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  • Ornamentation and the Search for a National Language of Form in the Architecture of György Csete

    Text by Eszter Baldavári

    art historian, museologist

    György Csete’s unique, mystical formal world of forms is captivating even to the less experienced architectural observer. His work invites us to a dialogue that has existed between man and nature since the beginning of architecture. The architect found inspiration in the development of natural science and in the search for a national formal language, among the Art Nouveau aspirations that began at the turn of the century. Following in the footsteps of masters such as Ödön Lechner and Kós Károly, he sought the most ancient manifestations of Hungarian forms, using decorative elements from folk art and archaeological objects. The organic approach revealed to him this ancient language and the possibilities of shaping it beyond the choice of building materials. The architects of the turn of the century often followed the results of archaeological excavations of the time, and captured folk and peasant buildings and utilitarian objects from various parts of our country. Objects from the pre-Christian era were often associated with Asian art, and therefore, like the architects of the Art Nouveau movement, György Csete was interested in the motifs of the East. But what compositions did this diverse palette of decorative art and material use produce in the architect’s works? The centrality in architecture and decorative art, and the knowledge and transmission of the thinking of his predecessors associated with Art Nouveau, determined Csete’s particular formal language, who, in addition to symbolic folk forms, often studied natural phenomena in a mathematical context, such as the form-forming factors of fractal geometry and crystal structure. This paper presents the manifestation of these phenomena and sources of inspiration in ornamentation through the buildings of György Csete.