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"Budapest! This is where I lived! Among spirits! Filled with spirit! Full of bodies! Coff eehouses! Intoxication! Wondrous nights falling in flares!"

The film Nights in the Boulevard (1972) starts with this quotation from Kornél Esti, Dezső Kosztolányi's series of short stories; and it might as well be the motto for Kovásznai.

Kovásznai was an engaged and passionate partaker in and observer of Budapest's life. Just as his favoured, highly esteemed, and often cited writer Gyula Krúdy, he had insider knowledge of the small streets of the city centre, and he collected and recorded the secret stories of cafés and pubs. A common trait of his paintings from the 1970s is a type of subjective documentary style, arising from his gift of grasping the situations of the "here and now". "Even though we model after nature, our aim is not its photographic-naturalistic representation, but rather a realistic grasp and experiential rendering of the essence" - he writes in 1971. For him, immediate experience was always a pivotal point of departure in the creative process, as is revealed in one of his articles: "Without experiences, human life is worth nothing; neither without personal experiences nor, which is even more peculiar and superior, without social and societal experiences." Each of his paintings instantiates his full devotion to the present moment, along with a keen observation of his environment: one is able to fully intuit the atmosphere depicted in his works, almost as if the world of the 1970s' Budapest were conjured up for us through a medium, whether it is the atmosphere of a café or the feelings of people towards life while sitting on the steps of the wharf by the Danube.

In the 1970s he painted large-sized canvases "set in" a private mythology, which were totally independent of his painting films, and which he never exhibited; he also painted either in preparation for his films or created the pictures directly in front of the camera, applying thick, superimposed layers of paint. His paintings from the 1970s, just as his earlier works, embrace diverse visual domains and stylistic elements. Kovásznai never identified himself with a single painterly style. Instead, an incessantly strong presence is manifest in each of his works: an adamant attempt at depicting a particular mood, the atmosphere of a given situation. For the most part, these relate to actual existential situations, and in terms of time and space, they are explicit and conscious reverberations of the reality of the 1970's Budapest.

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