Gábor Koós

  • Slovakia (b. 1986 in Lucenec)
  • Currently in Budapest, Hungary.



My work is about preserving. I record and document personally relevant issues, objects and places. This ap- proach is in line with diary-writing and it grew out organically from a travel, during my time as an artist in residence in Glasgow. Being away for the first time and being on my own, it became very important for me to document my experiences, which were in a way mirroring my independency.

I wanted to find the most simply, most direct way of preserving. And I also wanted that my work reflects my personal affection to the documented object. From this motivation two techniques emerged, which both are deeply rooted in the tradition of printmaking, but in a sense also completely negate this tradition. The first approach was direct printing by using frottage technique: I basically (over)painted my object, which became the matrix and with printing it on paper I could save the traces of people around me, grass in the park or a piece of stone etc. I compiled this prints in an artist book, the Glasgow diary.

The other approach, that I first time elaborated for my diploma work, is based on woodcut technique. Large scale woodcuts allow me to preserve and transmit the experience and monumentality of bigger objects - in case of my diploma, Glasgows towers. The towers in Glasgow, dominate the city landscape with their size, they had an overwhelming, almost mesmerizing effect on me. Based on my own photos I made woodcuts about three Glasgow towers. I arranged the works as an installation, where I placed the print on the wall and the cor- responding matrix to its feet, lying on the floor. Showing print and its matrix together evokes a shadow effect, which not only reflects the monumentality of these towers but also my thinking about printmaking. Although woodcutting is a reproductive technique, I strictly produce unique prints: that’s why the matrix and the print form the artwork as a unity. To treat matrix and print both as unique and original objects reflects the prob- lematic of copy and original, which is inherent in any printmaking process. The self chosen restriction to make only one print from a matrix is also a statement, which contrasts the nature of printmaking.

In my latest Budapest diary series I combined these two ways of documenting. Using the woodcut based in- stallation format I „printed” and reconstructed my personal environment: the courtyard of my first own flat, the street, where I live and the metro train I use every day on my way to my studio. The Budapest diary preserves my way towards an autonomous life. To capture the ambivalence of feelings, which belong to this process I frottage-printed objects, like my water- and gas-meter, which became a symbol for paying bills, or the wall of the Hungarian Kunsthalle, where I exhibited my award-winning artwork and which became a memory of my first success in art. In my future work I want to push this ways of documenting further, in preserving complete spaces and environments. In my recent work I challenge my approach, trying to develop it in space and 3 dimensions.

In my next installation I use the symbol of hunting, which has biographical relevance for me, throughout my father, who is a professional hunter. Recent news now tell, that my“family” forest in Slovakia will be taken away from the local hunters.This news brought up the idea to document one area of this forest. Following my artistic practice, I want to save my and my father’s memories over time by reproducing the forest as precise as possible. Throughout the symbol of hunting I also reflect on recent developments on the art market, which this way again gets integrated into my personal diary.