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Márton Nemes: City In The Sky

6 May 2022 - 4 June 2022



“I am amazed by the way Hong Kong is constantly growing in its geographically available space by penetrating deeper and deeper underground and higher and higher towards the sky.” – Márton Nemes

Born in Hungary and currently based in New York, Márton Nemes is a multimedia artist who creates paintings, sculptures, installations and sounds. City In The Sky marks the artist’s first presentation in Asia, featuring a new series of his cutting edge sculptural paintings inspired by the artist’s fascination with the cityscape. Contemplating modern life and social media phenomenon in metropolises like Hong Kong, the series captures the city’s double-edged sword where excitement turns into escapism, promising yet at times desolate.

Initially inspired by the vibrant energy of technoculture and illegal warehouse parties in London, where Nemes lived for several years starting in 2017, this series underscores a distant fascination with Hong Kong’s dazzling skyline and ongoing architectural expansion. He translates this to his paintings by piecing layers of steel materials in multiple ways, a technique central to his practice in order to go beyond the constraints of two- dimensional canvases. Always eager to innovate with new materials and production methods, Nemes seeks to find new ways of disintegrating and rearranging the pictorial experience as reference to the escapist counterculture of the rave scene.

Instead of using separate elements to build on the surface of his paintings beyond their frames, Nemes assembles five layers of steel, acrylic and mirror within the given image space. Reflective plexiglass and steel sheets, mostly used on the surfaces of his earlier works, are now moved from the foreground to the rear; by laser-cutting, hollowing out and re-arranging the order of these layers, he constructs an interior ‘image space’ amplified by its very reflection, of which we glimpse through the steel with irregular voids. By interlocking these ‘image spaces’ into a mesh-like cage, Nemes reveals a feeling of disconnect and desire to break away from urban life. As a result, the series offers viewers a visual transcendence that is flushed with life, energy and joy yet with a sense of anxiety, sorrow and decay at the same time.

As a result of this layering, Nemes operates not only with the negative and positive spaces that emerge from the surfaces, but also from within the ‘emptiness’ composed between the reflective background and vibrant foreground. Visually, these overlapping surfaces echo the sheer density of our own surroundings that have become part of our everyday life. He also makes reference to graffiti art – so common to urban street culture – through the use of spray paint and in this instance, PVD coating. Similar to the artistic power of covering and destruction gestures exhibited in Gerhardt Richter’s Overpainted Photographs series (1980s), Nemes introduces variations in our perception towards his paintings that appear simultaneously dominating yet balanced.



Márton Nemes (b. 1986) studied at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts and later completed his MFA at the Chelsea College of Arts, London in 2018. His work can be seen in several public and private collections, including the Ludwig Museum Collection in Hungary. Nemes’ previous solo exhibitions include Look Into the Sun with Your Eyes Closed, acb Gallery, Hungary (2022); The Better Self, Fold Gallery, UK (2020); Ghosting Love, Annka Kultys Gallery, UK (2019) and Tomorrow, Szent Istvan Király Museum, Hungary (2019). Márton Nemes was the Artist-in-Residence of BuBu Artist Residency Program with Buffalo Arts Studio in New York, USA in 2019; at Westport Arts Center, Westport, USA in 2015; and in Salzburg, Austria in 2014.


6 May 2022
4 June 2022
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