude, but rather complement each other. Some of Lakner’s work can be linked to surrealism, pop art, photorealism, conceptualism, informal painting with a scriptural character, and then a post-conceptual approach to painting – loosely geometric, often letter and text-based – becomes increasingly pronounced in his oeuvre.

The work of László Lakner entitled Obediently from the collection of the Szent István Király Museum in Székesfehérvár

László Lakner’s retrospective exhibition at MODEM in Debrecen provides a broad overview of his oeuvre from the early surrealist period of the late 1950s and early 1960s to Pop Art, through new figurative works akin to photorealism, conceptual photography, and book objects of the 1970s, to the increasingly expressive character of his writing-based paintings of the 1980s, and his post-conceptual and scriptural paintings of the 1990s to the present day.

The exhibition is the largest survey of László Lakner’s extremely rich oeuvre on a large scale since the Ludwig Museum in Budapest’s Metamorphosis 2004-2005. In his works, Lakner often places himself in historical situations, identifies himself with important figures in cultural history, and thus models historical-social situations. The title Alter ego also refers to the multiple games of identification and thus to the dynamics of stylistic and motif changes. The exhibition will allow the various groups of works to be read together, thus revealing the hidden connections in the polyphonic oeuvre and the complex network of motifs and references.


László Lakner, who has been living in Germany since 1974, is one of the most important artists not only in Hungary but also on the international art scene. He has exhibited three times at the Venice Biennale (1972, 1976, 1990), as well as at the Documenta in Kassel in 1977, the Sydney Biennale in 1979, the German Critics’ Prize in 1976, and the Kossuth Prize in 1998. His works are in the collections of the most important national public collections, including the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, the Berlinische Galerie, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, the Museum Folkwang in Essen, the Ludwig Forum in Aachen, the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam and the Galeria degli Uffizi in Florence.

In Hungary, the Museum of Fine Arts – Hungarian National Gallery has the largest collection of his works. In 2020 he donated around 40 of his works to the Museum of Fine Arts’ Post-1800 Collection.

The Museum of Fine Arts is a partner of the Modem exhibition. A catalogue of essays by international authors will accompany the exhibition. The exhibition is curated by Dávid Fehér.

The exhibition is open until 11th September 2022.