Egotronics

Stefan Bertalan
February 7 – March 21, 2015

Exhibition view: Stefan Bertalan Egotronics, Johnen Galerie, Berlin, 2015

Photo © Jens Ziehe

Exhibition view: Stefan Bertalan Egotronics, Johnen Galerie, Berlin, 2015

Photo © Jens Ziehe

Exhibition view: Stefan Bertalan Egotronics, Johnen Galerie, Berlin, 2015

Photo © Jens Ziehe

Untitled, 1982
Watercolor on paper
32 x 24 cm (unframed)
54,4 x 46,4 cm (framed)

Photo © Jens Ziehe
Untitled, 1986
Gouache and oil crayon on paper
48,9 x 34,4 cm (unframed)
62,1 x 52,1 x 4,2 cm (framed)

Photo © Jens Ziehe
Untitled, 1982
Red chalk, india ink and pencil on paper
46 x 66 cm (unframed)
54 x 73 x 4,2 cm (framed)

Photo © Jens Ziehe
Pălăria, 1981-1988
Gouache, oil crayon and ball pen on paper
56 x 78 cm (unframed)
64 x 86 x 4,2 cm (framed)

Photo © Jens Ziehe 

Egotronics

Stefan Bertalan
Johnen Galerie, Berlin
February 7 – March 21, 2015
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By default, Stefan Bertalan places his own self in the midst of his research. Yet he is neither a psychologist nor an existentialist. Bertalan is an empirical scientist, one deprived of tools, labs or instruments. One heavily impaired by physical, mental and political misgivings. 

In Bertalan’s condition, nobody would dare to confront the unknown nature of the given, in a systematic, scientific research. Most of us would stay still and simply survive, too conscious of the widespread lack: of means, of understanding, of power, of time, of health and sense. Rationalist beyond reason, Bertalan ignores the gap between his means and his targets. He uses misgivings as instruments, tirelessly looking for data, patterns, structures, processes. For such research, experimentalists like him would use microscopes, reactors, telescopes. Bertalan has nothing of this kind.

He only has a frail body, mind, hands, pens, and a bunch of paper. Still, he delves in the empirical world, using his own self as a telescope and empathy as a particle accelerator. When he approached the ever mysterious sunflower, he literally lived for 130 days with it, noting

each move of the plant, from the little seed to the colorful, resplendent adult, and the late, withered, dark stalk. 

When this text was begun, Stefan Bertalan was an ”is”. When this text was finished, Stefan Bertalan is a ”was”. Importing past tense into a text about the artist wouldn't change the continuous tense of the work. No changes of tense were made to this text, despite the disparition of Stefan Bertalan, on December 30. His revelation-like series Apparitions also remained the keystone of Egotronics.

 

Stefan Bertalan (1930 - 2014) attended the Institute of Fine Arts „I. Andreescu“ (Cluj, Romania) until 1962. He was co-founder of Group 111, the first community for experimental art in Romania, member of the artist group Sigma. His works have been shown at The Encyclopedic Palace, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, during the Venice Biennale, 2013. 

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