Lajos Flesser in Paris 1974


Lajos Flesser was born on Aug. 11, 1937 in Budapest, where he grew up in the shadow of World War II. In his late teens he studied at a grade school, concentrating on metal skills. His need of comradeship and communication made him start boxing. And the success was not long in coming.

Then came the fatal year 1956, when soviet tanks crushed the dreams of freedom. Flesser escaped and came to Sweden via Denmark. He still remembers his arrival in the refugee camp in Mölle on Nov. 6. Shortly after that he was moved to Uddevalla, where the big shipbuilding yard could offer him a job after he had spent some time in the camp.

In boxing circles Flesser was already a well established name with a couple of Hungarian championships and other successes on his list of qulifications. In Gothenburg the well known boxing promotor Edvin Ahlqvist soon became aware of Flesser’s capacity as a boxer and offered him a contract. His début as a proffesionell occurred in May 1957, when Ingemar Johansson met Henry Cooper. Great possibilities turned up after Flesser had moved to Gothenburg, where he stayed until 1980. His life was not quite free from problems. He says himself that he had difficulties in adapting to his new country…

Meeting Birgitte (Gitte) Outzen-Schmidt of Danish origin was of the greatest importance. They live together since 30 years and the family also comprises the daughter Zarah and the son Simon. From 1980 they have their home in Helsingborg.

In 1985 Flesser and his wife opened an art gallery in Helsingborg, introducing quite a row of international leading artists. For Flesser’s evolution in an artistic direction the gallery indubitably became the great inspiration. Studying art of different categories and contact with artists of importance developed his understanding and technical knowledge.

The origin of Flesser’s work is to be found on the continent, but his work has become a valuable contribution to Swedish art. It has had considerable success at exhibitions abroad, for example in Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, France and the United States.

Karl-Erik Eliasson, MA

Detail from Evermore


A dynamic and fragmenterist artist

Artist Lajos Flesser’s studio is well worth seeing, particularly, when one has the artist in action. This is where his swift, vigorous work by the easel takes place. Squeezed-out paint tubes are piling up in drifts. For palettes he uses plates of glass. The intrument for applying the paint on the canvas is the palette-knife which is operated firmly of softlym and without too many sliding and sweeping movements. He wants to achieve a colouristic effect by means of a porous, ransparent depth of the surace, which is produced by a series of layers of paint that break the colours of previus layers, creating a sparkling effect. Dark patches appear to be illuminated from behund and underneath, so that the play of olours is perceived as atmosphere rather than surface.

The distinct changes in the imprints caused by the palette-knife create a relief-like texture and a mosaic distributed of colour. Mosaics usally produce a vibrato by means of the spaces between the spaces of the stone. Lajos Flesser’s paintings have a correspondingly shimmering effect on the eye. The method of applying paint produces a pattern like that of slate slab. The colour has softness and creates an illusory motionm whereas the surface itself is hard. The painting takes place with a seemingly relaced ease, like a playful dance.

The artist grew up in Hungary and was trained to become a European top boxer. When he came to Sweden in 1956 he first made a name for himself as a boxer. Later, he opened an art gallery in Helsingborg with exhibitions of avant-garde art, both Nordic and international. In addition to his activity he spent more and more of his time on painting.

Naturally, his contacts with leading artist in the world were of great importance to him. One may also see his method of working as a physical action, a dynamic movement that is spontaneosly conveyed on to the composition. Shapes emerge in surprising manner, conveying the impression of a compisite dance with expressive body language. The content of the paintings is suggestivem communicating a strong feeling of sensuality. Fragmentary figures are suddenly endowed with rich dramatic content, and I would like to calls this staging “fragmentaristic”.

Human and animal shapes are confronted with one another, with the play of motion, Changes of identity lend the figures an impression of being bird-people, dog-people, elephant-people. Love and hate, fear and wearines are reflected in patterns of movement in male and female creatures. Occasionally, the confrontations are intensified, creating an impression of sudden movements across the surface of painting. The visions are conveyed in oil without sketching.

The oil paint brings forth the illusion of beaten silver, curved gold and cupreous lustre. The hard surface sometimes gives the impression of lacquer or enamel. With their sparkling colouring and suggestive magic, these works can hardly be characterized abstract. In a literal sense, they can neither be called expressionist, since their form is clearly fixed, conveying ambiguous impressions. Nor are the paintings symbolist, since they do not impart and unambiguously literary or idealistic figurative language. Lajos Flesser’s paintings are emotive and colouristic displays marked by intensive force which contributes to evasive, fragmentary meanings. The compositions adopt one single mode of expressions – suggestive metamorphoses of form meaning and color.

Teddy Brunius
Emeritus Professor of History of Art
University of Copenhagen, Denmark