“My practice is based on my interest in developing an emotive formal vocabulary. This process is often triggered by random compositions I find in everyday life”
AT: Where are you from and how/why did you start engaging with art? When did it become serious?
AK: I was born in Romania, raised in Hungary and educated in London. In Romania, my interest in art, or rather ‘’making stuff’’ started early. Here, during kindergarten, I have memories of making structures out of cork and other household materials; another one is where I’m pointing to Donald Duck in the colouring book, pictured as an artist painting the Eiffel tower. I remember telling my mom that I want to be like him. Soon, my family and I moved to Budapest, Hungary. There my journey of becoming an artist was on pause, mainly because of fine art being mildly absent from the Hungarian educational system. I was trying to compensate for it with extracurricular classes. The ones available to me were still life classes, only to realise I do not have any interest in depicting the visible. Fortunately, we soon moved to London, where I completed my high school and university studies. Coming from a traditional educational background where fine art is a taught skill of realistic representation, my first encounter with fine art was in an isolated form. It is here, in London, that I received enough support from my art teachers and the society to make art practice a lifelong decision.
AT: Are there any person who has been significant in your breakthrough as an artist?
AK: Yes, my high school art teacher Mr Worobec from Bishop Douglass School. He taught me what conceptual art is and helped me break away from the academic roots I received in Hungary. I was introduced to interdisciplinary thinking, dozens of artists, materials, thinkers. I received the best foundation for becoming an artist.
AT: What is your first approach to the work? How would you describe your practice?
AK: The first thing I usually do when I begin a new project is to think, take notes and evaluate. Most of the projects begin with a vague, blurred idea, a feeling, that I try to draw down and write about. This tends to be a long process. Drawing hundreds of sketches per idea, until I’m confident I’ve managed to make a visual of the initially thought. My practice is based on my interest in developing an emotive formal vocabulary. This process is often triggered by random compositions I find in everyday life. By establishing improbable connections between materials and forms, I build structures and quasi-bodies with anthropomorphic attributes
Lethal Dose of Time, Easttopics, Budapest, Hungary, 2020.
AT: What do you aim to reach with your work?
AK: An obvious thing to say would be, career and economic success. Yet these aren’t the primary reasons why I do this. The process of making and the finished work bring me inner success, in a spiritual way. Connecting to myself and others through a different language. And if it all goes well, you will be rewarded with acknowledgement.
AT: What are your favourite tools and materials for working?
AK: Teamwork is a fantastic tool I often use. I work with a number of people, to whom I outsource different parts of the making. The metalwork, patternmaking and sewing is done by professionals. To successfully work with a team, you need good social and communication skills, otherwise many things can go wrong while channelling the ideas. I enjoy working with fabric, metal and natural elements. Growing up in two different post-socialist countries, learning their language, habits and cultures probably had a strong impact on what and how I use.
AT: What do you feel while you work?
AK: That really depends on what I work on. I am usually very energetic throughout the whole process, especially if the deadline is close. I do work well under stress and only make stuff that gets me excited. Yet this backfires when something doesn’t work out as planned, then I get agitated for a bit and excited after a while for the new challenges ahead.
AT: Do you usually think about the final outcome beforehand?
AK: I probably answered this question in the third one.
Body wrapped in Active Dunyha, 2020, Quilted linen and leather with dried plants, 73x140x 60 cm.
Leather towel 2, 2020, Quilted leather, 89×130 cm.
AT: How do you understand that a work is finished?
AK: I usually know exactly what I want to make. As soon as an idea pops up, my first step is to make a visual of it. The rest of the work is the actual making. On the other hand, I do consider myself a very intuitive person, and often find the need to do the job myself in the moment and experiment. I tend to improvise while painting and sculpting with clay, creating installations out of ready-made objects. This isn’t planned at all and I have to reach an emotional climax to know that the work is finished.
AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from?
AK: Socialising in different countries and cultures made me the person I am now. It serves as the main inspiration of my work. The Internet also greatly affects my work. I gather lots of visual material online, usually during researching relevant topics. For example, the use of material is significant in my practice, therefore I often look for the visual illustration of its use.
AT: Are there any artists who influenced your works? Why?
AK: To be honest, art isn’t my main source of inspiration, and I guess this is why I do not have artists as idols. Otherwise, I am often influenced by architecture, brutalism for instance. Or fashion. Studying fine art at Central Saint Martins, made me a frustrated fashion student for some years.
AT: How important is the role of social media for you?
AK: It is part of my life, it evolved to be. Now I wish it wouldn’t be. It is a great medium for communicating my practice, creating a brand image for myself and my art, I advertise both, on a very personal level. Those artists who don’t practice this are probably at a disadvantage.
Dunyha 1 | Second Skin, Pince, Budapest, Hungary, 2020.
Tool/Wood | Second Skin, Pince, Budapest, Hungary, 2020.
AT: As an artist, what is your point of view about the contemporary art system?
AK: It’s like any other business, you need a good product, and a great net of connections.
AT: What do you find to be the most challenging or daunting thing about pursuing art? What is the most rewarding part of working as an artist?
AK: The most challenging thing for me was to overcome a number of creative crises. Some lasted long and had a great emotional effect on my life. Acknowledgement for the work we do is all we can wish for.
AT: What do you do besides art?
AK: I work as a video editor, I am a part time teacher and train Crossfit.
AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?
AK: I have a number of projects that haven’t been realised because of the current pandemic, so now I wish to make the most out of the resources I have. I am looking forward to presenting some of my latest works to the public.
Big Gate, 2017, Metal structure, dry wreath and acrylic on bonnet, 200x200x300 cm.
Adrian Kiss (b. 1990) is a Romanian visual artist currently living and working in Budapest, Hungary. "In his works, he operates with universal forms that are taken out of their original frame of reference by material selection and streamlined, nonfigurative patterns. Kiss’s installations are predominantly highly sensual objects with a strong sculptural character. As for the artist’s choice of materials, he prefers to mix organic and inorganic materials" (Áron Fenyvesi).