Erik Mátrai (1977) graduated from the Painting Program of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in 2004. Apart from the fact that painting remained dominant in his art, he has been working as a multimedia artist and has been active in the genres of video art, photography and installation both in domestic and international platforms. In recent years, his name has been associated with light art, lumino-kinetic art and large-scale installation art. The problems of color theory, the questions concerning the peculiarities of representative and spatial art, his constant dialogue with the tradition of art history and iconography, as well as the investigation of the relationship between the human and the transcendent and the problems of perception are fundamental features of his works.
Mátrai’s latest installation entitled Screen is presented in the frames of his first exhibition held at Liget Gallery. The piece is the current step in the process that had been started directly by the Moving Wall installation, first shown at Bazis Gallery in Cluj in 2019 and at the MMM exhibition at aqb Cellar in Budapest in 2020. The full-room light installation, xyz, was presented at acb Attachment in the summer of 2021. The piece – borrowing its title from the three-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system, thus referring back to the mathematical modelling of spatial relations – aims to explore the space-shaping possibilities of a light plane created by using a single moving light source and fog.
Screen summarizes the conclusions that can be drawn from these works while reducing, simplifying the apparatus used, and condensing the intensity of the effects of the experience. In this case, the plane created by the directed light source is formed from the drifting fog in an empty frame using the proportions of the classical cinemascope. The work simultaneously evokes the aesthetic dilemmas of the depicted reality from Alberti’s window to the significance and metaphysical dimensions of the concepts of absence and emptiness in contemporary art. Screen’s minimalist approach reinforces the usual meditative character in Mátrai’s works, offering the opportunity to immerse ourselves in a spectacle created with the least intervention.