I have a question for István Bencsik. How important is enlargement for you?

(Imre Makovecz)

“I didn’t want to go into this because this is already a completely philosophical question. I saw Antonioni’s Blow-up and I was fascinated. (Apocalypse Now had a similar effect on me.) I must have seen it at least ten times. I felt there was a philosophical statement behind it: extreme enlargement will produce a change in quality. There is no extreme blow-up, but I tried anyway… I realized that the statement I seemed to identify in the film led to a very peculiar transformation, and I did not hesitate to use it. In sum, enlargement is immensely important for me. It completely changes the content of the work.”


In the sculptures usually a humanoid natural form (human body) is cut or truncated with a plane. The contrast of forms is intensified, the opposing qualities come into play with increased force. The sculpture is the cool encounter of the biomorphic model and geometry; this is what makes it exciting, lends it a beautiful line. Thanks to the sections, framings and scale changes, the form receives a new content. The part, if you like, is more than the whole: the message makes its vehicle pure sculpture. With the cuts of an almost cinematic hardness, and with the blow-up, the message is amplified.


Body, space, motion

In 1968, Sculptor István Bencsik (b. 1931) met Kossuth Prize laureate pulmonologist Dr. Ferenc Kováts (1913-97), who was at the time using a photogrammetric method to map the changes in the shape of the human chest during breathing. The breathing function models to represent this were to be made by István Bencsik. The result, however, was not medical models, but works of art—and a sculptor who would go on to work differently. The artist was presented with the task of representing living humans. During his years at the Academy of Art (1951-57), his vision was moulded for socialist realism, and now he had to study the proportions of the human chest. Thanks to the peculiarities of a system that was suitable for the study of man in motion, he discovered the special relationship of the human body, built from parts, to artistic reality, which led him to the authentic figure and its fragments as possibilities for representation. The lessons learned from the medical system are definitive parts of his art, the practice of selecting details of the body with geometric sections, using enlargement and different materials, which finds its culmination in such works as Europa, Madonna, Penelope and the ongoing Genezis series.