Expanding Decadence – Small Talk with Csaba Kis Róka

Budapest based Hungarian painter, Csaba Kis Róka is known of his peculiar and expressive painterly practice. In his works references to the history of painting meet with taboo-breaking themes portrayed with the elements of horror and pornography. His works have been presented at numerous domestic and international expositions, including several solo shows as well as international group exhibitions, such as the 2010 Liverpool Biennial. Expanding Decadence is the title of his recent solo show at acb Attachment, which refers not only to the theme of his latest paintings, but also to the change that could have been noticed in the artist’s style in the last years. On this occasion we invited him for a small talk.


experimental connection_kísérleti kapcsolat 2016 oil on canvas 140x115cm
Experimental connection. 2016, oil on canvas, 140x115cm.

Kinga Lendeczki: When was the first time you thought about becoming an artist?

Csaba Kis Róka: I was four when I decided to become one. I didn’t know exactly what it means but it was something special and seductive. I was just better in making drawings than the others.


KL: Do you have a painting routine?

CsKR: Of course. I start around 8 in the morning in my studio and it is five when I’m exhausted, but it also depends on my schedule. When I’m in a hurry for a show I work 10 or 12 hours a day.

composition with exhaling of an anachronistic ideology_kompozíció egy anakronisztikus világnézet kigőzölgésével 2016 oil on canvas 140x115cm
Composition with exhaling of an anachronistic ideology. 2016, oil on canvas, 140x115cm.

KL: Where do you draw inspiration from?

CsKR: Everything can be inspiring. It can be a movie, a cartoon or even a small meaningless thing. After all I’m inspired mostly by paintings.


KL: Who are your artistic influences?

CsKR: I’m still amazed by the Venetian paintings from the late Renaissance. But in general I am influenced by any art or artist I meet, I can hardly tell you only a few.

human coat 2016 oil on canvas 95x70cm
Human coat. 2016, oil on canvas, 95x70cm.

KL: Where and when do you work best?

CsKR: In my own studio in the morning.


KL: What music helps you to work?

CsKR: I love different kind of music but nowadays I am listening to scientific discourses about history, ethology, aesthetics etc. When I will be bored by it I guess I will turn back to music. I like many kind of music like jazz, classical, etc. I think not the genre but the quality what is important.

expanding decadence_terjeszkedő bomlás 2016 oil on canvas 135x100cm
Expanding decadence. 2016, oil on canvas, 135x100cm.

KL: How do you relax?

CsKR: It is not easy. I am workaholic. But I have a jazz band. When I play my bass guitar, it really refreshes me.


KL: What is your current favorite material/color etc?

CsKR: I use oil. Oil is my favorite.

adherent parts_összenőtt részek 2015 oil on canvas 40x60cm
Adherent parts. 2015, oil on canvas, 40x60cm.

KL: What does it mean to be an artist?

CsKR: It means to get acquainted with a small part of hidden things. And then try to show them.


KL: How would you earn your living if you had to give up being an artist?

CsKR: Actually I’m a teacher as well. I’m teaching since the beginning of my carrier. I love it but it is not satisfying in itself. It could be a way, but only this would be sad and boring and when I’m bored I’m a dull boy.

coincidence_egybeesés 2016 oil on canvas 200x160cm (2)
Coincidence. 2016, oil on canvas, 200x160cm.

KL: What art works would you show your own children to introduce them to art?

CsKR: My child will see my paintings first. So that will be the first step to introduce him into the world of art.


KL: Who is your perfect receptor/audience?

CsKR: Every art needs its competent audience. My art looks disturbing and blatant for the first sight so I need people with insight and knowledge of the history of painting.

zero 2016 oil on canvas 50x40cm
Zero. 2016, oil on canvas, 50x40cm.

KL: If you could choose any places, where would you exhibit your paintings?

CsKR: Strange question. I would show my artworks in the best museums and galleries of the world of course. I could send you a list. But it has a way. Each artist has his/her own way. It can be fast or slow or even shapeless. I prefer to advance step by step.


KL: How do you see the presence of Hungarian contemporary artists on the international art scene?

CsKR: There are a few names that are more or less known. I guess Hungarian artists are not worse than others. I am sure that we have many ambitious artists in each generation but it is hard to get into a well-known gallery or to take part in a relevant show. I really don’t know whether it depends on the absence of attention or the impolicy of artists and their galleries, maybe both.

wizened death_töpörödött halál 2016 oil on canvas 70x60cm
Wizened death. 2016, oil on canvas, 70x60cm.

KL: What is the last remarkable thing you saw?

CsKR: The ultrasound picture of my son.

The article was originally published on 23rd of March, 2016 on ArtGuideEast.



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