István Betuker was born in 1984 under the Communist regime and grew up in Satu-Mare, Romania. He lives in Cluj Napoca. Even though he is still young, this is why we can sense the anxieties of certain spectres of the past in his painting. His memories of childhood experiences are now coupled with a burning desire to put these tormenting thoughts out of his mind and express the real significance of living in this world, with all its tensions. Amongst other things, he lives in a country still influenced by totalitarian reminiscences, but one which nevertheless offers some flickers of hope and encouragement that are by no means negligible.
In his paintings, he has the ability to convey some of his emotions and some atmospheres through control of his brush and through his expressiveness, which is closely bound to representation. We can see this in his intimate scenes of everyday life, where the anonymous subjects are friends of his who allow us to imagine and enjoy the moments we see before us.
They are always normal people going about their everyday activities, but they are observed with great affection, and indeed show us a sweeping vision of human vulnerability.
Each painting of his appears to have the task of imposing itself as though it were a sort of disturbance that needs to strike the observer, however sweet and tender the figures and colours may be. At first sight the work is just what it portrays, quite randomly, as though this randomness were enough to have us ignore the careful preparation of the event we see. It is almost a consecration of the author’s obsessions, desires, and fetishism, obtained in paint as soon as inspiration strikes, with the pleasure of satisfying a need for stylistic solutions, burning in a magical gesture.
With a form of concreteness very different from any aesthetic mediation and delayed sublimation of art, the painting manages to transform the observer’s passiveness, making him or her part of a ritual that has nothing to do with the vision or allegory, but simply with what it shows. Indeed, István Betuker’s canvases do not ask to be interpreted but simply looked at.
They are generally medium-large in size, almost on the same scale as the observer, and they are strictly frontal, with the chromatic tension and the intention of their colours carefully calculated, sometimes in a similar way in a number of works.
White Project, Pescara, 2010