Géza Perneczky

Géza Perneczky

Born May 21 1936, Keszthely
Lived in Cologne (1970)

Visual artist, painter, author of objects and artist's books, one of the most famous Hungarian art critics and theoreticians. He also worked as a secondary school teacher after his emigration to West Germany. He actively engaged in the international mail art, which he has mapped in detail in several summary publications.

conceptual art, mail art, artist's book, object, photography, painting


He indirectly started his artistic career. Even though he drew from a young age and attended various drawing and painting lessons when he studied at grammar school, he wanted to become a pianist. He graduated from a conservatory and college in Budapest where he received a degree in piano playing and conducting an orchestra. Through music he gradually familiarized himself with modern trends in fine arts. In his painting he applied the then-prevailing Informel. He was later influenced by New Figuration.


At the age of 21 he decided to study the History of Art. A year before his graduation he was appointed a University professor of 20th century art.


From this year he worked as editor for The Hungarian Art Publishing House. He published art reviews in newspapers and culture magazines, and was a guest on art programs on Hungarian television.


He was issued a tourist passport and travelled to Paris and Amsterdam. Paradoxically, he developed contacts in western Europe before he became more closely acquainted with Czechs and Poles. The reason was the strict control within the socialistic bloc.
(Géza Perneczky) (solo exhibition, Den Haag)


It was only because he discontinued his publishing house that he could stay abroad up to six months. He was originally issued permission for three months. After he returned, he worked for the Magyar Nemzet (Hungarian Nation) newspaper. Thanks to the support of the managing editor of the Györgyovi Mihalyfi daily newspaper he could go further than others: in particular he could express himself sharply and in a non-partisan fashion. Having left the managerial position due to increasing commitments in party politics, he joined the Élet és irodalom (Life and Literature) weekly newspaper.


He prepared a children's television programme in which children performed, responded to his questions and carried out assigned tasks. The tasks were deliberately related to the theatrical performances which Perneczky held on the stage of the Faculty. However, he did not use expert terminology but presented it in a form which was comprehensible to the general public. In addition to the cubist paintings of Pablo Picasso he dealt with structural and constructivist works, constructions of buildings and modern concrete structures. His television performances were a success and they were later used in the Soviet Union.


The end of the Prague Spring put an end to the performances and projections which he had started after his return from the West. The performances were in the form of a film performance on a stage in the Philosophical Faculty. He gave lectures with a slide show in which he freely talked about the projected images. The performances also included a theoretical segment on literature and art. A few poems (G. Apollinaire and others) translated into Hungarian were recited and actors were also invited to give performances. He moved from Expressionism and Cubism to modern art and its various kinds. Other cultural actions and happenings also took place there.


During his next journey to the West he visited the “When Attitudes Become Form”, an exhibition held by Harald Szeemann in Germany. The exhibition reflected the latest dematerialization trends in the art.
Iparterv II. (group exhibition, Budapest)


On his return he participated in, albeit indirectly, the growing trend of conceptual art, by creating small sheets, notebooks, and various postal forms



He found a job, but it did not match his requirements. He also tried to work for Westdeutsche Rundfunk TV, but he was held back by his insufficient knowledge of German and his very strong Hungarian accent. Therefore, it was out of the question that he could work as a moderator or reviewer as he had formerly in Hungary. He tried to write articles for Cologne newspapers but none of them were published. Part of the reason was the strength with which he expressed his views. This was not appropriate for the local authorities and the customs of the German public.
He began to teach at the most prominent humanities grammar school in Cologne which was attended by the children and grandchildren of Adenauer's family as well as the family members of the Social Democrat Willy Brandt. He stayed there until he retired at the age of 65.
During his teaching he created his Yes-No Art concept with a technique of collage and gouache in which he used cardboard and pasteboard given to him by his students. He replaced some with colour prints from the classroom. The predecessors of this series were his YES and NO rubber stamps which he created within the established international movement of Mail Art. He tried to disseminate it as a symbol of the world, as part of a monumental event which could move countries or even whole continents thanks to its enormity. The project was, of course, unrealistic and students could only examine the transition from colour photographs to painted details, and the way in which everything became reality. The work ended up "in a drawer" and it was only a decade later that it once again saw the light of day, through reproductions based on it. From the beginning of the 1970’s photographs and prints in the form of complete collages were presented at Perneczky's exhibitions showing his other experiments with the Yes-No idea.
Aktuele Kunst Uit Oost Europa (group exhibition, Aalst)


Mirrors 1
Mirrors 1 (photography)

(Géza Perneczky) (solo exhibition, Amsterdam)


Hungria 74 en El Cayc (group exhibition, Buenos Aires)
Ungarische Kunst '74 (group exhibition, Oldenburg)


(Géza Perneczky) (solo exhibition, Düsseldorf)
Niet-Stempels (~, T. v.d. Burg, F. de Jong, J. Armleder, M. Gibbs, Sosno) (group exhibition, Amsterdam)


From this year, he took an active part in the activities of the international movement of Mail Art (in Germany, the U.S.A. and the Netherlands), in particular he did his own record-keeping, including precise records of his contributions from the past. Several monographs resulted from his rigorous work and they provide a unique visual summary of the movement's history.
Artist's Book (1980) (group exhibition, Reykjavík)


(Géza Perneczky) (solo exhibition, Lund)
Mail (art) Stamps & Treated Stamps (group exhibition, Brussels)
Kunstenaarsboeken : twaalf benaderingen (group exhibition, Purmerend)


Mail Art Then and Now (group exhibition, New York (NY))
Mail Art International (group exhibition, Vienna)


Artist's Book (1985) (group exhibition, Chicago (IL))
Modern grafikák (group exhibition, Budapest)


(Géza Perneczky) (solo exhibition, Budapest)
The 60s (group exhibition, Cologne)
Idézőjelben (group exhibition, Székesfehérvár)
Das andere Land (group exhibition, Berlin)


(Géza Perneczky) (solo exhibition, Budapest)
Who's afraid of Moholy-Nagy? Hungarian Artists in Germany (group exhibition, Cologne)
Művészbélyegek (group exhibition, Budapest)


In his role as art theoretician he also dealt with the topic of fractals. He freely applied it to the field of art graphics within his professional essays.



Transparency – Looking Through (group exhibition, Budapest)
ORNAMENT – SERIALITY. Historical and contemporary art (group exhibition, Budapest)


Chance as Strategy (group exhibition, Budapest)
From Tizian to Warhol / Olomouc Museum of Art 1951-2011 (group exhibition, Olomouc)


LUDWIG 25. The Contemporary Collection (group exhibition, Budapest)


Géza Perneczky│Post Infinite (solo exhibition, Budapest)

Muzeum umění Olomouc 2011-2022