Foto: Lívia Martvoňová

Painter Huba Hőnigh about the Sudoku exhibition: I got the best feedback from a small child

Until January 31, 2023, visitors to the Čepan Gallery (as well as those passing by) can look forward to an exhibition called Sudoku. We talked with the author of the exhibition, Huba Hőnigh, about how Sudoku was created, what preceded it, but also about drawing inspiration from, for example, a visit to Trnava.

How did you and your exhibition get to Trnava?

I got to Trnava by bike, airplane, car, and train. I got to know the opportunity through a painter friend Dávid Merényi, who introduced me to the curator Eva. She knew the Čepan Gallery and got in contact with the crew of Maly Berlín. I had to send her my portfolio, she sent me floor plans of the gallery and I made side-specific plans for the exhibition. 

This is your first time in Trnava. How did you like the city, the gallery, and the people that helped you with the exhibition?

I was amazed, the team was very professional, the 50 meters of wood was already waiting for me in the gallery when I arrived. Everyone was super helpful and if I needed anything they just got it for me almost immediately so I could work very efficiently. I only had to focus on the artistic parts,on the technical part they helped me a lot. I really enjoyed that I was free to do whatever I wanted. I could even use the courtyard to make installations, and also could paint on the walls inside, which was a very good opportunity for me to try out new things. I think we need more places like Maly Berlin. 

The tech guys Jozef and Michal were very helpful. One night Jozef was helping us until 1 am. Finding the right spots for the lamps around the courtyard and giving me an introductory lesson to the world of lamps. During the four days of installing, preparing I was in constant workflow. I also found the city pretty interesting, when I had some free time I walked around  in the parks.

I took some photos, which I already used in some of my new paintings in Gröningen.The old city wall, the houses, windows were in good condition and gave a very nice view. I got good vibes from the city. 

What kinds of feedback did you receive on the exhibition?

I got some very positive ones, both from the audience and the gallery organizers. It was already a good one that everyone followed the opening light-sound performance- that we made with Dani Németh- with great interest. I think my paintings represent traditional attitudes toward art and painting. With the gallery space, the outside, and the light system that Jozef gave me I think that I could mix traditional painting with something contemporary and unusual. 

I also got positive feedback about the corporation of young Curators and artists. It is an aspect that should be more in focus I think. Young curators and emerging artists can work together with a great understanding. I hope the opening was exciting and enjoyable and that I could create a bigger unit out of my works in the context of the gallery space. I’m very happy that I got the opportunity to organize this exhibition. 

The name of your exhibition is Sudoku and part of the creative process was playing your own game. Was this exhibition meant to be something that can push people to play their own games and look at the buildings in a new way and take more notice of the buildings they pass on a daily basis?

You summarized the main effect that I wanted to achieve with my Blocks and windows series.

The reason why I chose the title Sudoku is because playing sudoku is similar to the process of building up my paintings. For example if I talk about color mixing: I put red in the middle it will indicate that I can not use this color on this part. If I put number 9 in the middle of my sudoku that indicates that I can not use nine in different places.

Who is this exhibition for? I can see that a lot of different people can be interested.

For the older generation the more natural details on the paintings can be entertaining. People enjoy good craftsmanship and technical skills. The main concept was best understood by a small child, who started to play with the installations on the ground just as if he was on a playground. I think this was also the best feedback.

The kid could easily set up games for himself and have fun, it’s a harder task for adults. An exhibition could work as a free playground for the artist, and the viewers as well. In this context the artworks get closer and the experience gets stronger for the audience. I would recommend the exhibition to people who like to get involved in the view during the weekdays. I am searching for an order in the urbanistic landscape that presents a harmony of color and proportion. If you want to see my results, visit the exhibition at cepan gallery. 


Do you ever look at the exhibition through a child’s eyes? Can it, maybe, make the exhibition better?

On my way to Slovakia I was thinking about what kind of new things I can try out that I can not do anywhere else. Trying out this unknown is a great play. In a child’s eyes this play presents their curiosity for the surroundings. That’s the act and way of approach that I want to reach. If the visitor can relate to it, it can make the experience more interesting but mainly this idea is important for me and for the making process.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Looking and analyzing the way I see my environment. Having a walk in a new unknown city can be a good inspiration bomb. I had a few tours at Trnava as well, I might use my photos from here later on. Besides that, visiting exhibitions is also an important part. I think the artists that had the biggest influence on me are: Richard Diebenkorn, R.B. Kitaj, James Turell, Mark Rothko, Richard Serra, Haász István.

Do you ever consider coming back to Trnava and maybe make other exhibitions?

I had a really great time with great people here. I already considered making another performance with Dani Németh as a finissage. For the vernissage Danis sound design, music gave a lot to the experience of the exhibition. Due to the Christmass holiday it’s doubtful we’ll be able to make it for the second time, but I hope I can come back with other projects later on.

Do you have any plans on going to other cities to exhibit your paintings?

Right now I am living in the Netherlands, and most of my new work is there. I am going to show 3 paintings and a metal sculpture on the 2nd floor exhibition in Gröningen. It’s hard to transport work internationally although for now I could carry some smaller ones in my backpack to Trnava. I will have to figure out how it will work in the future. There are some plans for exhibiting at Budapest as well, and I am always searching for open calls, I already applied for some other open calls around Slovakia.

Ján Janočko, Rut Albin

Photo: Petra K. Adamková, Lívia Martvoňová