Among the youngest contemporary artists in Romania, we should mention Kentelki Gábor, who just opened a new personal painting exhibition at the Megyeháza Galéria in Miercurea Ciuc on 02.03.203.
It’s worth getting to know him better to find out what he has to offer as an artist.
Kentelki shared with us his experiences and told us details about his life as a young painter. He talked to us about the possibilities and difficulties, the beauty and difficulty of his work and what drives him to continue making art in the contemporary landscape.
How did you get in touch with Romanian contemporary art?
My connection to contemporary art in Romania is largely based on my own experiences: from attending creative camps to visiting contemporary art exhibitions. When I came to Bucharest, the contact with art became intense and constant: from college to various exhibitions and events.
Did you exhibit during your studies? Are you currently working or exhibiting?
Yes, during my undergraduate studies at UNARTE I attended several contemporary art exhibitions. Most of the art exhibitions were group exhibitions. I also opened a personal exhibition in Bucharest. This was held at the Liszt Institute – Hungarian Cultural Center in Bucharest in 2019. I had the honor that the exhibition was curated and opened by my teacher Prof. Dr. Marcel Bunea.
I’ am currently working and I think the most important thing is to keep working. I say this because in the past I didn’t work consistently. Now I can say that it’s better to work all the time. I’ve had longer and shorter periods when I didn’t paint. I can feel the break, the differences are obvious.
On this occasion I’ would like to quote two painter friends: “Don’t let a day go by that you don’t work. If you don’t have a chance to paint, at least make drawings, sketches” and also “Painting is no different from any other job: you have to go to the studio every day and work…”
At the time, I didn’t agree with these statements at all. But with time I understood them and they helped me a lot. So I learned from my own experience that it’ really is the only way. From this I conclude that “inspiration”, although I accept it as a term, plays a secondary role for me. I often don’t know what I’m going to do when I get to the workshop. For me, it’ is important to cover the canvas with colors. I learn most through experimentation and experience, and that’s the only way I can develop and improve.
Art exhibitions and especially contemporary art exhibitions are very important for me. Currently I’ have a personal exhibition in Miercurea Ciuc, in the art gallery of Harghita County Council. At the same time, I’ am working for a staff in Bucharest. This will probably come true in May or June 2023.
Do you work only in your studio or do you think that art involves more? Where is your studio located? How did you “build” it?
Art takes more than just time in the studio. The work is just the result of everyday events. It leaves its mark on everything. From an evening with friends, to a trip to the mountains, to a play or an exhibition. Everything leaves traces in the images, directly or indirectly.
Without experiences and memories, there would be nothing left to paint. Currently I work in my studio in Târgu Mureș. Recently, I also have a small studio in Bucharest. After the pandemic broke out, we had to work at home. Like many other contemporary artists, I’ have a space in Tg. Mures. I live in an apartment where oil painting is impossible. Nevertheless, I had a chance. Next to the building Aparts, my parents own a house where currently all the rooms are already used for paintings.
It was interesting to notice the difference between working at the college with other colleagues and working alone. During this time I also did a lot of work outside in the fresh air. Some canvases were too big for a regular room. I improvised and stapled the canvas to the wall of the house. Out of chance and necessity came a very interesting experience. So I could only work when the weather and natural light allowed it.
Back to school vs. the art reality afterwards, how are you actually doing?
I’m trying and I’m trying! There were times when I thought everything would be ideal from now on (exhibitions and sales). I learned that I’ have to be patient and persistent. A few moments of success are no guarantee that it’ will continue. I’ have decided that painting will come first for me. I’ am doing my best to be able to paint. I hope that one day I’ will be able to paint when I want and as much as I want.
Time is of the essence, no excuses: I’ve had a job since my 2nd year of school. I still work to be able to finance my painting. I’ have always believed that a true artist is the one who is able to sacrifice everything for his art. I haven’t made it that far yet.
Back to college vs. reality. Two completely different attitudes. Now I realize how beautiful those days were when I entered the studio of the college in the morning without worries and painted together with colleagues, friends and teachers. In my opinion, this experience is worth the most. I’ve always put exhibitions first. It seems to me the only way to get what I want while doing what I like. It’s especially positive that there are people who appreciate my paintings. That gives me a reason to keep going.
Negative and positive opinions have the same power to build up and tear down. It’ is important to have confidence in my images. It’s important to be happy that I’ve the chance to be among people who trust and support me.
Does art have any meaning at all or is it just a passion and that’s it?
I can’t say that art is something “important” to me. I can’t compare it to anything else: It’s about the image and the rest. I think that the artist has always not understood the relationship between art and the audience. Probably he didn’t even want to understand it. The painter is limited to the moment when his painting leaves the studio. After that, the audience decides if it’ is considered art or if it’ is worth something. The most important thing is that I paint what I like.
Kentelki Gábor (@paintings.kentelki) • Instagram photos and videos