Távlatot kapott az élet (A Life in Perspective): The Hungarian-French sculptor Ervin Pátkai (1937-1985)

30 January 2014, 7pm at the HCC

A memorial evening with the Rt. Rev. Róbert Pátkai and Mátyás Sárközi

The Rt. Rev. Róbert Pátkai, brother of the artist and Mátyás Sárközi, a widely respected London-based Hungarian writer, will present a personal account of Ervin Pátkai’s life and career on the occasion that a new book has been recently released about the Hungarian-French sculptor, published by the Pátkai-Talent Program of the Lutheran Secondary School and Art School of Békéscsaba. The Békéscsaba-born Ervin Pátkai, who left Hungary after the 1956 revolution, is remembered through the memoirs of friends, relatives and contemporaries in the book Távlatot kapott az élet (A Life in Perspective).

The twenty-year-old Ervin Pátkai fled from Hungary to France in 1956 and settled in Paris where he soon started his studies at the École des Beaux Arts’ Sculpture Department. After his graduation, he participated in the II. Paris Biennale in 1961 with his monumental public art sculpture, the Kozmosz, for which he was given the Grand Prix of the year. The artwork was purchased and also exhibited for many years by the Musée d’Art Moderne de Ville de Paris. From his grant money, Ervin Pátkai sponsored the Magyar Műhely, the art journal of Hungarian immigrants in France, which was founded by Hungarian artist in 1962.

The public art sculpture works of Ervin Pátkai completely match the leading tendencies of the 1960s emerging post-modern conceptualism. Pátkai’s large-scale ferroconcrete artworks are built around one or more axis with labyrinthine paths, which are comparable to an imagined Tower of Babel. Pátkai was elected as member of the selection committee of the Paris Biennale in 1967, and by this time he had already exhibited at several group and international art shows. He started lecturing at the Université Paris Sorbonne in 1970. Later he was invited as member of the art committee of the new urban construction, ‘Le Pavé Neuf’. His oeuvre has been acknowledged by the French ‘Legion of Honour’ Order. He died unexpectedly in Paris in 1985.

In 2006 the Hungarian University of Fine Art organized an exhibition of Ervin Pátkai’s artworks and this recently released book finally summarizes his unique artistic approach in the context of such already widely appreciated Hungarian immigrants in France as Judit Reigl, Victor Vasarely, Simon Hantai and Tibor Csernus.

Please note that this event is in Hungarian.