János Vámos, like Marcel Duchamp has an alter ego - a character, who he has so much in common that he claims they share identity. For Janos Vamos it is not the stylish Rrose Selavy but a character from his favourite novel, Tonio Kroeger by Thomas Mann.
Their story takes us back to 1903, to a world created by Thomas Mann, an exiled German novelist, philanthropist and social critic, who is well known for his anti-Nazi speeches, broadcasted via the BBC in the 1940s. Tonio Kroeger tells a story of a young writer with artistic talents, who becomes famous but at the same time seeks to escape from reality and everyday life. He has a passionate heart and looks for unconventional ways to develop his personality. According to Tonio and Janos, it is only possible to explore the nature of human existence if we gain distance from it.
Apart from his passion for literature, Janos is a keen traveller and likes to explore living in different places. Janos asks questions: “ Where is home? Can we have a number of homes? What makes a place become home and what makes it cease to be home? Why does ‘artist-nomad’ sound exotic and ‘artist-commuter’ pathetic?” Janos has lived in Bratislava, Budapest and Prague, where he made many good friends and he likes to call all these cities home. Sadly, his ‘artist-nomad’ lifestyle has recently been interrupted by the pandemic. However, Janos hopes that he will be on the road again soon.
Janos paints in mixed media, such as charcoal, acrylic and spray paint. He also likes to depict the media he works with directly in his paintings. Messy Work Table (2020) is an example of it and is a view of his studio. Janos loves things and when they fill his studio in an imperfect way. “There is no mess in my studio,” he explains. “It’s just a lot of things that reflect my bohemian lifestyle. I like to be surrounded by things and live in harmony with them.”
photo: author's archive