Gábor Városi - Stories, Artworks, Artistic periods

40 Gábor Városi, a student of the Academy of Fine Arts, wasn't even 22 years of age when he won the Lajota Scholarship. It’s no coincidence if that sentence makes you think of P. Howard's The fourteen-carat roadster1 and its protagonist, Ivan Gorchev2. Our hero will endure similar – and partially Sweden-related – adventures involving a young, beautiful heiress, a run-down car, and the hard-shell aristocrats of a bygone era. In the role of Gorchev, a poetically young, fledgling artist (a bon vivant) overheated by testosterone: Gábor Városi. The year is 1987, and apart from a few clairvoyants, no one has the slightest clue that communism will go down the drain in less than two years. The Internationale3 still echoes at the school year's opening ceremony as our blissfully ignorant hero sends introductory letters to a dozen Western galleries4. We will never know who was more surprised: him or Hungarian State Security, when a letter arrived that the Swedish Lajota Art Gallery offered a one-year scholarship in Grödinge, complete with a flat, a studio, a car, and judging from afar – and from under the shadow of the Iron Curtain –, a hefty allowance (which, as experience has shown, was worth about two bottles of whisky and eight beers/month at the rate of the Systembolaget – a Swedish state-run liquor store). The State Security agents were excited to deliver the letter5 instead of the postal services. The invitation landed on the neobaroque desk of István Kiss (rector of the Academy, sculptor, creator of numerous statues depicting Lenin, Béla Kun and his comrades, and works of art celebrating Soviet-Hungarian friendship. Oh, and he is also a member of the Central Committee of KISZ, the Hungarian Young Communist League). Comrade Kiss – who was earlier awarded the Kossuth Prize for his Münnich statue6 – was clearly unhappy about the invitation coming from the Scandinavian slough of decadent capitalism toiling away in their final hours before the unavoidable collapse. Though you could venture to guess his unhappiness from his expression, the dead giveaway was the style and volume with which he addressed our hero. Gábor couldn't sit down while the rector was screaming his lungs out. He'd won a scholarship, that much he could puzzle out, sorting through spittle and word fragments. However, according to the rector, the college's secretary of the Hungarian Young Communist League (KISZ) would travel in his place to Sweden. This decision was final and irrevocable! What is an unrighteously thwarted young artist to do? He buys a bottle of Bikavér (a red wine blend from Eger) and finds solace in The fourteen-carat Volvo