Europe’s Alps have always been revered as one of the world’s most magnificent natural wonders, and painter Péter Mátyási’s representation of them showing at the Molnár Ani Galéria in Budapest is sure to fire up even more amazement. The everyday household materials he used to create the seven pieces shown in his exhibit, “Wunderwelt,” are practically tantamount to a minor mountain climbing challenge.
Using only masking tape, electrical tape, plexi-glass film, a few lightbulbs, and a modicum of spray paint, Mátyási has recreated the experience of viewing the Alps in all their glory, at both dawn and dusk, within seven black-framed lightboxes. Two different views of the Matterhorn and other representative Alpine locations (including a power dam lodged between peaks) loom large in the darkened rooms of Ani Molnár’s first-floor gallery in an historic building just steps away from the imposing Hungarian National Museum.
At the exhibit’s opening on Dec. 1, Viennese artist Josef Wurm spoke of the overpowering effect the Alpine range’s beauty had had on many poets and authors, as he held up the treasured book, “Wunderwelt der Alpen,” (Wonderworld of the Alps) which had inspired Mátyási. Filled with photos with historical annotations and personal recollections by photographer Luis Trenker, the book is a goldmine of documented history that includes stories from Hannibal, Napoleon, and others — some of whom attributed demonic spirits and underworld affinities to the mysterious mountain range.
Mátyási’s creations honor those stories with the miraculous effects he’s produced: seen at a distance, the overlapping layers of twisted colored tapes glisten as if they are snow or rocks twinkling in the twilight, and the indigo peaks glower in the evening shadows with spooky menace. Their sheer evanescence captures the feeling of wonder at actually being in that rarified atmosphere. And how Mátyási made it happen with such simple materials is a wonder in itself.
Péter Mátyási’s “Wunderwelt”
Until February 24, 2017
Tuesday to Friday: 12 pm to 6 pm
Molnár Ani Galeria: Bródy Sándor utca, 22, Budapest 1088
Photos by Dániel Mátyási, Courtesy of Molnár Ani Galéria