Gyula Košice

1924 - 2016 · Argentina

Artist biography

Gyula Košice was an Argentinian artist, and one of the major forerunners of avant-garde kinetic, light, and hydrokinetic art. He was the first artist to use neon lighting in commercial art works, and was one of the pioneers of concrete sculpture art in Latin America. He was a prolific artist, presenting work in over 500 shows and 40 solo exhibitions across the world throughout his lifetime.

Košice was born in 1924 in Košice, Czechoslovakia as Ferdinand Fallik. His family moved to Argentina in the 1920s, and he took the name of his birth town when practicing as an artist. After studying drawing and sculpture at free academies, his career began to develop in the 1940s when he began working on abstract concrete sculptures. He developed an artist collective known as the ‘Grupo Madí’, who worked together on a number of exhibitions as a group and focused on sharing the ‘Madí spirit’ among other creatives.

Košice’s work focused on ‘hydrokinetic’ sculptures which incorporated neon light, aluminium and water alongside movement. He liked to experiment with the perpetual motion and how this movement can be disorientating for the viewer, especially when incorporating water and colour into his works. He also welcomed audience participation when designing his sculptures, and was one of the first artists to do so. He encouraged visitors to actively engaged with his 1944 piece ‘Röyi’, a wooden structure with hinges and wing nuts, by moving and positioning its part as they wanted to. This piece is considered today to be one of the pieces that paved the way to Argentinean abstraction.

Today, Košice is remembered as an innovator in the kinetic art movement. His work has been displayed in many institutions and shows internationally, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires and the Venice Biennale. He was further honoured as "Caballero de las Artes y las Letras" (Lord of the Arts and Literature) by the government of France, and titled an Honorary Citizen of the City of Buenos Aires.

Gyula Košice

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