Judit Szabadi
The gesture as the Artist’s Self-Awakening


Endre Tót’s art has two lenses constantly disturbing, blurring, and at the same time, brightening up and sharpening each other, whose focal points keep hovering in the pliant and highly sensitive magnetic field enveloping his creative self. Through one lens you see nothing but Endre Tót himself in his full intensity, filled perfectly by himself, in a state in which the standard measure – be it applied to creative behaviour or aesthetic value – is none other than himself.

Working constantly at risk automatically entitled Tót to make do with himself, not having to recognize anyone as more authentic than him or not having to subject himself to that person. His exhibitionism also cast that into deeper relief; his self-exposure shows through at every step, just as in all his seemingly impersonal conceptual works his own all-pervading self of paramount importance always pushes in. The ’I am glad...’ turn naturally fits into this narcissistic role, just as it was also self-evident to stamp his own smiling portrait surrounded with flying locks of hair all over with his seal.

While he attended to himself in this highly egocentric manner, he was also able to pay attention to everything. ... Actually this ability is behind the other lens of Endre Tót’s art whose effect is working in another direction away from being stuck or tied to himself, to narcissistic idolatry: it is rather towards opening, constant restarting where besides the individual shrunken to a simple observer, immense spaces open up for the absorption of new inspirations, strange suggestions and unusual artistic mentalities. Now it is obvious that underlying Endre Tót’s sharp turns, 'death leaps' as it were, was not the motivation of self-apotheosis but something at least on equal par with his own personality if not more powerful. At any rate, the effort to eschew a distressing anachronism, the dillema of eternally ’belated’ Hungarian art seems to be of an identical magnitude with his form-creating invention. The need lived through as destiny to breathe together with international art compelled him constantly to break away, to be in a prolonged state of rootlessness, to create in himself tabula rasa time and time again – that is, to reach an emptied state which prepared the ground in him for the reception of something new.

(source: Endre Tót: Nothing ain’t nothing retrospective 1965-1995., Műcsarnok, Budapest, 1995. pp. 7-9.)

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