New tendencies in figurative painting at MODEM Centre for Modern and Contemporary Arts

Nightfall presents the works of the most known and most exciting contemporary figurative painters, many of the artists have never exhibited in Hungary yet.

By Jane Neal

DEBRECEN.- The unique art project gathers the most famous contemporary figurative painters of the world to the exhibition halls of MODEM Centre for Modern and Contemporary Arts in Debrecen.

Nightfall presents the works of the most known and most exciting contemporary figurative painters, many of the artists have never exhibited in Hungary yet. The show aims to become a leading exhibition in the country. The artworks arrive from all over the world, loaned from 9 countries, 50 galleries and private collectors. 106 works from 28 artists will be exhibited in the halls of MODEM.

The evocatively titled Nightfall brings together some of the most exciting, bold and innovative figurative painters working today The exhibition's theme was inspired by a short story called 'Nightfall', written by Isaac Asimov in 1941. The story is concerned with what might happen to a planet that previously knew constant sunshine but then had darkness befall it. To summarise: the inhabitants go mad and civilisation breaks down. In multifarious ways, Asimov’s story resonates with many artists, particularly painters, working today. It’s as if a metaphorical darkness is drawing in and the artists can feel it. Call it restlessness, or an obsession with seeking out something tangible amidst uncertainty, but the majority of the featured artists of Nightfall are expressly known for their tendency towards darkly atmospheric, uneasy subject matter: charged exchanges, threatening situations, disturbing imagery and often dark and muted tones. As these artists were born during the Cold War and are working in a climate that has recently been described as ‘The Dawning of the New Dark Ages’, we should not be surprised that they reflect something of the anxiety that has settled like a mantle over so much of the world’s skies. With growing concerns over the global economy, political tensions and an increasing tendency towards autocracy in certain, powerful countries, the world is troubling. The civil libertarian, William Orville Douglas, argued: ‘As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there’s a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. ‘ Art does not have to be overtly political to make a point, but it does rely on artists and those around them paying attention to what is happening in the world, even if it is about communicating a change in atmosphere as well as action. Nightfall is testimony to what art can do when people refuse to blind themselves to the darkness.


The exhibition will be broken down into the following themes: 'Broken Landscape and Twisted Beauty', ‘Portraiture, the Struggle for Identity and The Hidden, ' Under Cover of Darkness , 'Painting and Cinema and 'Home but not Safe'.

Participating artists:
Ellen Altfest – Karin Mamma Andersson – Hernan Bas – Marius Bercea – Zsolt Bodoni– Oliver Clegg – Martin Eder – Nicole Eisenman – Tim Eitel – Adrian Ghenie – Cantemir Hausi – Chantal Joffe – Victor Man – Justin Mortimer – Ryan Mosley – Ahmad Moualla – Daniel Pitín – Vitaly Pushnitsky - Neo Rauch – Daniel Richter – Serban Savu – David Schnell – Mircea Suciu –Attila Szűcs – Alexander Tinei – Caroline Walker – Matthias Weischer – Hugo Wilson