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István Molnár - Messenger of Eternity

Something about his artistic heritage, and about life after death
Молнар copy_original_original
Artist does not depict the world as he sees it. It is the job of camera, and even not for the photographer. After all, the art of photography can not be reduced to an image directed into the lens at a certain angle. That’s why it is called "photography," which literally translated from Greek means "painting with the light ." In the visual arts, what the artist sees is not as important as what he wants to tell, and how he conveys his story to the viewer.

There is a vast space between what the artist sees and what he creates. This space is occupied by the artist’s skills, experience and his understanding of the world. The whole his life is here – with his first drawing lessons, his understanding of the basics and the discovery of the secrets. Here lay his gradually-formed habit of observing and noticing the revealing details – the details escaping non-inquisitive and quick glance of an ordinary man. Here dwell the images which do not belong to this world, but rather to his sensitive artistic mind. And even the artist’s daily life, his anxieties and worries, and the lives of his contemporaries are all present there, in this vast space between what he sees and what he puts on a canvas.

With this in mind, any painting is a source of valuable information about the artist and his historic time. The value of this information goes far beyond ordinary matters of art and debates about styles, interesting only to specialists. Thus the past times continue to live in works of art because these works show what was important for these people, what they considered beautiful, what they strived for, what they feared or, perhaps, what they wanted to warn us about. Each painting is a sort of psycho-emotional "cast" of the mind of its creator and of the whole vibrant life of his epoch.

It is not even so important what is shown in a particular painting. For the transmission of information from past to future, only a couple of things matter: how skillful the artist was, and in what the state his mind had been in the historical moment of time when this information was transmitted to us. In this way, a great artist becomes a messenger of eternity.


The changes that took place at all-time quickest pace in all spheres of our life are striking, and still require more comprehension. A talented artist who lives and works at such a dramatic point of history, can’t avoid absorbing and depicting in his works the troubled psycho-emotional environment of his day. It is his burden – to absorb, and to incarnate. This is exactly what distinguishes a great talent. He doesn’t just show something seen or imagined – there are many who do it well, and they play their part, too, as their humble work ensures continuity of visual art in general, keeping it present in our "cultural landscape." None of us likes to think that one day people will stop drawing altogether. But a great talent in visual art also solves other problems. He provides the connection between eras, sending to the future the psycho-emotional “cast” of his world and his epoch…

Such a mission can’t always be well understood or appreciated by an artist’s contemporaries. Being a messenger of eternity is not easy. However, time gradually puts everything in its place. And at some point, after years or even centuries, it becomes clear that the artist’s creative heritage is of great value. He sends us a powerful spiritual impulse from his historical era and gives one a chance to feel something beyond time. The real strength of art, perhaps, is that time has no power over it but, in the opposite, often "works" in its favor. Wherein the life of a particular artist is entirely dependent on the time given to him, alas sometimes it’s severely limited.

Ishtvan Molnar was our countryman, a Transcarpathian Hungarian. His surname, when translated from Hungarian, means "miller." His career was disappointingly short and coincided with a change of epochs: the end of the eighties and the beginning of the nineties. His life was cut short very early. Ishtvan Molnar died in 1993 at the age of twenty-five. But the powerful creative charge that this man possessed and what he managed to accomplish was simply extraordinary. His paintings do not leave anyone indifferent. They make one feel and experience the incomprehensible, leaving us with an impression that something eternal has been delivered to us from that short period of time during which they had been created.

He was born January 27, 1968 in Mukachevo. He studied at the Uzhhorod College of Applied Arts, and in 1989 entered Lviv Institute of Applied Arts. He began holding exhibitions in 1986. These and other such dry biographical facts tell us little and do not give any food for thought. We need to see his paintings. Once we do, it becomes clear why gifted young artists were drawn to such a powerful talent. This gathering resulted in the forming of an extraordinary group of artists with the strange name, "Left Eye." No surprise there; these guys knew how to come up with good names. Group exhibitions had great success in Rzeszów, Lviv, Berlin, Budapest, Chicago and other places. But, as often happens in such cases, when the group loses its founder, it breaks apart. Its members continued their work, and many are still active, but "Left Eye" has never been the same. Perhaps that’s how it was meant to be.

Life after death is a luxury only a great artists could afford, the artist of a big talent who may not have enough time on Earth to fully reveal his huge potential. But such an artist exists as if outside of the boundaries of time. Time itself “works” for him and in his favor. Or, more accurately, it works for us; it gives us a chance to gradually realize the scale of the phenomenon which has been with us on this planet for such a short time, and which even today affects us and speaks to us. You need only to carefully examine what the eyes see, and to listen to the voice that begins to speak within when you stand in front of Ishtvan Molnar’s canvases.


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