András Mengyán

András Mengyán has born in 1945 in Békéscsaba. In 1968 he took his degree with master grade at the Hungarian Academy of Crafts and Design. In 1981 he won a one-year-long research scolarship by an international competition (ACLS, American Council of Learned Societies, USA). In 1982 he was appointed to run the newly formed Institute for Basic Instructions at the Hungarian Academy of Crafts and Design. Fro 1986 to 1987 he was the advisor of the New York Pratt Institute. From 1990 to 2006 he was the head and professor of the Crossvocational Studies of the Norwegian Bergen State Academy of Arts and Design (University). His task was to direct the Institute for Basic Instruction and to teach the Form Study, Space Study and Problem solving subjects. In 1984  he is asked by the Museum István Király (King Stephen) of Székesfehérvár to organise a large-scale individual exhibition. With its novelty, scale and conception the introduced multimedia environment was the milestone within the fields of the national and international fine arts. He has started the direction line of the computer-guided, projected, programmed space-installation.  Next year he was invited by the Budapest Műcsarnok to introduce his environment, which he extended with two new elements. This was followed by exhibitions in Ankara, Bergen and Oslo, London, New York etc. He is participant and honoured of numerous national and international exhibitions. His works can be found in native and foreign state and private collections. His activity introduced by critiques, studies, reports and monographs. To acknowledge his professional activity, in 2006 the designers prize “Dózsa Farkas András” awards him, in 2007 by Munkácsy-prize (State award), by the Architecture and Art (Kévés Gallery) the “Prize”, and also the Hungarian Széchenyi Academy of Literature and the Arts admits him as a member. He lives and works in Budapest.

Statement (2015)

In order to make my ideas and artworks easier to understand, let’s take an imaginary walk through an imaginary town. On our walk, we experience innumerable things simultaneously. Traffic streams by, people pass us, birds fly overhead, tantalizing smells waft from a bakery shop, the grinding of gears annoys us as we nibble a croissant. As we walk the streets, a great diversity of stimuli bombards us, imparting an overall impression of the town.

How do we arrive at an overall idea of something complex—like this town—that we never seen completely and in the same moment? What kinds of mechanisms create for us a personal, subjective impression? And going a step further, we can even imagine—fiction today, but possible to envision given current technology—that the entire town and all its contents and events are transparent, like an image generated by a CT or PET/CT scanner. The image we see might appear chaotic and unpredictable; however, we can take it in and make sense of it more or less.

Such observations motivated me to investigate three questions:

a. How is it possible to grasp experience about a simultaneously perceived environment in its many layers, integrating perceptions over time to reflect changes in the environment? 

b. Is there is any way to record this type of experience visually?  

c.  Is a three-dimensional structure appropriate to do this?

As we know, perception is a highly complex process. During our walk around town, all of our senses were active and simultaneously registered the events around us. Since our environment was constantly changing and we ourselves were in motion, we perceived large numbers of simultaneous stimuli again and again. We required thousands of such sequences to form an overview of the town. We were able to perceive our surroundings holistically because our brains integrated our perceptions—both simultaneous and sequential—and filled in missing information.

These observations about perception led me to a kind of visual solution in my work, which I refer to as “polyphonic visual space” or “simultaneous spatial view.” For me, “polyphonic visual space” means the harmonization, both simultaneously and in sequence, of events taking place in space, often independent of one other. I searched for terms to help me visualize solutions, for example: stereometric, simultaneity, segmentation, multidimensionality, multiple viewpoints and layering. These ideas expressed visually are present in all of my works either singly or in combination.

And why is a language of geometric form important to me? From the outset of my career I began to investigate Nature since I felt that, beyond its richness and variety forms, I could discover essences or laws with common qualities such as structure, movement, rhythm, intervals, proportions, and so on. Therefore I began to study geometry, one of the most exact sciences. I found geometry and geometric forms to be excellent means to express my ideas visually, thereby avoiding references to specific objects in the natural world. I realized that through geometric forms, I could express anything, creating a new world. Through the interaction of geometric forms I could tell simple and complex “stories” of high aesthetic value that invoked observers' capacities for fantasy and abstract thinking, stimulating their curiosity and inspiring them toward new discoveries and creations.