105 x 116 x 2 cm
Plexiglass on fiberboard, aluminum profile
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by Das Progressive Museum Basel
For Imre Kocsis (born 1937 in Karcag, Hungary, died 1991 in Kaltenherberge, Germany), the path to art was indirect. He completed training as a heating engineer when he was sixteen, after which he did odd jobs and worked as a purchasing agent. More or less by chance, he began to take evening classes in drawing, while attending night school at the same time. In 1956, he took part in the Hungarian Revolution and was forced to leave his home country. He immigrated to Germany, where he began working at a shipyard in Hamburg while continuing drawing lessons at night. In 1958, he enrolled at the Hochschule für bildende Künste (Academy of Art) in Hamburg, where he later became an assistant for graphic techniques from 1960 to 1962. He then lived in France for some time at the beginning of the 1960s, before moving his studio to Munich and then to Düsseldorf in 1971. Throughout his life, Kocsis was continually inspired by visiting new cities. He worked in a guest studio at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam twice in 1978 and 1982, and he spent six months at the P.S. 1 in New York in 1980 as a recipient of an artist’s grant from the City of Düsseldorf and the Poensgen Foundation. In 1985, he became a visiting professor for sculpture at the Reykjavik School of Visual Arts.
Prior to 1967, Kocsis developed his work in the context of graphic art, collage, drawing, and painting, all the while searching for direction and oscillating between representational, abstract, and informal styles. From 1968 on, his oeuvre was strictly Constructivist, and he received much recognition in Constructivist and Concrete circles. Kocsis consistently used a black and white color palette with simple, basic geometric forms, with which he investigated the various possibilities of repeating and varying individual pictorial elements in serial rows, in a gravitational pull toward the center, or reflecting across an axis. He played with disorienting optical “irritations,” positive and negative forms, as well as spatial effects. The work in the collection of the Museum Haus Konstruktiv hints at cube-like shapes that seem to merge with black, cylindrical elements, with contrasting white circles generating an additional dynamic.
At the end of the 1970s, Kocsis’s works became more three-dimensional, taking the form of beam-like elements made of particleboard that are painted black and positioned in a seemingly random arrangement either on the floor, leaning against a wall, or mounted onto the wall’s surface. They redefine the surrounding architecture as well as the “space in-between” the work and the beholder. Through his installation-like arrangements and pictures, Kocsis thus continued to challenge beholders’ habits of seeing.