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The Shining Path, Zsolt Bodoni

Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2015

Flux. It’s a word commonly used to describe Dubai’s construction-crazed urban environment, its teeming waves of here-today-gone-tomorrow expats and its relentlessly renewed quest for the bolder, brighter and bigger. Perhaps more than any other, Dubai is a city built by “flux.”

A surprising painting sub-theme underpinned this spate of shows—from Gil Heitor Cortesão’s oils-on-plexiglass segmented by aluminum profiles to the bitumen paintings of London-based Nathaniel Rackowe to the deeply structured, highly “geometricized” worlds of Benjamin Senior’s canvases. Familiar artists showed surprising new work—Zsolt Bodoni’s explosion into color, Jessica Mein’s cloth-based interpretation of reality-meets-representation—while newcomers to the Dubai scene provided fresh perspectives.


Green Art Gallery saw the return of one of its veteran painters, Hungarian artist Zsolt Bodoni, for his second solo show in Dubai, entitled “The Shining Path.” A deftly handled shift away from his characteristic somber grays into a more colorful realm in no way diminishes the darkly intense nature of his very painterly oeuvre.

The progressive body-centric ideals of Hungarian dancer Rudolf Laban, widely known in the dance world as having invented the choreographic notation system Labanotation in the 1920s, inspired Bodoni’s writhing, poised, swaying figures, freeze-framed in an Expressionist, shadow world.

Found source imagery from the early 20th century looks uncannily contemporary, layered as it is with Bodoni’s visceral smears and scrapes. Figure and ground seem unfixed and, like the dancers themselves, caught in some kind of portentous flux.

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