From coast to coast, artists emerge constantly and while many are heralded as the next revolutionary artist, not many present unique artistry as distinctly as Matúš Lányi has. The eclectic artist recently presented at Art Basel in Miami’s South Beach to a great amount of acclaim. Lányi’s IHS series (Iesus Hominum Salvator) of uber realistic paintings combines both his European influences as well as more modern aesthetics to craft truly gorgeous work. In fact, only the keenest eye can sometimes note that the works are hand painted and not actually photographs. I caught up with this burgeoning artist to discuss his influences, how he merges religion into his pieces, and the pop artist icon that he consistently finds connection with.
Michael Cook: There are so many wonderful things about your absolutely dynamic art. Tell me who you see as your biggest inspiration that you find?
Matúš Lányi: I think that my biggest inspiration is religion and the changes in the religion. Spirituality definitely.
MC: You came to prominence at Miami’s Art Basel, which is always a showcase for emerging artists. What is it like presenting at a place where so many people would be able to check out your work?
ML: Honestly, it is a dream come true. They saw my work and thought it was fantastic and bold. For a lot of people, it is very much something that is unconventional. It was very difficult to see it for what it was, very original and unprecedented. They thought it was perfect for Miami though, and never saw religion and spiritually presented in such a way. I deal with it from a very historical perspective.
MC: Andy Warhol is from Slovakia, as you are. There are some real similarities to your works correct? Yes, he was very religious and very spiritual.
ML: Not many people in the art community know about that, how he was influenced by his mother. She was a very religious person. One of his fantastic later works is based on the works of Leonardo daVinci’s The Last Supper, which was exhibited in Milan. His very famous pieces like Marilyn Monroe on the gold background, is in essence, a contemporary take on a traditional icon. Icons are so typical for greek-catholic religion. That is something that not many pick up on, but it is something that made people look at me as a new generation of people who are looking at art and spirituality.
MC: The inspiration behind your pieces provide people a variety of meaning. Is that fair to say?
ML: My pieces have a really deep meaning, but I also understand that for people to start thinking about values and things that deal with spirituality and religion, it can be difficult. People are very distracted with their everyday lives, so it needs to catch their attention. They need to see something very different; only when I capture their attention will they start thinking about what is the meaning behind the image that they are looking at.
MC: Where do you want to go creatively with your art going forward?
ML: Religion is facing new technology. If you look at my Instagram, you will see that while I am working on my pieces, I am also working on conceptual pieces. I did a huge exhibition in Prague where I was exploring the connection between nature and spirituality. I am also at the same time, working with another concept of the role of technology in our lives and juxtaposing it with religion; is tech our new religion and our new spirituality? Will it replace it? For me, embracing people and embracing them for who they are is so important. Hate could end the world; talking about spirituality and how to love others and how to look at others as spiritual beings is super important.
For more information on Matúš Lányi click here