* Born on 26th of August, 1963, Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia
Art Work includes: Free wooden compositions, paintings, incrustations, sculptures, ceramics, compositions in architecture and in open environment
The story of Arpád Pál of Banská Štiavnica started in the times when as a small boy he was handing chippers to his grandfather - a woodcarver, painter and restorer of wooden altars, who was also called KRISZTUS FARAGÓ (Hungarian for Christ Woodcarver). Arpád inherited not only his tools but also a piece of talent. Apart from using wood, he also devotes his art work to precious metals, ivory and other valuable materials. The myth of genesis and affinity to the natural world got developed from his love to his home town and its surroundings. It has its beginning in his childhood when as a small boy he used to touch wood gently and with admiration, thus discovering its genuine warmth. It is therefore not surprising at all that his art work follows the desire to reveal the past as an adventure of the modern world. The mythical dream has accompanied Arpád since the very beginning of his work that also revives the long forgotten techniques of work and materials and presents them to the contemporaries. His restless inner world bears specific stigmas of their determination such as memory of place, wood, silver and human being, all in gradually uncovering layers. Therefore, Arpad‘s way of work is not a mere symbolic gesture, an act of intuition or manifestation of effort to unite the man and life. It is the reflection of deeper parts of human beings reality.
The artwork of Arpád Pál is quite unique, and not only within Slovakia. It stems from one of the most traditional crafts – woodcarving. However, because of his unusual approach, his artwork reaches beyond the traditional limits of this craft. Arpád Pál has been working with wood since his early childhood. Through the years, his artwork has gradually become quite specific and individual, with the characteristic feature of combining wood with other materials, primarily metal, ivory and also ceramics. He creates hanging reliefs, or pictures, in which he makes use of the properties and creative qualities of wood, highlighting its natural appearance but also shaping the final image of the artwork. Arpád Pál understands the material that he uses in his creative work. He has a deep understanding of its qualities and history; he knows where the tree grew, and when it was cut down. If needed, he waits patiently, sometimes for years, until the material ripens into a picture. It is because of his ability to feel and identify with wood that he can become internally unified with it – Arpád Pál instils into his artworks something that seems to have been there always. Occasionally, his interventions are subtle; for example, he uses his own tree-ring drawings which, at a certain angle, resemble calligraphic lines. In other cases he uses intarsia to “get under the skin of the wood”. Using various materials, the artwork frequently offers significant colour contrasts, e.g. dark wood combined with shiny silver or gilded metal. He produces elegant compositions. Animals, flowers, stars, crucifixes – these can all be found in his work. The wood is then colour glazed or waxed, and its structure and colours slightly altered by using water. He includes flaws, knots and deformations of the wood or its wrinkled bark into the image of the picture, as if Arpád Pál was merely gently teasing out of the wood the qualities which have always constituted its beauty. The playful form of his artwork evokes feelings that help us get to the essence of natural beauty, experience the harmony of shapes, and perceive the symphony of colours.
In the artwork of Arpád Pál, the skills of a craftsman are combined with artistic talent, reminding us of the artists of ancient times. This may be why the creations of this artist have a relaxed appearance and reflect the joy the author experiences when working on them. The playfulness and fantasy of Arpád Pál seem to be drawing from a boundless imagination, confined only by the limits imposed by the material he skilfully shapes.
April 2009, Mgr. Darina Arce