Éva Bodnár, born in 1952 in Budapest, has been living in Vienna since 1975. Her painting and drawing, depicting dynamic scenes, such as those from TV films, began to draw widespread attention in the early 1980s: The woman among the Neue Wilde.

Between 1981 and 1990, Galerie Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman showcased five solo exhibitions of Bodnár’s work in Innsbruck. She exhibited in the Secession in 1989 and 2000, and in 1993, Hans-Ulrich Obrist invited her to his kitchen exhibition in St. Gallen. Leading collections like the Generali Foundation, EVN, Centre Pompidou, and FRACs have acquired blocks of her work. In the 2000s, she created small-scale works and works on paper, but it was only in 2012 that Bodnár returned to working on canvas. With two new series of works, her 2023 exhibition “Gyere, gyere” (Come, come) at Galerie Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman in Vienna is marking a significant point in her evolving career.

The central question of how to paint what one doesn’t consciously think is at the heart of Bodnár’s working process. She contemplates the effectiveness of her artistic choices, her creative agency, and her skills. Throughout her life, Bodnár grapples with the question of her own abilities — what she can achieve without artificial aid, through her own abilities, without tricks or hidden agendas, and how much she can accomplish on her own before reaching a point of stagnation without additional contributors.

Bodnár’s wealth of experience and her mastery of composition and technique allow her to be a fearless explorer of her own creative process. She consistently challenges herself with various constraints, sometimes self-imposed and at other times dictated by external factors, such as time or space limitations, testing her self-discipline. This specific form of stress, in combination with the deliberate use of chance, which requires good and clear decision-making, ensures a strong and composed presence in her work. In this sense, Bodnár injects herself with a healthy dose of excitement, which is clearly visible in her vibrant and energetic creations.

On November 10th, conversation between Florian Waldvogel, Director of the Modern Collection Ferdinandeum, Tiroler Landesmuseen and Éva Bodnár in the exhibition.

Excerpts from a conversation ↱