London-based Hungarian artist Szabolcs Bozó paints colourful animals and charismatic imaginary creatures that embrace a joyful, childlike exuberance.Read More
Szabolcs Bozó was born in Pécs, Hungary, and currently lives and works in London. A self-taught artist, Bozó is known for his childlike large-scale paintings of animals and abstract characters. Drawing inspiration from illustrations, animations, and children's drawings, his works are often reminiscent of cartoons and colouring books.
His subjects include animals such as dogs, dinosaurs, elephants, bears, birds, and insects, as well as abstract creatures with bodies composed of shapes, colours, and lines. Charismatically naive or absurd, with limbs akimbo, and often smiling or stealing a sideways glance through googly eyes, Bozó's characters are visual manifestations of the artist's fantastical imagination. Feast (2020) depicts an anteater wearing a beret, poking its nose into the throat of a dinosaur-like figure. Operator (2020) appears as a three-headed red creature with two clawed limbs, a wing, and a tail outstretched in all directions.
For Bozó's online exhibition Big Bang (2020) at Semiose, Scott Indrisek writes, '... while other artists might co-opt certain styles for other purposes—to sneak in coded political messages, or ruminations on everyday violence—Bozó's practice strikes me as somehow purer, with no ulterior motives. Baby ducks, bears, dinosaurs, and other less-easy-to-define creatures smile, jiggle, and dance their way across the canvas. They ride inside strange vehicles or, in some cases, join forces to create entirely new modes of transportation. What more can we ask for right now than images of such joyous cooperation?'
Drawing forms a significant part of Bozó's artistic practice. Keen to translate the spontaneous energy from his sketches to his paintings, Bozó experiments with chance and error, often leaving fingerprints, footprints, stains, and imperfections on his canvases. Working directly on canvas or paper laid on the ground, the artist roughly fills in outlines of his creatures with strokes of colour as though working in a colouring book. Unfussy and loose in his brushwork, the creatures are fleshed out with mottled, irregular block colours and patterns and lashings of oil stick that give depth to his otherwise simple forms. Bozó's unrestrained exuberance in experimenting with paint and colour is evident in the fluid, bleeding oranges and blacks of the enigmatic spider in Ottó (2020), or the variegated blues of the wolf-like creature in Mr Sky (2021).
Bozó experiments with scale and installation methods that complement his subjects. In his 2021 exhibition The Explorer at Carl Kostyál, the artist presented a series of paintings that responded to the gallery's architecture and interior. This included A Gigantikus Lopakodó (The Gigantic Stealth) (2021), a wall-to-wall seven-panel composite painting of a grinning red mouse in black and yellow boots, with body and legs neatly framing the room's fireplace.
Szabolcs Bozó's 2020 exhibition Home Again at L21 Gallery similarly saw the artist present composite paintings on a large scale. Two orange and green birds (both Untitled (2020)) are each broken up into four canvases separating the face, beak, and legs. Hung side by side, they appear to stare at each other across the wall. Rozi (2020), a cobalt blue boot-wearing dachshund, is made up of 11 canvases and stands over two metres high and nearly six metres long. Comically dwarfing the viewer, Bozó's large composites reposition his audience at child-scale.
Solo exhibitions by Szabolcs Bozó include The Explorer, Carl Kostyál, London (2021); Home Again, L21 Gallery, Mallorca (2020); Big Bang, Semiose, Paris (2020).
Selected group exhibitions featuring Szabolcs Bozó include Kawaii, Almine Rech, Shanghai (2021); Stockholm Sessions, Carl Kostyál, Stockholm (2021); Summer Summer Group Show, Ross+Kramer Gallery, New York (2021); Can't Wait to Meet You, PRIMARY, Miami (2021); I Never Felt So Much Alike Alike Alike, L21 Gallery, Mallorca (2020); acb Gallery, Budapest (2020); Stranger Things, Ramp Gallery, London (2020); ARCO, Madrid (2020); Island, Ramp Gallery, London (2019).
Bozó has participated in artist residencies including The North Hill Residency in Pasadena (2020) and L21xCamper Foundation, Mallorca (2018).
Szabolcs Bozó's Instagram can be found here.
Misong Kim | Ocula | 2021