Sándor Szász (b. 1976, in Transylvania, Romania) lives and works in Budapest. Sándor Szász’s paintings reflect a melancholic and almost apocalyptical stage of nature and humans, clashing in a chaotic and dark projections of the world.

Vulnerability comes to terms with the selfdistructive force; ruin becomes a metaphor for survival; and the landscape is just as much an image of the subconscience as it is a reflection of the existing power struggles. 


Apparently contradictory yet surprisingly coherent, Sándor Szász’s paintings present apocalyptic scenarios that, if on the one hand are vaguely reminiscing of the brand of Surrealism made notorious by Francis Picabia, on the other hand, they seem to refer to the imagery of sci-fi cinema. His characters, invariably faceless, live in bleak landscapes enriched by the presence of mysterious relics. It is not clear if these rusty, semi-abandoned, stranded machines or ships constitute an exotic discovery or are instead the cause of these figures’ predicament. What doesn’t change is their collective engagement in some kind of labour that, coupled with the dramatic colours of his palette, render a twisted update of the Eastern-European tradition of realism as a way of chronicling, and often glorifying, the mundane and the universal. The first big difference to notice is that – stunning technique notwithstanding – there is nothing conventionally glorious in what Szász’s represents in his work, if not for a melancholic sense of failure. Unlike the standard propaganda paintings that defined much of the 20th Century, where workers were depicted united in the common goal of erecting a better future, in Szász’s paintings the future is patently dystopian. The atmosphere in works like Kurszk (2011), where a group of men can be seen standing in line in front of a fog-concealed tank waiting either for evacuation or recruitment, or the chillingly titled Symphony of the Orphans (2014), where another group of men in uniform is busy rescuing a casualty while walking in a pond of water in a freshly-destroyed landscape, is unmistakably dark. Even on these rare occasions where the human figure is absent, like for example the geometric pattern created by the corroded bars of what looks like an electric post in Phantom (2012), the idea of natural and industrial elements surviving a tragic event never goes away.