Ilona Keserü

Ilona Keserü was born in 1933 in Pécs, Hungary. She lives and works in Budapest, Hungary.

Ilona Keserü is one of Hungary's leading post-war abstract artists. Her career spans over seventy years and her work expresses power and strength in the face of political and cultural adversity. Pioneering a visual language that explores material, colour and the body, Keserü's use of colour and recognisable soft forms draw comparison to Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois and Judy Chicago.

In 1962 Keserü lived in Italy. She learnt about new shades of paint and approaches to material and form. The trip altered her approach to painting forever - "as if all that had gone before had been cut off".

In 1967 Keserü discovered the heart shaped headstones of Balatonudvari cemetery, Hungary. Since then she reproduced this shape many times in drawings, paintings and objects. By inverting and overlaying the motif, Keserü transformed the tombstone into rolling field landscapes and sensuous figurative studies.

In 2018 Stephen Friedman Gallery presented Keserü's first solo exhibition in London.

Other notable solo exhibitions include: ‘Filling space with no intentions (Self-powered works)', Kisterem, Budapest, Hungary (2019); ‘Színe-Java - Válogatás Ilona Keserü Ilona életművéből, Zsolnay Negyed', Pécsi Galéria m21, Pécs, Hungary (2016); ‘Kisterem', Budapest, Hungary (2014); ‘Az idő színtere - Cangiante', Vaszary Galéria, Balatonfüred, Hungary (2014); ‘Kisterem', Budapest, Hungary (2012); ‘Cangiante-Színváltás', Kieselbach Galéria, Budapest, Hungary (2012); ‘Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum', Bratislava-Čunovo, Slovakia (2012); Kolozsvári Művészeti Múzeum, Kolozsvár, Romania (2005); ‘Magyar Intézet', Kulturinstitut der Republik Ungarn, Stuttgart, Germany (2002); ‘Pitture scelte 1984-2001', Accademia d'Ungheria, Rome. Italy (2001); ‘Color and Space', Delphine Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA, USA (1991).

Notable group exhibitions include: ‘Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera', The Met Fifth Avenue, New York (2018-2019); ‘The Hungarian Avant-Garde', Tajan Artstudio, Paris, France 92018); ‘With the Eyes of Others: Hungarian Artists of the Sixties and Seventies, Elizabeth Dee, New York, USA (2017); ‘Crossing Borders - The Grüner Collection', Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum, Bratislava-Čunovo, Slavakia (2017); ‘Ez bejött', Petőfi Irodalmi Múzeum, Budapest, Hungary (2016); ‘Ludwig Goes Pop + The East Side Story', Ludwig Múzeum - Kortárs Művészeti Múzeum, Budapest, Hungary (2015); ‘Tolerance in Art', Contemporary Hungarian and Slovak Art, Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum, Bratislava-Čunovo, Slavakia (2009); ‘Aktuelle Kunst aus Ungarn', Donauschwäbisches Zentralmuseum, Ulm, Germany (2007); ‘Hazai javak. Magyar nőművészek Budapesten és New Yorkban', A.I.R. Gallery, New York, USA (2006); ‘Fiatal festők Keserü Ilona közelében Pécsett 1983-2003', Pécsi Galéria, Pécs, Hungary (2003); Aspekte / Positionen, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, Austria (1999); ‘Kunst Europa '91 Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst', Kunsthalle, Bremen, Germany (1991); ‘Contemporary Visual Art in Hungary. Eighteen artists from Hungary', Third Eye Centre, Glasgow, Scotland (1985); ‘Ungersk Konst 1905-1980', Liljevachs Konsthall, Stockholm; Konstmuseum, Göteborg; Konsthall, Malmö, Sweden (1981); ‘Exposicion de Pintura Hungara del siglo XX', Museo Carillo Gil, Mexico, Palacio de Cristal, Madrid, Spain (1979).

Keserü's work features in the permanent collections of numerous prominent institutions including Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA; Ludwig Museum, Aachen; Nationalgalerie, Berlin; Ludwig Museum - Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest, Hungary; Municipal Gallery - Kiscelli Museum, Budapest, Hungary; Francia Intézet, Budapest; Kassák Museum, Budapest, Hungary; Városi Művészeti Múzeum, Győr, Hungary; Modern Magyar Képtár II., Janus Pannonius Múzeum, Pécs, Hungary; National Museum of Modern Art, Seoul, South Korea; Szent István Király Múzeum, Székesfehérvár, Hungary; Ferenczy Múzeum, Szentendre; Fondation Károlyi, Vence, France; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, USA; and Zentralsparkasse und Kommerzialbank, Vienna, Austria.