29.5 x 84 x 2.5 cm
Acrylic on canvas on fiberboard, wood
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by Das Progressive Museum Basel
Konfigurative Kette I [Chain configuration I]
(Hommage à Albers) [Homage to Albers]
After graduating from the Hungarian University of Applied Arts, Attila Kovács (born 1938 in Budapest, HU) immigrated to Germany in 1964 to study at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart. Since then, he has been conducting precise pictorial research focusing on structural issues and their visualization through multi-dimensional systems. His work comprises drawing, painting, as well as sculpture and is primarily defined by continuous structural changes that juxtapose fixed conditions in potentially infinite operations with a temporal element and/or processes. The latter function according to the principle of addition by rejecting the practice of separation. Constructivist and without a purpose, they simultaneously break with all remnants of composition. This approach is combined with two other references: First, the non-Euclidian geometry that János Bolyai from Hungary helped to found and that goes beyond all traditional two-dimensional and three-dimensional concepts; and second, the structuralist ideas that were highly topical at the time as represented by Max Bense in Stuttgart, for example.
The Museum Haus Konstruktiv added Kovács’s early work «Konfigurative Kette 1 (Hommage à Albers)» to its collection in 2005 when it acquired works from the “Progressives Museum Basel” collective, which existed from 1968 to 1974. This work is an excellent example of the artist’s sequential working method. In a kind of axonometric projection, a square is transformed into a complex sequence of compartments that seem spatial and that permeate each other. Like the “Structural Constellations” of Josef Albers, who is referred to in the subtitle, the sequences could perhaps work as two-dimensional entities, while on the three-dimensional level they are instable and often not feasible.
Attila Kovács focused on these and other characteristics already in his early theoretical essays. He also introduced the term “transmutative plasticity” into his methodology. This is a structuring process in which qualities stand for themselves – in other words, they take their purest form – while at the same time continuously changing their shape. Herein lies the source of the author’s creative involvement, which cannot be subsumed under method.