This is a self-promoting brochure that Joska Soos made in 1979, to present himself as a shamanic artist.
The brochure contains several reviews by different people, and some of his artwork of that time, each in a different language: Dutch, French, English and German. You can click on the images to see a larger version and to read it in those languages. I have also provided a translation into English below. This has been done by online automatic translation, with a few corrections where necessary.
back of the flyer:
moine spectrale de sénanque
(spectral monk of ?)
The Shamanistic Painter
25 years of inspired creation
In this picture Joska is holding up a seadevil. It is a kind of fish that once dried and flattened almost look human.
Hungarian-born painter born in Apostag, December 20, 1921.
Numerous group exhibitions, works in the National Museum of Fine Arts and the Hungarian National Gallery (Budapest), at the Museum of Charleroi, Collections of the Belgian State , Cabinet of Prints in Brussels and Amsterdam as well as abroad.
Born in Apostag (Hungary), 1921. Lives and works since 1947 in Belgium. Received in Charleroi lessons from Ben
Genau and M. Delmotte but is otherwise self-taught.
Member of Groupe International de I’Art Fantastique et Magique – and contributor to the magazine FantasMagie”.
In 1970, the RTB [this the French language Belgian television] made a color film, 25 minutes long, about him and his work. Workshop: Maarshalk Fochlaan 5, 1030 Brussel
“The Alter Ego”
The gallery “The Park”, in October 1950, has opened its doors for a newcomer: Joska Soos . One can guarantee oneself of his character and his strong expression.
But amazement becomes astonishment before the originality of the deep character of exhibited works. We are faced with something absolutely new, not only by means of lines drawn with a ruler , arcs, weird signs, stenographs , which we would not be far from attributing a cabalistic meaning – but also by the authenticity of inspiration: we do not gather from all parts such evocations.
From time to time, the viewer believes to have discovered a pre-Columbian artifact, a vague touch of Byzantine , some whiff of Judaism, but his impression is only fugitive. Rather we are dealing with a coincidence between the spirit of the above schools and domestic requirements that force the artist to work in a specific way. Joska Soos leads to what our unprejudiced eyes, appears as pure abstractions and manages to keep it all as well as a veteran of Shows in May. The collection of “dolls” – especially are not for a child’s room. It shows us seemingly, his innate gifts as a painter. The day these disturbing masks animate under the brush, their dead eyes and frozen rictus, a new step will be taken. Do not prejudge the future. Suffice it for now to open our eyes wide for the coming of heightened sensitivity drawings and maybe one day we salute this as the dawn of a great career.
Joska Soos is not a painter like the others . In his colorful compositions, formally justified, he brings to most people a totally unknown universe. As he aptly managed to say, he tries to bring the heraldry, shamanism, based on totemism that finally also formed the basis of the old emblems.
Now, according to the Shamanism there are three unities: the good, the beautiful and the true. These all belong together. This is not a doctrine , not a religion: it is a technique , an attempt to know. This is also witnessed in the shamanistic iconography.
Now in shamanism, when there is a series of twelve people. a thirteenth person will show up: this is the illuminated, the liberated one. In ancient times we find this with the twelve labors of Herculus : the thirteenth set him free. King Arthur was liberated one at the round table: there were twelve knights and himself. We know twelve constellations, the thirteenth is “the great gate”, “the light”. This large gate is the pole star. Mentally we should transcend this.
The work of Soos could be illustrative, but the artist is not caught up in it: he tells us that the symbolism of shamanism is the basis of his work, namely bringing forth his vision in a strong pictorial – graphical way. The spirit of his work is related to Tamayo, Lam and Camacho, also in the works of Miro, Capo Grossi and Paul Klee there are shamanic elements.
All folk arts include signs and symbols of shamanism : the more primitive the people, the purer they are.
The “fantasmagiques” almost all have something in common: visual expression is primarily, a method of exploration of a higher reality. Ordinary standards of the artwork does not always apply, therefore, it does not always apply in their creations. They confuse criticism and escape the categories.
Such is the case of Joska Soos. He was brought up in the Hungarian countryside, his childhood was steeped in shamanic sources. Here, as in Africa, the blacksmith, the Master of Iron, is the one who holds the secrets of making contact with the spirit world. Magical signs drawn in the dust, traced in the air and on the water, on men, on animals and equally on objects, by the old Tamas Bacsi from the village of Solt, left deep markings on his memory and them afterwards became the main source of his inspiration.
