It is now more than 80 years since the Surrealism, in a smoky Parisian café, was officially born, After long decades of peak and slow agony, when the world was still celebrating its most famous master, Salvador Dali, far from the French and Spanish lands, in a small Transylvanian town, inhabited by hard-working people of Hungarian minority, the surrealism had its second birth on the canvas of a that time unknown young Romanian painter, Zoltán Molnos. It might seem curious that the surrealism, the most spectacular limb of the avant-garde movement, which had its philosophy in protesting against the inhumanity of the “civilised” world, had its renaissance in a city from Romania.
But is that really curious? Is not it rather predestined that this artistic ism that fights against any kind of dictatorship was reborn in a country where one could have been jailed only for speaking about his thoughts? Zoltán Molnos used the surrealism as a tool to present, sometimes in a grotesque mood the unspeakable thoughts, the fears of the suffocating everyday life of these sombre years. At that time, to expose these paintings was politically as risky as speaking out the truth.
In the eighties Zoltán Molnos became famous in his country as “Transylvanian Dali”. Since the nineties his notoriety and his paintings crossed more and more the border, works of his until now oeuvre can be found in Hungary, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Israel, Canada, Australia. His paintings, beside his native town, Székelyudvarhely has been exhibited in Csíkszereda, Bucharest, Budapest, Tallin, Tartu, Stockholm so far.
Zoltán Molnos of nowadays remained basically a Surrealist painter, and at the same time more than that: since the collapse of the communism the protesting is not the main driving power of his works anymore, but the permanent seek after a harmony of beauty, eroticism and irony, the harmony that we desire about, or at least want to desire throughout all of our life.
The past, as an answer to the present could have never happened in Zoltan Molnos’ life and art. Linearity could have never permitted that. With this I do admit that what I believe now to be a recognized force in Eastern European plastic arts is nothing unexpected. As a teenager at age 17, Zoli has had his first (Sui generis) individual art exhibition. In 1979 that was an almost unheard of accomplishment. Masters like Maszelka János Sr. and Székely József thought at that time that he is an artist to be aware of: in the dogged days of the Ceausescu regime’s height, we could see a young man, who interpreted the world around him filtering it through a fine artistic sieve. Linearity comes into the picture, by allowing form to pull in a drawing stile that is technically perfect. And what is wrong with perfect? In today’s artistic styles form and drawing and time valued know-how could be replaced with philosophy and theories.
In Zoltan Molnos’ art style suggests a philosophy and no need of theories. The fine sieve that he filters reality through is nothing less than surrealism. In his words: „surrealism is more real than reality itself”. I have not seen Zoli for quarter of a century: lived and worked on the other side of the Earth in Canada. When we met up upon my return, I was amazed seeing the body of work he amassed since that first exhibition. Seeing the canvasses the first idea I had, that linearity presumed the place that he should be at. The Transylvanian Dali is at the peak of his self expression. His paintings lean upon a great and calm technical prowess and he lets style dictate the new, that every art needs for existence. My second thought was that finally in Seklerland we have this value of the greatness he represents. Our greatest writer, Tamasi Aron is not known in the rest of the world quite as we know him. They say that is because he wrote about us in a language that is understood only by us. I confidently offer Zoltan Molnos’ art to anyone. He achieved the equilibrium in style, theme and self expression. And that is nothing linear…