Levente Sulyok

Artist Statement

My work articulates certain cultural and philosophical conditions through a playful dialogue between forms of commerce and the language of art. Each work is a reductive expression of a nexus of ideas.

(2012) My latest body of work springs from a collection of financial slogans collected over the years from institutions connected to the 2008 financial crisis. In the paintings, video stills of Spaghetti Westerns by Sergio Leone serve as backdrops to texts stolen from ads by Washington Mutual, Lehman Bros., and AIG. A little known fact is that many of Leone’s films were shot in Spain by an Italian crew. As such, they construct the West as a fictitious place based on exaggerations that idealize the west as the land of the free but also portray it to be violent, lawless, and full of morally ambiguous characters. To me, Leone’s fictionalized notions of the West, questions about individual agency and freedom, utter violence and greed, and the notion of ‘the man with no name,’ all describe seamlessly our corporate economic landscape.

The paintings themselves serve as backdrops to the sculptural/installation work, which in turn provide further rumination on the relationship between desire and its various manifestations in the context of late capitalism. Although I am committed to mine the specifics of this subject matter, my ulterior motive is to contemplate the nature of human desire and its endless yearning to find ultimate satisfaction.