As an artist, he interprets them in a fluent way in his works … as Bartok did with folklore, as Ensor pushes beyond the mask, as Miro and Capogrossi soar beyond the signs. Lam transposes and extends ancient magic. But being an insider, he nevertheless seeks to retain their magic, supported by the observance of the laws that underlie their tracing. Depictions of spirits , signs and psychograms which are charged with energy are born under his fingers after a pessure of shamanic inspiration.
The latent or explosive dynamism of these graphics and talismans, exploits the lines of force, and creates magnetic fields, which are yet aesthetically arranged, however, are sources of energy that can draw in the viewer.
Unique work, perhaps difficult to justify: if you want to speak about it, one needs to use a language that is not common.
Joska Soos is a Belgian painter of Hungarian origin who was born at Apostag in 1921 and considers himself continuously self-taught. He has exhibited regularly in Belgium and abroad since 1950. He is member of the “Groupe international de L’Art fantastique et magique”. Under the title of “Joska Soos, chamanist painter” the Belgian television has just made a 25 minute colour film for its French listeners, which will be shown at the beginning of 1971.
Joska Soos takes his inspiration very much from chamanistic iconography in general, and from that of his native country in particular. He animates and transposes this archaic vision of an ancient world of spirits and symbols in the same manner as Bartok deals with folkmusic, Ensor forms masks, and Miro evokes symbols. He follows a stream where the artist becomes the great evocator of animated archtypal images and the magician of caverns of darkness. Shamanism is now considered as the first form of a magical technic showing knowledge and mastery of the visible and invisible world. It originated in polar regions and has expanded all over the world in the course of ages, and is found among the Eskimos, in Siberia, in the two Americas, in Tibet and in Australia. The role of magician is thus basically social, but also spiritual and moral, as in principle he reunites in himself alone, the four major functions of political chief, warrior, priest and technologist.
Shamanism permits the penetration of the world behind the appearance, whether physical, psychic or even cosmic.
Prog. Théatre Exp.
The talent of the Hungarian painter, who started working with us twenty years ago is well developed. The inspiration Joska Soos is always marked with elements of shamanism, the great wizard of primitive tribes who is endowed with religious and magical powers based on ecstatic experiences. The Shaman, in addition to many other things , has the secret language of gods and demons, and can take on the form of an animal, become invisible , control heat and cold … We must remember these things when contemplating the works of Joska Soos, and admit at the outset of it their forbidden and prophetic visions. The diversity of subjects, always returnes to the evocation of ancestors and tenebrous entities in the far north or Asia, and allows the artist to mix the Ligurian or Saracen warriors faces of clowns or selenite messengers that, despite timeliness, do not clash in this mythical and timeless world. All this is pretty wild, pretty grim. But we perceive, in addition to a moving and tenacious will to express themselves, the testimony of the anguish and pain of men and their desire to both escape and hide, to flee and face things.
We give this primitive art and complete sincerity the attention it deserves.
Soos is evident in his work on the image writings from earlier cultures. The terms “idol” or “mind” occur in almost all image titles. Soos wants, it seems, to make visible ancient impulses and forces that lie behind the joyful expressions of art.
Prerequisite for this would be that these forces are being put into a written language, in accordance with our present state of consciousness…
…The esoteric depictions as it expresses itself in the pictures of Soos could be the basis for a wider expression; unless one would see these pictures as decorative figures, but the intentions of Soos are quite contrary.
I had only seen a few remarkable canvases in an exposition, when I entered into the atelier of Joska Soos , shamanic painter.
I was initially amazed by the quantity and quality of work that lined the walls of the studio; paintings, drawings and especially works in tempera. Joska Soos, master of his inspiration ( and what an inspiration!) rushes through creative thinking and creates with extraordinary skill.
The graphic quality is up to the inspiration of the man, a large single artist and warm of character, a great designer whose many works show a quite exceptional mastership.
It was a great moment for me to visit this workshop of Joska Soos, among many artists I met during fifteen years of critical writing and studio visits. It is a milestone for me to enter the heart of this man, it is a the penetration of the soul (in the sense noblest) and the warmth emanating from each drawing, each stroke, each dynamic movement of this great visionary.